HRK Senate on cross-sector and lateral entry into the teaching profession: Academic standards are non-negotiable

29. June 2020

Academic standards in teacher education are non-negotiable for cross-sector and lateral entry into teaching. This was stressed by the Senate of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) in a resolution issued on Thursday, which noted that there should not be any “second-class teachers” with quality and acceptance issues due to inadequate further education.  

HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt: “We are aware that those entering the teaching profession laterally or from a different sector have actively chosen this role, and often have experience and skills that will be of benefit to them and pupils during the transition. However, every type of post-qualification must draw on the expertise of university teacher education in order to prevent teaching from becoming non-academic and de-professionalised. Academic post-qualification concerns the elements of teacher education related to subject matter, subject-specific didactics and educational science.”

By 2025, there is expected to be a shortfall of 32,000 teachers in schools in Germany. There are increasing numbers of teachers in German schools who entered the profession laterally or from another sector without having completed a teaching degree programme at a university. They should be provided with the necessary educational and technical tools by means of supervision and short-term qualification measures, which vary between federal states.

The HRK Senate stressed that each phase of teacher education has a specific purpose. It noted that the knowledge-based establishment of professional competence and its initial considered application takes place at the university, whereas its execution for the purpose of gaining expertise is the focus of the stage of school-based teacher training. The further and continuing education of teachers also draws on academically founded concepts. Updating the academic foundation ensures competent educational services in changing circumstances, with the COVID-19 pandemic being a current example.

“We declare our support for a more systematic approach to supplementary professionalisation pathways,” said HRK President Peter-André Alt. “It must be ensured that integration and continuing education measures for cross-sector and lateral entrants are knowledge-based. This is the only way to effectively harness the potential of those entering the teaching profession laterally or from a different sector in order to enhance all teachers’ perception of themselves and their role.”

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