Education: Teachers should work harder: Kretschmann’s idea could be so concrete

Sometimes he just thinks out loud, the prime minister said at the government press conference on Tuesday. And maybe, he conceded, he should just let it go. But by then it was already too late.

The stone that Winfried Kretschmann threw into the water on the podium of an event in Stuttgart on Monday evening – a few minutes later it made waves online and on Tuesday has already triggered a tsunami in Baden’s educational policy associations -Württemberg.

Perhaps part-time teachers should work more – with full salary compensation? Two days later the unanimous storm of outrage had not abated, it had even intensified – as on Thursday it was also announced that the Ministry of Education was considering a proposal that trainee teachers should organize one more lesson from 2024. Time must be saved elsewhere in the training.

Consequences of the Ukrainian war as a reason

The excitement was sparked by a debate about the increasingly perceptible consequences of the Ukrainian war in Germany. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian war, the Kretschmann (Greens) have not tired of pointing out that there is also a threat of loss of prosperity in Baden-Württemberg. Now he was concrete: “Maybe we have to work more.”

Winfried Kretschmann.

Winfried Kretschmann. | Image: Bernd Weißbrod

If all part-time teachers worked an extra hour, Kretschmann thought aloud, “I would have 1,000 more teachers that I urgently need.” Because in the nurseries and schools of the country, where in any case there is a shortage of staff, thousands of Ukrainian refugee children must be welcomed at once.

The idea is tested

Because teachers don’t grow on trees, Kretschmann reasoned, changing part-time regulations for teachers — and other state officials — would be a viable way, at least in the short term, to to bring some relief. And this possibility, said the head of government, is currently being examined by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Interior, with all the questions that arise from it.

And in the face of criticism from educational associations, he said: “Basically it’s about the fact that because of the consequences of the war in Ukraine, things that are familiar have to be tried. I advise it is up to everyone to ignore their reflexes.This also applies to union officials.

About 117,000 teachers are currently employed in the state, about half of them part-time. Like all civil servants, the Civil Service Act essentially grants them the right to work part-time, for example to care for children or a relative, which is granted on request. Applications for the following school year must be submitted at the beginning of each year.

What applies to part-time teachers?

Part-time applications of up to 50% can only be rejected for “compelling official reasons”. A reduction to at least 25% of a full-time position – which corresponds to seven hours – is also possible in individual cases, although the obstacles are higher and requests are dealt with by the responsible persons Regional councils or school authorities can sometimes be rejected.

However, less than ten percent of teachers in the country use this part-time maximum of less than 50 percent. According to the Ministry of Education, more than 90% work at 50% or more, with the average teacher employment representing 82% of a full-time position.

The lower limit could fall

The lower limit for part-time work was lowered from 30% to 25% five years ago. The state government could now possibly reverse this reduction – perhaps with the “official requirements” argument. This is currently being verified.

For other part-time relations of more than 50%, the state as employer should not legally order overtime, the Civil Service Act should be amended beforehand – to which the Ministry of State probably didn’t even think quietly. And certainly not noisy.

union criticism

Gerhard Brand, who is not only state vice-president of the civil servants association, but also state president of the Education and Training (VBE) member union, is in fact not an absolute enemy of the leader of the green government. . “But with the working hours of teachers and civil servants, he started the wrong discussion at the wrong time,” Brand indignantly.

Not only, says Brand, that the entire state administration and civil service had to cope with significant additional burdens “without grumbling” during the Corona crisis. “No one did the work by the rules, and certainly no teachers,” Brand says.

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But above all, he is annoyed that the Ukrainian crisis should be used as an argument to demand more working hours from teachers. “The VBE has already asked retirees and graduates among its members if they would support schools for Ukrainian refugees,” says Brand.

A number had reported unbureaucratic operations, the VBE made the data available to the Ministry of Education and municipal state associations. “They don’t even want the money. But no one was interviewed, no one approached us,” Brand says. “My experience is that the state government doesn’t coordinate anything, nothing is coordinated. There are many resources and people who can help you. But the state government does not coordinate this.

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