FDP calls for hiring non-German speaking Kita staff to reduce shortages
To reckon with the country’s worker shortage, FDP politicians have called on the government to reduce German language requirements for people working in childcare.
Non-native Kita staff could learn German at work, FDP suggests
Currently, non-native speakers must reach C1-level German before they can work in most Kitas. In its position paper, first published by the Tagesspiegel newspaper, the parliamentary group claims that this system is unsustainable while Germany is in the throws of a record-high worker shortage.
The FDP is proposing that childcare workers develop their language skills while working with children, since the current model - whereby applicants must first have their advanced German skills officially recognised - is “lengthy and complicated”.
Kita staff shortages have been putting immense pressure on the public sector in recent years. A survey published by the German Kindergarten Directors’ Congress revealed that 64 percent of Kita directors reported a staff shortage during 20 percent of 2022. These shortages are having a direct impact on the already dwindling number of available childcare spots; according to recent figures from the Bertelsmann Foundation, there is a shortage of around 384.000 spaces across the country.
Multilingual childcare workers could be placed in migrant communities
For critics worried about how the new policy could negatively impact children’s German language development, especially that of children who don’t speak German at home, the FDP says that non-native German speakers would be supported by German-speaking colleagues and placed in Kitas that have close ties to their own migrant background.
For example, a Spanish childcare worker who is learning German on the job would be placed in a Kita which had many children from Spanish-German families and enough staff who were native German speakers. The FDP claims that this multilingualism would serve to “address educationally disadvantaged families and to reduce reservations about the care and education offered."
FDP says childcare trainees should receive study allowance
In its paper, the FDP has called on the federal government to address another problem: that the route to working in the German childcare sector is not currently financially viable for many or desirable enough to attract the much-needed workers.
As well as reducing advanced language-level hurdles, the parliamentary group has called to pay Kita teachers in training an allowance while they are completing their studies. At the moment, students who studying to be a childcare worker (Erzieher*innen) must pay fees to complete their vocational training (Ausbildung).
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