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European schools are stunned by the fear of Brexit – POLITICO

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European schools are stunned by the fear of Brexit - POLITICO

The Loss of wages, pensions and easy travel in Europe are not the only things Europeans fear about Brexit. European schools would also be affected.

The number of highly respected British teachers working in European schools – raising the children of many European Union officials – is already low due to cuts in spending in the UK, which has led to a freeze on new employees. Administrators say the numbers will fall sharply if the UK votes to leave the bloc, which will put extra strain on the system, which is already struggling to cope with the demand for English-language education.

“We hope and pray that the UK will remain in the European Union,” said Curry Kivinen, Secretary General of the European Schools. Brexit, he said, would be “a great loss. We have to admit it. “

“This is a very valuable contribution for us,” he added, alluding to teachers sent from the UK.

Like other EU countries, the UK does not make a financial contribution to the European school system, but pays the salaries of British teachers, whom it transfers to schools. If Britain leaves the EU, there will no longer be hired British Eurocrats and new teachers in European schools. The schools have other English-speaking teachers who come from Ireland and Malta, and some are hired in Brussels.

Even without a heated debate on Brexit the number of British teachers is shrinking.

There are 14 European schools in seven member countries with almost 26,000 students. Four of these schools – and about 12,000 students – are located in Brussels. The fifth school in Brussels is scheduled to open in 2019.

Some British staff are also concerned that Brexit could mean the end of their ability to even send their children to European schools.

At an event in early April called “Brexit and You”, which she organized Union Syndicaterepresenting many EU staff, lawyer Jean-Noel Louis warned Britons that they would no longer have the right to enroll their children in European schools.

Kivinen said it was a myth that British officials would have to remove their children from schools if Britain voted to go to a referendum on June 23like most British Eurocrats staying in their roles – at least in the short term.

But schools still face the challenge when it comes to having enough teachers to teach these children in their native language and in sufficient classes. Administrators say Ireland has already agreed to provide more teachers and they can also hire more English-speaking instructors in Brussels. But it will be difficult to fill the deficit.

Even without a heavy debate on Brexit, the number of British teachers is declining – the current number is 136 out of a total of 1,309 teachers who have been seconded from their countries. For comparison with 230 teachers from Germany and 193 from France. The decline has led to a shortage of teachers needed to learn English, say those who work in schools.

Administrators say English-language sections of schools that include art, music, physical education, history, geography and economics are already overcrowded – not only with native English students but also those who choose English as their second (or third) ). , or the fourth) variant of the language.

“There is no Plan B. We aim to support the government’s position [in favor of staying in the EU]»- Spokesman for the UK Government

“There is already a problem,” said Andreas Rogal, a spokesman for the parents’ association. “In general, the problem is that the UK government has cut [number of] the teachers they sent. ”

It began in 2013 when the British government saw that most of the students taught by the British were from other EU countries. It was decided not to replace teachers returning to the UK after the end of nine-year contracts.

This school year, 5,401 students are enrolled in English-language schools – 20 percent of the total, and only 1,371 of them are British.

In addition to finding other ways to hire English-speaking teachers, schools have also sought to relieve pressure on English-speaking sections by offering more instruction in other languages. New language sections in Estonian, Latvian and Slovak start in September to better provide children from these countries who now have to study in another language and usually choose English, French or German.

But the demand for teachers of English-speaking sections will remain high, even without new students from the UK. “If we have to replace 136 seconded teachers from the UK, it will be difficult to do, it is impossible to find 136,” Kivinen said.

Some parents, like Cyrus Fitch, are optimistic that the post-Brexit transition will ease the shock for the school system. “The biggest challenge in the short term will be replacing those who are leaving, but the UK is unlikely to do so,” he said.

“There is no Plan B. We aim to support the government’s position [in favor of staying in the EU]”A spokesman for the British government said of his plans for European schools.

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