Germany is struggling to find enough skilled teachers to cover growing enrolment in its educational institutions, media reports say. Critics claim the problem was identified a long time ago but the state did little to acknowledge it.

The problem has taken stronger roots in Germany over the last 10 years, when the number of immigrants grew significantly throughout the country. Experts say the cause of Germany’s teacher shortage has a lot to do with higher immigration, as well as increased birth rate in the country .

Germany’s teacher shortage has resulted in cut backs from salaries and incentives of teachers, with the shortfall beginning to affect schools, colleges and universities. Moreover, there are fewer programmes of teachers’ training than they were ever before.

Heinz-Peter Meidinger, head of the German teachers’ federation said, “German authorities didn’t wake up to the predictions about growing enrolment soon enough. Politicians and the federal education ministry should have told the universities not to reduce their teacher training courses so sharply.” This has resulted in a major crisis. Meidinger added that federal states, which are responsible for education policies, were slow to react to a rise in the birth rate. “The state should have been a pushing this cause forward at a much earlier stage, but they didn’t.”

The head of German teachers’ federation predicted that the number of school pupils nationwide will increase by 278,000 to 11.2 million by 2030 and in 10 years, Germany will have less than half the number of teachers to cater to such a huge number of students. Parents have also come down hard on school authorities for not being able to resolve the issues.

Meidinger said, “I predict the situation will get worse in the states in the east and in the city states, particularly in Berlin. But in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia the supply of classes is threadbare.”

In states like Berlin, the shortfall of teachers is already hitting hard. The federal capital identified in June by giving away a number of 1,250 teachers that Germany is short on, an all-time high.

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