VBE-NRW President Stefan Belhau.
VBE-NRW President Stefan Belhau.

Germany: Students need role models of both genders

published 3 January 2018 updated 8 January 2018

The German education union, Verband Bildung und Erziehung, has reiterated the crucial importance of role models from both genders for school students.

Only one in four teachers in general education schools in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is male, according to statistics from the Information and Technik of (IT NRW), the official statistics office of the state of NRW.

“Girls and boys must have the opportunity to know both genders,” said Stefan Behlau, President of the NRW branch of the Verband Bildung und Erziehung (VBE) education union. “There are few male role models in schools.”

Career choices

Clichés leading to career choice are problematic when it comes to pedagogical work with younger children, he added. The VBE is urging the NRW state government to consider this in its planned advertising campaign for the teaching profession.

The teaching profession, especially in elementary and secondary schools, is not attractive enough, Behlau said, qualifying the shortage of teachers as significant “overall”.

“We are receiving more and more letters from teachers who work at the expense of their health, and work conditions in schools are not an advertisement for the profession,” he revealed.

If the state government wants to change this situation, it must adapt working conditions and salaries to the challenges of the profession, he concluded.

The brochure, “NRW counts (counted): Schools in North Rhine-Westphalia”, is available here(in German).