The summer vacation cancel, seriously? If politics can’t think of anything better, the virus has already won. This crisis shows once again that the needs of children have little weight in Germany, one of the richest countries in the world.
So far, Germany has come through the Corona crisis better than many other countries. Whole Germany? No! In education policy, those responsible do not stop building a reputation as truly lousy crisis managers. And if it weren’t so tragic, one could speak of customary care.
As of this week there are two groups of parents in this country. Some now know that their children will soon be returning to school, who, by magic thinking, will be equipped with soap, clean sanitary facilities and plenty of space in the classroom. Okay, it does not seem to be entirely clear with the soap, why the ministries of culture still have to work on a concept for which they have apparently had no time in the past five weeks.
The other parents are those who only know one thing so far: that their primary school, daycare and non-graduation children have to stay at home for weeks, maybe months. Epidemiologically, it may be right, indeed indispensable, not to open schools and daycare centers immediately and only later, step by step. But it is only a measure, it is not a strategy.
The finance minister recently spoke of the new normal. However, just establishing this new normal is not yet a policy. It is grossly negligent that the decision “elementary schools and daycare centers remain too” is lonely in the political landscape – without a convincing accompanying concept for a lesson from a distance that is more than a rain of worksheets.
The crisis shows mercilessly what has been missed in one of the richest countries in the world, which looks back on ten years of economic boom: Schools are lagging behind digitally, distance learning could fail due to missing laptops or jerky internet connections, many schools are bursting at the seams, which are toilets -dirty. The daycare groups are too large, educators are scarce and in general the rights and needs of the youngest in the country are of no particular importance. They are meant, but not considered. Or has there been some serious discussion recently that it is nice for jogging partners, that two people can meet in public, but that a child is still not allowed to meet her because there is nowhere to go alone?
Just a measure, not a strategy
So where are they, the unconventional ideas for teaching small groups of five children each day of the week? For distance learning that has long been taking place in other countries? This would not only be better for those children who are still not allowed to go to school, but also an alternative to returning others to schools that are not really prepared. Where is the at least hourly care for daycare children?
After all, it was enough for one exciting idea: the President of the Bundestag proposes to cancel the summer vacation to make up for the lessons. True to the motto: We can’t manage to teach your children from a distance, but hey, you can’t travel this year anyway. Honestly, if nothing better comes to mind in this country, the virus has already won at least in education policy.