German schools and kindergartens struggling as teacher shortage bites
Schools and kindergartens in Germany are currently facing acute staff shortages, which are having a major impact on both students and teachers, and even exacerbating regional inequalities, two reports have warned.
Germany short 450.000 trained educators
Germany’s Education and Science Union (GEW) has warned that the school system is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers. “In the next five to six years we will be short of 200.000 employees in early childhood education and 250.000 in schools,” said GEW chairperson Maike Finnern this week.
This conclusion is backed up by another recent study: the Kita Report 2022, which was published last week in Berlin, found that half of all childcare centres in Germany were being forced to reduce capacity due to staff shortages.
As Finnern warned, these kinds of worker shortages run the risk of creating a vicious cycle in which staff members are overstretched and overworked, and so leave, exacerbating shortages while also putting other people off from joining the profession.
Almost 92 percent of teachers in Germany reported that they were currently overloaded, while teacher training courses in Germany are experiencing a drop-out rate of up to 50 percent. “Without attractive framework conditions, we will not get any new recruits,” said Finnern, adding that better working conditions, more manageable working hours and better wages might help alleviate the situation.
Schools in deprived areas are worse affected by staff shortages
The Kita Report further criticised that schools in deprived areas were disproportionately affected by staffing issues, with daycare centres complaining about poorer equipment, inadequate support for the high number of children who don’t speak German as a native language, and a lack of financing that makes recruitment even trickier.
Without a serious intervention, the GEW expects the situation to worsen in coming years, with up to 400.000 children from Ukraine expected to join German schools and childcare facilities in the near future, creating the need for even more staff members.