Controversial proposal for teachers to work on Saturdays and vacations

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Tue 16th Feb, 2021

The fight against the corona virus continues to have Germany firmly in its grip. Not only is retail, restaurants and cultural establishmentsforced to closedduring the second lockdown but also schools and daycare centers, despite evidence showing these areas are not places of high contamination. Although attempts are being made to make up for the lost classroom time via homeschooling, the fact is that the material cannot be taught to the same extent as it in the classroom. Additionally, numerous learning platforms were regularly overloaded, especially at the beginning of distance learning. Despite all efforts, teachers and students struggle with the actual school workload.

Now demands are being voiced that are likely to cause discussion, if not outright rebellion, especially among some teachers. According to Josef Kraus (73), the former head of the teachers' association, at least 500 hours of classroom instruction have now been cancelled. The 73-year-old told Bild that he iscalling for Saturday classes for the 2021 summer semester. "Move the 2021 exams entirely to the end of the school year or to the first days of the summer vacations," he suggests.

Finn Wandhoff has a similar view. He is the national chairman of the Schüler Union in Germany and calls for "extra tuition and extra work" from teachers. "The Ministers of Education should remind teachers who are opposed to good lesson delivery during Corona that teachers are very highly paid in our state and enjoy professional security - unlike many others," the Schüler Union leader is quoted as saying.

A suggestion by CDU family expert Marcus Weinberg (53) also goes in this direction. By "vacation academies or weekend seminars" could be made up in the spring and early summer learning arrears, he states.

Saturday classes are also supported by theFDP deputy federal chair Katja Suding. She warns of the consequences of school closures, especially for disadvantaged children. "We need concepts to close learning gaps. That can go with additional hours in the afternoon or Saturday," wrote the 53-year-old on Twitter.

Saturday classes because of Corona: "Unpaid extra work"?
Whether the demands for Saturday or vacation work also meets with approval among teachers, may be doubted. Already the cancellation of the carnival vacations, which was planned to make up for time already lost, provokes anger in Bavaria. Some teachers see it mainly as unpaid "extra work" and criticize the move. For some students, too, time off from the challenges of homeschooling might mean a welcome breather. This could be shortchanged by Saturday and vacation classes.

In fact, as usual little is said about the impact on any of these prospective policies on the students themselves. Already overburdened by an education system which falls far behind other developed nations with far lower GDPs. the solution in Germany has been to heap more work on students' shoulders, without thought to how to work more effectively. Yet again, the kneejerk reaction has been the same: more hours, less efficiency. These policies are sure to be met with shock, derision and incredularity by those most affected by them.

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