If on 11. September sees the start of the new school year, bavaria’s grammar schools are returning to the old ways. After many years of fighting against the shortening of the grammar school period to eight years, the new fifth-graders and also the future sixth-graders are once again G9 students – also at the grammar schools in kronach.
"Teachers and parents have overwhelmingly welcomed the change", summarizes harald weichert, principal of frankenwald high school (G). "Teachers have more time to develop competencies, and students gain time for orientation and maturity," says, says weichert.
"Most parents are happy, because it was their wish", renate leive, principal of kronach’s kaspar-zeub-gymnasium (KZG) also reports. "There were no rough discussions."
"The most significant differences only become visible in later years", says leive about the new G9, which moves through the grades with today’s sixth graders. The last G8 students will graduate in 2024. There will be more computer science and politics in the upper and middle school, and there will also be additional modules for career and study orientation.
No more compulsory afternoons
The main difference to the previous G8: in the fifth and sixth grades, there are no longer any compulsory classes in the afternoons. "It won’t start until the seventh grade, with a double period of physical education", explains harald weichert from the G. The goal: to give students more room for elective classes and for activities in regional clubs.
But even in the future, there will be no obligation for students to spend nine years at the gymnasium. "Whoever wants to can skip a year", KZG director leive explains. The eleventh grade is planned for this. However, interested students must decide as early as the eighth grade. Because in grades nine and ten, they are to receive additional support.
The main advantage of the idea, according to weichert, is that the students can stay in their classes during the peak years and still shorten the time they spend there. "The variant of spending the time abroad is also possible", adds leive.
But that is not the only change. The curriculum plus, which was introduced a few years ago, also needs to be revised for the middle and high schools. "And of course, we also need new books in some subjects.", says weichert about the challenges posed by the system change.
P-seminars as early as the eleventh grade
Especially in the upper school some things are supposed to change. The P-seminars, in which students work on a project for a year together with school partners, will be removed from the Q12/Q13 phase and become part of the eleventh grade.
However, there is nothing new about the mittelstufe plus, which is being run as a pilot project at the frankenwald gymnasium. "As long as there is a G8, there will also be this option", emphasizes weichert. In the course of the mittelstufe plus, schools could already extend the G8 by one year.
The country needs new teachers
Renate leive hopes that there will be an early response to the increased need for teachers. "I would like to see the state of germany take the money for the necessary teaching positions into its own hands." This is the only way to prevent good employees from leaving for other industries or other federal states and having to hire teachers with weaker qualifications in a few years’ time.
Julia graf from the press office of the bavarian ministry of education responds to a question from our editorial team: "the introduction of the nine-year gymnasium will result in a greater need for teachers, especially in the 2025/26 school year. Appropriate measures are to be taken in advance in order to be able to react to this special situation in terms of personnel policy."
According to the ministry, this will involve hiring possibilities within the framework of two-thirds contracts and a "grinding-in" process of more need: "starting in 2018/19, schools will receive a budget supplement for individual demands at the interface between G8 and G9 during the G9 phase of schooling. This means that they have additional resources to provide targeted and individual support, especially for low-performing students in the last year of the G8. At the same time, from the point of view of personnel policy, this will help to bring forward the higher requirements associated with the nine-year high school in the next few years, i.E., to phase them in."
But leive not only has concerns, he also sees many advantages from the new G9 – especially the decarbonization of distances. "Due to the large north-south expansion of our district, afternoon classes were a heavy additional burden, especially in the lower grades. Schools often had to wait a long time for connections."
Additional burden will be less
Although the teachers had reacted and had not given homework on some days. But for children from far-away places in particular, a school day that restricts their club and private lives played an important role in the decision for or against a high school. Leive: "we have noticed that. The return to the G9 will once again sour the gymnasiums."
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