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"Alarm signals have long been unmistakable" - call for a "real" education summit with Scholz

The education summit convened by Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) for this Tuesday and Wednesday has already met with massive criticism in advance.

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"Alarm signals have long been unmistakable" - call for a "real" education summit with Scholz

The education summit convened by Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) for this Tuesday and Wednesday has already met with massive criticism in advance. In a joint appeal, 50 foundations, associations, trade unions and educational institutions criticize the meeting as too unambitious.

According to the signatories, the format, preparation, agenda and participants of the summit, which takes place on the sidelines of the Ministry's traditional education research conference, "does not live up to the scale of the challenge".

"It is high time that Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the heads of government of the federal states convened a real national education summit. This summit should bring all relevant actors in education together and mark the start of a fundamental, societal reform process to initiate a new start in education," the organizations appeal.

The meeting organized by Stark-Watzinger had previously been criticized from various sides. Hesse's school minister Alexander Lorz (CDU) criticized the preparation of the summit as "unprofessional". "Neither the date nor the format and content were agreed with us," Lorz told the Table.Media portal. There were therefore numerous rejections, especially from the countries governed by the Union.

There was also criticism in the traffic light coalition: Green education expert Nina Stahr told the portal that her party had wished that the summit would be larger and more top-class - such as the 2008 by the then Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). Education summit held in Dresden for all prime ministers.

In order to bring about the urgently needed reform process, an "initial spark at the highest political levels" is required, the signatories of the appeal also demand. They are calling for education to be made a top priority. The Federal Chancellor and the Prime Ministers would have the necessary weight to bring together the responsible ministries and representatives from politics, business, science, educational practice, civil society, students and parents.

Such a national education summit must mark the beginning of a continuous dialogue and reform process with common work structures. The restart in education “as an elementary prerequisite for Germany’s future viability” can only succeed if we join forces.

"The alarm signals have long been unmistakable and are already evident in the early educational phase," the associations warn. Nationwide, there is a lack of hundreds of thousands of daycare places and educators, the level of performance in schools is falling dramatically at all levels, and the proportion of young people without a school-leaving certificate remains high.

At the same time, the number of young people who lose touch in their professional lives is growing. "In addition to individual risks, this also results in social and economic burdens for society." Across all levels of education, the "core problem of German education policy" remains unresolved: the connection between social background and educational success. "In this way, the opportunities and rights of children and young people are curtailed and talents wasted."

Although everyone involved makes a lot of effort, the education system is "less and less successful in correcting the undesirable developments," the signatories complain. On the one hand, this is due to the massive shortage of teachers and pedagogical staff, on the other hand to the underfunding of the education system and its structural inability to reform due to the unsystematic interdependence of the political levels. "What is needed is a new culture of educational cooperation between the federal, state and local governments, as promised in the coalition agreement."

The appeal has been signed by educational foundations such as the Bertelsmann and Bosch Foundations, teachers' unions, children's rights organizations and educational associations.

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