German teachers complain poor quality of infrastructure in schools

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-25 00:22:35|Editor: yan
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BERLIN, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- A large majority of teachers in Germany is unsatisfied with the quality of digital services and physical infrastructure in the country's school system, a study published on Monday by the German Union for Education and Science (GEW) found.

According to the GEW study, digitalization represents an area where the German education sector still suffers from a worrying lack of appropriate equipment and training.

"(A total of) 82 percent of respondents indicated an improvement of digital infrastructure at schools as being either important or very important. 82 percent demanded for the provision of additional funds to be the highest or a very high priority," GEW president Marlis Tepe complained.

The findings were based on a representative survey of the GEW's 280,000-strong membership conducted by the Mauss Research institute during the summer.

In the survey, the educators raised concerns that a failure to ensure that schools were at the cutting edge of digitalization could enhance the leverage enjoyed over them by private companies. "The teachers want the state to remain in charge of digitalization (in the education sector), rather than leaving the field to large media companies," Tepe said.

Aside from infrastructure surrounding digitalization, teachers also lamented deterioration in the quality of schools in Germany more generally.

"There is great dissatisfaction with the condition of buildings, the spatial possibilities -- especially with view to all-day schooling, hygiene and the availability of teaching materials," the GEW president emphasized.

Asked specifically what type of physical infrastructure they needed, topping the wish list were functional rooms, geared specifically to certain types of academic subjects, and rooms to hold conversations with parents.

Tepe argued that the figures cast an "unfavorable light" on how little Germany was doing to provide the appropriate framework conditions to successfully educate its next generation.

The GEW president predicted that a promise by the federal government to provide schools with 3.5 billion euros (4.1 billion U.S. dollars) for school renovations and 5 billion euros for a digitalization offensive would be "much too little" to make a meaningful difference.

A recent study by the state-owned KfW banking group has warned that German schools already have a cumulative backlog of necessary investment in public infrastructure worth 47.7 billion euros.

To address these issues, as well as a widely-publicized shortage of qualified teaching staff, Tepe called on the ruling grand coalition government to organize an urgent high-level summit of national policy makers on the country's ongoing education crisis.