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German part-time teachers 'prepared to increase hours' to combat staff shortages

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German part-time teachers 'prepared to increase hours' to combat staff shortages
A teacher of a 4th grade class in Stuttgart helps a pupill. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

A significant number of teachers working part-time in Germany would be prepared to work more hours, according to a recent study - but only for better overtime pay.

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According to a new survey, many part-time teachers would consider upping their hours in school in light of rampant staff shortages - but would need a fairer wage system in order to do so. 

According to the Robert Bosch Stiftung's School Barometer, which saw 1,032 teachers surveyed between June 12th and 23rd this year, 38 percent of teachers in Germany are currently working part-time. Two-thirds of them would be prepared to increase their hours, and among those over 40, the figure is as high as 73 percent.

However, a major barrier to encouraging people to spend more time in the classroom is the so-called teaching load model, which only remunerates teaching hours.

Commenting on pay conditions, almost three-quarters (73 percent) of teachers said they would prefer a working-time model that included work-related tasks outside of teaching, such as meetings, further training and parental work.

At present, teachers only receive additional pay for administrative tasks on a flat-rate basis - and the time needed for this extra work is often underestimated, according to the survey. 

"The only solution for teachers is therefore to reduce their teaching load so that they can continue to work the same amount of overtime," said Dagmar Wolf of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. "The German model of teaching load is an outdated model."

READ ALSO: Parents in Germany 'facing burnout' due to limited childcare options

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For 26 percent of respondents, childcare responsibilities were the main reason for keeping their hours down, and for 40 percent, other types of private care work in the family - for example, shopping, cooking, cleaning, homework supervision and driving duties - was also a barrier to working more hours. 

According to the authors of the report, this is a situation that is only likely to worsen in the future, due to the staffing crisis in the childcare sector and Germany's aging population. 

"In our current school system, the shortage of teachers will not be solved by part-time teachers working more," said Wolf. "School as a job must become more attractive again. This includes taking teachers' concerns seriously and responding to their demands for reform."

In total, more than 800,000 teachers teach at general and vocational schools in Germany, but experts say many more are needed to meet the needs of the educational sector. 

READ ALSO: The German industries most desperate for skilled workers

In a recent study by the German Economics Institute (IW), teachers were among the most in-demand workers in the country, alongside those in nursing, care and healthcare work.

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In this category, 163,000 open positions went unfilled last year, representing 60 percent of the jobs on offer.

At present, the German government is hoping to woo skilled workers from with simpler immigration processes to plug its worsening skills gap.

This includes introducing a points-based system, lowering Blue Card salary requirements, and easing rules for family reunification.

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