School in Berlin: 78 percent more missed lessons


78 percent more missed classes in Berlin’s schools

Everyday life in Berlin’s schools: 350,000 hours do not take place every six months.

Photo: Caroline Seidel / dpa

Despite dry answers from the education administration, the Greens come to alarming conclusions: failure has increased by almost 80 percent.

Berlin. Parents of school-age children have long had the feeling that their children often have to go to school later, have free periods or come home earlier. The impression is not deceptive, because more and more classes are obviously being canceled or being replaced. The problem is old.

The Greens asked the Senate Education Administration for the latest available figures on the loss of lessons. According to this, in the first half of the 2021/22 school year, 1.637 million hours were not given regularly, but were incurred for substitution. The school management did not find a substitute teacher in every case. As a result, almost 350,000 teaching hours were completely canceled in one half-year.

The Senate does not have any details on the loss of lessons by subject or class level

Alexander Slotty, Secretary of State for Education Senator Astrid-Sabine Busse (SPD), refers to the 586,000 hours that are taught at Berlin’s public schools each week. However, the answer also reveals gaps in the knowledge of the authorities: Statistics on substitutions and the absence of lessons would be kept by the individual schools themselves. “There is no central recording by subject, grade level or class,” writes Slotty. The hours would not be differentiated according to the reasons for failure.

The Green school politician Louis Krüger compared the figures provided with the previously published data from the education administration.

Greens have compared: There was an increase of 50 percent in replacement hours

In the 2020/2021 school year, there were an average of 50,840 teaching hours per week for substitution, of which 9,300 were canceled. In the following school year 2021/2022, to which the figures in the Senate response refer, statistically 77,950 teaching hours were used for substitutions in each of the 21 teaching weeks, which is an increase of 53 percent. Of these, 1,660 hours were actually lost, 78 percent more than in the previous school year.

“So there was a significant increase in substitution and absenteeism, although the weekly lessons in the state of Berlin have remained almost the same,” concludes Green education expert Krüger. According to his comparative calculation, the proportion of hours to be covered rose from 8.7 percent to 13.3 percent.

Every fifth lesson that should actually be covered is canceled in Berlin’s schools

Almost every sixth lesson is therefore not given regularly by the regular teacher. Of the hours that should actually be represented, every fifth hour has been completely canceled for years. According to the Senate’s response, 78.7 percent were represented in 2021/22. “The high representation rate shows that the Berlin schools have done a good job of organisation,” commented Buses State Secretary Slotty.

Overall, the education administration reacted tight-lipped to the information interest of the Greens parliamentary group. According to the Senate, a school-specific publication of the requested information would very likely be reinterpreted in a Berlin-wide ranking based on the characteristic “professionally taught lessons”. be,” writes the Secretary of State.

Failure at individual schools remains secret: Senate does not want a negative “ranking list”

However, the feature of “professionally taught lessons” is not suitable as a “valid indicator of school quality”. However, this would presumably overshadow other factors and “thwart” the schools’ successes in their quality development and make the development work of the school communities more difficult. The question of how many hours have been lost since the beginning of the school year, for example because teachers are long-term ill, is also not answered.

Individual schools have already reduced the length of the lesson from the usual 45 to 40 minutes due to staff shortages. But according to their own statements, the education administration has no overview of such actions by the school management either. “These school-specific forms of organization are not collected centrally as statistical information,” said the State Secretary.

The Greens are urgently asking Senator Busse to come up with a plan to prevent class failures

Other schools have adjusted the timetable, giving fewer lessons in those subjects in which they lack a particularly large number of teachers. The authority answers the question with a quote from the relevant administrative regulation: If “representation is necessary due to a shortage of staff” or if hours are lost, the individual school has freedom of action, whereby the timetable is to be secured “priority”.

Green MP Krüger is not satisfied with the answers. He expects that the proportion of missed hours due to the shortage of teachers will increase even further. “I expect a concept from the education administration on how to deal with it and counteract the trend,” said Krüger. Training new teachers is important: “But they won’t be able to save us in the next few years for the time being.”

See also  Education, strategic priority

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