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Mass school year failure raises questions

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Mass school year failure raises questions
Photo: DPA
12:36 CEST+02:00
A German state government has launched an investigation into why an entire year group failed their school leavers exams at a private school. Their teachers' qualifications are now to be checked.

In Bavaria, 97 percent of state-schooled teens and 90 percent of privately educated teens pass their Abitur leavers exam. But in a shock result, not one of the 27 seniors at the EPFOS private vocational high school in Schweinfurt succeeded in making the grade.

Despite priding itself on being the first private school to specialize in economics, not one student passed their economics exam. All of them received a grade 'six' fail mark in the subject, as well as in maths and engineering. The pupils fared slightly better in other subjects but still not well enough for an overall pass.

The state government's ministry for education said on Monday that it had begun an investigation into the “quality of qualifications” achieved by the staff, Die Welt newspaper reported. Blame is being pointed not at the students, but the teachers.

Reason behind the disaster “has to lie in the structural make-up” of EPFOS, ministry spokesman Ludwig Unger told the newspaper. The school has only been open two years and this was the first group of students to take the national leavers exam.

Officials said they would be going to the school on Tuesday to talk with teachers, pupils and students. It is possible the investigation could end with the EPFOS's teaching licence being revoked, lawyer Patricia Fuchs-Politzki told Die Welt.

Fuchs-Politzki has been approached by the parents of 20 of the affected students, all of whom have been told by the school they can repeat the year free of charge. Despite the school offering to waive the normal annual fee of around €1,700, none of the students seemed keen to accept the offer, one mother told the paper.

School owner Michael Schwarz has offered no official statement about the debacle, but was quoted as conceding he had been “a little naïve in some areas” of running a school.

For Fuchs-Politzki it is imperative that the pupils are enrolled in a state school after the summer holidays. It could well be, she said, that they have to retake not only the final year, but the one before. “This will then be two lost years.”

Some students in lower years at the EPFOS are reportedly considering leaving the school to go elsewhere.

The Local/jcw

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