Berlin Senate imposes education cuts, fuels pollution in city schools
Having already slashed funding for the capital’s schools, leaving students completely exposed to the coronavirus, the Berlin Senate, a coalition of Social Democrats, Leftists and Greens, is now seeking further funding for the education sector. We are planning to reduce. The latest austerity measures reveal the “red-red-green” Senate’s disregard for the fate of children and young people.
To meet savings targets set by the Senate, much-needed school expansion and renovation measures already planned for implementation by 2026 will be postponed for up to five years. Effectively, this means further cuts that exacerbate an already disastrous situation in Berlin’s schools.
During this period, some districts will have to accept cuts of hundreds of millions of euros. This means that not only are urgently needed additional school sites not available, but existing sites will be lost if the dilapidated building fails to refurbish. Many children are already unable to attend local primary schools due to building defects or lack of renovations. Long distances to school, overcrowded classrooms, alternative classes in small counseling rooms or fabricated containers are a sad reality for an increasing number of students and teachers.
During the last election campaign, the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party declared the city’s education system to be a priority and to be expanded. During the COVID-19 crisis, various political parties have expressed concerns over student education, stating that children and young people lack opportunities for proper education at home, justifying a return to face-to-face classes. . Current Senate policy makes these promises blatant lies.
In March, the Berlin Senate passed the 2022 and 2023 budgets, agreeing to make significant cuts. He cut his two-year budget from over €78.3 billion to €76.6 billion (this year he has €38.7 billion and next year he has €37.9 billion). The focus of savings was, among other things, on the education system.
Initially, the annual disposal fund of individual schools was to be reduced to €3,000. Massive protests by school principals and parents’ associations forced the Senate to withdraw the plan.
However, a reduction of about 1 billion euros is now due to be implemented within five years. The cuts came after the Berlin Senate agreed between departments “a lump sum of more than €4 billion in cut spending,” according to the finance department headed by Senator Daniel Wesener (Green). When the budget passed, Wesener had already announced that “war cannot be budgeted” and that funding a proxy war against Russia could entail further cuts to the city’s education, health and social services. was hinting that there was
Schools in the city are already in a dire state. Last Thursday, less than two days after the start of the new school year, the Anna Lind primary school (one of Berlin’s largest primary schools with 700 students) was shut down due to a mold infestation that had already occurred in 2017. announced that it would remain All of the school’s students and her 100 staff members were forced to move to an office building more than three kilometers away.
The densely populated districts of Berlin-Lichtenberg, Reinickendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf and Berlin-Mitte no longer have free schools. In Panko District, students were accepted only by “getting closer to each other” (education councilor Dominic Crocin, Left Party). In Berlin Mitte and Marzahn Hellersdorf, students had to move into containers. A total of 15 primary school classes, or he is short of the equivalent of four entire primary schools, according to the district councilor Torsten Kühne (CDU). The secondary school is also under-capacity, so the students are scattered to other districts.
In the Friedrichshain Kreuzberg district, there is a shortage of 1,000 primary schools. According to District Councilor Andy Hehmke (SPD), the problem is going to be even more acute here as the partial closure of three schools is imminent. Moreover, in the next few years he does not have a single new school for grades 7-10 planned. Grammar schools in Berlin can no longer afford it either. In many schools, students from refugee families who had attended the first “welcome classes” had to be moved from their previous facilities.
It is already clear that children and young people will freeze at school this winter. The Education senator specifically ruled out “children freezing”, but to save energy in schools, the administration announced “strict energy management” to “limit costs to some extent.”
The education administration left an unanswered question about whether heating and hot water will be cut in the midst of the pandemic. At this stage, we cannot make any statements about individual measures. “
Over the years, the shortage of qualified teachers has continued to worsen. In addition to the massive recruitment of untrained personnel over the past two years, retired teachers are being rehired to replace missing teachers. About 325 retirees have already returned to school. Nevertheless, about 1,000 teaching positions remain vacant.
Rikka, a junior high school student in Kreuzberg, tages spiegel Newspaper: “About a third of my German lessons have been canceled in the past year!” Children at home are particularly affected by the lack of teachers. She continued: It’s almost impossible. “
One in four children in Berlin comes from a family living in poverty or at risk of poverty. Earlier this year, the German capital’s poverty rate was her 16.4%. Poverty rates will increase dramatically given the rapid inflation as a result of pandemic policies, the country’s participation in her NATO proxy war in Ukraine, and the resulting energy emergency.
Primary schools are particularly affected by the shortage of staff. 1,415 new teachers are needed for an expected 37,000 new students at the beginning of the school year (the largest first-grade increase since 2005), but currently 180 newly trained primary school teachers and There are only 400 untrained enrollees.
This means that the proportion of qualified teachers in primary schools is falling again. Last year, the percentage was already volatile. For example, at the Hans-Her Rosenthal Primary School in Lichtenberg, Berlin, there were only 12 of her peers with full training for 34 teachers.
Add to this poor hygiene with no soap dispensers, broken sinks, unusable toilets, and windows that are so dilapidated that they fall on students’ heads and cannot be opened properly. Due to the financial situation, the school may have “prioritized” only the worst flaws during the summer vacation.
This alone shows the Senate’s complete disregard for students and teachers. With the expected wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and the increasing spread of the monkeypox virus, we will once again find the ideal climate for outbreaks in schools. The Senate didn’t even want to install air filters across the board. According to the Senate, only “statistically” every class has a filter. However, in many cases they are not installed or used for construction, personnel, or financial reasons.
In the face of mounting criticism of the Senate’s irresponsible policies, Education Senator Astrid Sabine Busse (SPD) and Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) confront students, parents and teachers with open hostility increase.
Arrogantly rejecting criticism from teachers and parents, Busse declared in an interview. tages spiegel: “Of course you can always focus on the deficit. There will always be a deficit”, but “not everyone will be affected”. “Individual destinies are often seen. I don’t know that you can’t go through that,” Busse said.
She added: No one discusses the next operation with such a surgeon, and in the field of education people do it 24 hours a day, ”she said the SPD politician.