“For example, I am personally attracted to big cities and I still can’t imagine rural areas.”
Many would-be educators feel the same way as this student teacher from Dresden. They want to stay in the big cities, where they also studied. This leads to a teacher shortage in rural areas, which will be exacerbated by the fact that around two thirds of Saxony’s teachers will retire by 2030. Saxony therefore introduces the Saxony scholarship. Student teachers will therefore receive around € 300 per month if they later commit to working in the country, as long as they receive the scholarship, says Education Ministry spokesman Dirk Reelfs.
“So first of all, with the Saxony scholarship it is important for us to retain the young teachers we need. This means that we are looking for teachers for specific schools. These are the special needs schools in rural areas. Secondary schools. are primary schools We “look for more candidates for foreign languages, for mathematics, for STEM subjects in general.”
About 100 students a year benefit from land allowances, which they receive until the end of their studies. Prospective teachers should be supported not only financially, but also morally, for example by receiving a mentor. The Saxon Teachers’ Association welcomes the plans of the Ministry of Education. Since country life is not attractive to young people, financial incentives cannot be avoided, according to Jens Weichelt, president of the association.
Teacher emergency in the predictable country
“Of course it can’t be the panacea, so other things must have an effect here as well. And I think mainly about attractive working conditions for our teachers.”
Because the Free State is not necessarily the first choice for teachers looking for work. Only 1,000 of the 32,000 Saxon teachers are civil servants. Employed teachers are often ranked lower than in other federal states. Many positions are also temporary. This – as the current budget also foresees – should only be possible in the future in exceptional cases. According to Jens Weichelt, Saxony must not only manage the generational change among teachers, but also absorb the growing number of students.
“Furthermore, the integration of children with special educational needs into mainstream schools is steadily increasing. And we have an increase in pupils with a migrant background. This also requires additional resources.”
An emergency in the country is therefore foreseeable. The Saxony Scholarship may be just one of many building blocks for luring young teachers to East Saxony or the Ore Mountains, as Ministry of Education spokesman Dirk Reelfs also knows.
“Together with the districts, we advertise for young teachers. They advertise with good school positions, good facilities and even the opportunity to take care of spouses and then a daycare.”
The model for the Saxony scholarship is a similar support for medical students, which has existed since 2008. The Saxony scholarship could be awarded from the next winter semester. However, the courted students react with caution.
“In general, I think it’s a nice idea, because I might even imagine moving to the countryside alone. It’s always the question of where, so the scholarship doesn’t help me if the collective at school isn’t true.”
“I think it’s probably a good attempt, but for me it’s also a helpless attempt to get student teachers to do something in Saxony that the rest of the education system obviously can’t do, which is to keep people here.”
“It’s also about a certain openness to planning, which I want to maintain. And if I put in the effort for five or six years, I couldn’t handle it.”