Germany: Unions demand clear and consistent nation-wide education standards

published 21 September 2020 updated 30 September 2020

Two German education unions have called for transparent standards at federal level and coordinated conceptions.

The Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW) and the Verband Bildung und Erziehung (VBE), together with the Federal Parents' Council (BER), have issued demands to participants at the 21 September national education summit in Germany.

The summit will be attended by decision-makers in the education sector at federal and regional levels.

Standards of transparency

“Only standards create transparency and understanding” was the message of a joint press release as the two largest German teacher unions - and Education International affiliates – and the BER called for transparent standards at federal level and coordinated conceptions. The last  plan presented by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) contained different scenarios about the future of education in times of COVID-19, but it was not clear which scenario should be implemented and when its implementation should start.

Teaching conditions

The GEW, VBE, and BER pointed out that teaching conditions must be highlighted during the education summit.

In particular, issues such as how ventilation should work in the autumn, whether air filters are widely used, or whether CO2 measuring devices can be deployed quickly, must be clarified nationwide.

“The costs involved using such devices should not be taken into consideration. While billions are paid to save companies, the future of this country, teachers and students, as well as their parents, are worth at least as much,” explained GEW President Marlis Tepe, VBE President Udo Beckmann, and BER President Stephan Wassmuth.

Digitisation of schools

They also expect the digitisation of schools to be at the centre of discussions during the education summit. “This is very important but should not be the only topic addressed at the summit,” the three presidents stated.