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Germany: new teachers must receive equal salaries for equal qualifications

The Verband Bildung und Erziehung is pushing for teachers in Germany to be paid the same amount of money for the same initial education and qualifications when they enter the profession.

“There is no reason why a primary school teacher entering the profession receives on average 500 euros less than a new high school teacher,” stated Udo Beckmann, Federal President of the Verband Bildung und Erziehung (VBE). In the ongoing debate on the topic, several federal states have already acknowledged that the same level of education (including the same degree and the same length of the preparation service) calls for the same initial salary for teachers.

Beckmann added that the principle of salary in civil service is determined by the qualifications that the individual has achieved, in addition to age and experience. Therefore, those who have a university degree in public service will be recruited at a certain grade, and this must also be the case for primary school teachers.

The Culture Ministry of the federal state of Hesse is considering a nationwide coordinated approach for a fair solution to this issue. Alexander Lorz, Hesse’s Education and Cultural Affairs Minister and incumbent President of Germany’s Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK, from its German acronym) is currently leading the way and prioritising the issue in the KMK. VBE supports this initiative.

“All teachers do great things: they strengthen the weak, support the strong, encourage and challenge, and individually adapt to the different children,” VBE’s Beckmann concluded. From the very beginning, teachers share a common responsibility for the development and education of children at all levels and anywhere in Germany. It is only fair for them to have the same salary levels, proportionate to their training, when starting out.