Minister of Education, Claude Meisch, responded to criticism of the new bachelor's degree in teaching in Luxembourg on Friday morning.
In an interview with RTL Radio, Meisch stated that the new 'Quereinsteiger' programme for teachers at Uni.lu will only be offered if the "normal" teaching course is not completed.
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The aim is to train 180 new graduate teachers per year.
The Minister of Education responded to criticism from the teachers' union, SNE-CGFP, stating that those who pursue the new bachelor's degree in teaching will benefit from advantages not available to those who pursued the traditional university route to become a teacher.
'Quereinsteiger' is a German word that literally means "lateral entrants." In the context of education, the term refers to those who hold a bachelor's degree relevant to one of the primary education objectives and go on to become teachers after initial training and a one-year university course.
11% more staff in five years
"We have to admit that the 'Quereinsteiger programme' has produced results in recent years," Meisch pointed out.
For the minister, it represents "a step in the right direction" because practically every classroom teacher now has a license. According to Meisch, this is the first time since the end of the 1980s that something has been done about the shortage.
Meisch rejects the criticism of the National Union of Teachers (SNE), and in collaboration with the trade unions, the ministry has set up a task force to reduce the administrative burden on teachers.
However, Meisch also stated that the issue of staff shortages will not be resolved overnight.
Over the past five years, the number of pupils in Luxembourg schools has increased by 11%, and the number of teachers has also increased by 11% thanks to changes in the recruitment process.
In addition, a new image campaign is planned for the summer to make the teaching profession more attractive and thus promote it.
Family allowances: a policy from the last century
Meisch believes that the policy on family allowances is "from the last century" and encourages one person, mostly women, to stay at home.
The minister believes that the measure even increases poverty, particularly among women and children because it "pushes them to leave the world of work."
In his opinion, it would be better to continue to develop parental leave. Meisch also noted that fewer children under the age of one are attending crèche as a result of the parental leave reform.
Don't make parents feel bad about themselves
Meisch also addressed prejudices about drop-in centres (Maisons-relais), stating that it is not true that children are entrusted to strangers in drop-in centres from morning to night.
Children spend about 15 hours a week in drop-in centres, which is three hours a day. Moreover, drop-in centres but combine care and education.
According to the minister, drop-in centres guarantee optimal development, especially for children from disadvantaged social backgrounds. Therefore, Meisch believes that "we should not demonise drop-in centres or make parents feel bad about themselves."
Meisch mentioned that the ministry has "some of the figures" regarding how many children attend drop-in centres and crèches in Luxembourg, how many are on the waiting list, and how much it costs the state.
Ahead of the public debate on Petition No 2512 on Thursday, the Ministry of Education has been tasked with preparing a full analysis. This will ensure "an objective, fact-based debate," the Minister of Education explained.