Germany: Education social partners discuss about lifelong learning


An online event organised by the education social partners took place on the 21 June 2021 as one of the activities of the joint project "Lifelong Learning for All: Social Partners in Education promoting quality and inclusive VET to enhance lifelong learning for all". The event was co-organised by the project leader MBO-Raad, along with the German social partners in education (GEW and BBB) and with the contribution of EFEE and ETUCE.

Dr. Ansgar Klinger, Executive Board Member of GEW, gave a presentation about the vocational and further education system in Germany in relation to recent reforms. He also underlined the precarious working conditions for educators in publicly funded further education institutions in Germany. The importance to ensure sustainable public investment in adult and further education to enable more permanent contracts for teaching staff and collectively negotiated salaries were also highlighted. In light of these challenges, the German social partners developed the national strategy for further education, the Nationale Weiterbildungsstrategie. In addition, in the Schwerin Declaration GEW demands more qualified further education personnel, continuous training for the teaching staff, increased responsibility of the social partners, more cooperation amongst the relevant actors, employment relationships covered by collective agreements and up to date spatial and technical equipment for teachers.

Participants also had the opportunity to discuss in working groups and share their views on the attractiveness of adult learning, as well as on the employment conditions of adult learning teachers. The representatives from the education trade unions underlined that the employees in the sector face poor salary, bad working conditions and precariousness, which has a large impact on the recruitment and retention of education personnel, and on the quality of adult learning and further education. In some countries, adult learning teachers with temporary contracts do not have access to digital equipment which has caused serious problems during the remote teaching phase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants also pointed out the diversity among countries in relation to qualification requirements and initial education of adult learning teachers. Organising adult learning teachers is difficult for some education trade unions because the teachers continue to work in precarious conditions. In the discussion, ETUCE highlighted the need for efficient and meaningful social dialogue to help ensure better working conditions for adult learning teachers. Sustainable public investment in the sector, using EU funds (eg. the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund), is also necessary.