I.The new scientific advisory body of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), the Standing Scientific Commission (Stäwiko) published its first statement on Friday with remarkable speed. Specifically, the aim is to use the two billion euros made available by the Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs for the years 2021 and 2022 as effectively as possible to make up for pandemic-related learning gaps. In view of the total amount, it was clear that the money could not be distributed with the watering can, but must specifically benefit those who have particularly suffered.
Stäwiko reckons that around a third of children and young people need support due to pandemics, that is around 15.3 million children, who would then have around 645 euros at their disposal. Affected are low-performing children and young people who have had little support from home, are at high risk of absenteeism or need special educational support.
Attention to language training
A study from the Netherlands shows that the eight to eleven-year-old pupils have a performance deficit of around a quarter of a school year during lockdown with a total of 18 weeks of school closings. Especially in poorly educated families, the children not only suffered emotionally and psychologically, but also learned considerably less. According to a Swiss study, the learning gap in secondary level I due to distance learning was significantly lower than in primary school. Alarming is a study cited by Stäwiko, in which the long-term consequences of school closings after natural disasters (earthquakes) were examined. If a third of the school year was missed in the third grade, the learning gaps at the end of the tenth grade had added up to an entire school year.
In addition, the scientists suggest, funding should primarily apply to transitions. These are the joints of individual educational biographies such as the transition from daycare to primary school, from primary school to secondary level I, the transition from secondary level I to secondary level II and the so-called transition system in the vocational area. Young people end up in the transitional system who leave school without a qualification and may learn low-skilled jobs. Every second young person with a migration background can be found in the transition system. Those affected should be supported by intensive school social work and youth professional assistance (youth employment agencies).
But even the youngest have deficits. Due to the limited day-care center operations, many language-training grants have been neglected. Therefore, the primary school enrollment cohort for 2022/23 should be supported. All countries with pre-school language level surveys should pay particular attention to the results and ensure that children with language level delays (including native German children) are included in language promotion programs.