In Hamburg, Berlin and Lower Saxony, the German far-right extremist party “Alternative for Deutschland (AfD)” has recently introduced so-called registration portals to report AfD-critical teachers, allowing the denunciation of AfD-critical teachers.  Similar platforms have been created in other countries, e.g. The Netherlands, which  jeopardise critical discussions of political-related content and, in some cases make them impossible. GEW recommends its members to  push back these developments and  show commitment to universal values and freedom of opinion instead of restraint - with regard to the demand of the AfD to students and parents to expose teachers on online reporting platforms. VBE highlights the importance of the opportunity to deal with controversial and sensitive issues between teachers and their students in schools under the principles of academic freedom and neutrality so as to promote critical-thinking, intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.

ETUCE along with GEW and VBE-stands resolutely against these online portals in which students denounce their teachers for alleged party-political influence leading to unsafe and distrustful school climates. Through these online portals, AfD uses anti-democratic measures to interfere with political ideas and undermines school learning environments. GEW and VBE believe that it is a crucial social duty to support teachers in their efforts to, educate on human rights and democratic citizenship, and to advocate for tolerance, respect, and compassion. Democracy needs convinced and committed democrats. Quality education founds on strong democratic-school cultures where students and teachers enjoy full freedom of expression and professional autonomy as core values of society.

ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken said: “Reporting on teachers’ views and practices to political parties is an unacceptable attack on the autonomy of the teaching profession and on fundamental values”.

GEW and VBE call on teachers not to be intimidated and invite teachers to sign the #MeinLehrerFetzt – Danke statt Denunziation! (Thank you instead of denunciation), to express solidarity with teachers throughout Germany, recognising their commitment to fundamental values and social diversity.” The ETUCE member organisations, GEW and VBE, have urged the German Ministry for Education to examine all legal possibilities to prevent such party-political denunciations in schools.

ETUCE is currently running a project entitled “EU CONVINCE” to promote democratic citizenship and the role of inclusive education as a tool to prevent violent radicalisation and extremism with the ultimate goal to build democratic, safe and peaceful learning environments for all based on the principles of freedom of expression, tolerance, diversity and non-discrimination that are free from any kind of political ideology.

To read the joint statement with education employers on Democratic Citizenship and EU common values, please click here.