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Research highlights teachers’ excessive working hours

A study commissioned by a teacher union shows that, in Germany, teachers work one hour and 40 minutes longer than other public employees per week, endangering their health.

On average, teachers in Germany work longer than comparable civil servants, according to a study by the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW), an affiliate of Education International (EI).

“For 20 years, teachers have been constantly burdened with new tasks and the number of compulsory hours has been partly increased,but their number of hours has not been reduced in principle,” said GEW Federal President and EI Executive Board member Marlis Tepe.

As teachers’ health is endangered, significant relief is urgently required. The GEW had assessed 20 studies of teachers at elementary schools, comprehensive schools, and high schools’ working hours from the past 60 years, which showed that.

More than 48 hours per school week

The study found that teachers work one hour and 40 minutes longer each week than other similar civil servants, taking into account school holidays. As a result, between 14 and 19 per cent of teachers work excessively long working hours of more than 48 hours during the school week.

“The (promised) reduction in working hours over the past few decades has been delayed, not implemented,” said the lead researcher, University of Göttingen social scientist Frank Mußmann.

In addition, “there is a lack of recreational opportunities during school breaks, the seven-day week is virtually mandatory during school hours, and the non-limitation of working hours is almost the norm,” he noted.

More information about the study is available here (in German).


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