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German teachers call for billions to repair schools

October 30, 2017

Billions of euros are needed to renovate Germany's schools, the teachers' association has said. Fixing unhygienic conditions and faulty heating systems has been "scandalously" delayed, the association's head said.

A row of jackets hangs on hooks in a school in Stuttgart
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/I. Kjer

The German Teachers' Association called on the next German government to approve billions of euros to renovate dilapidated schools in the country, according to a report published Monday.

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"In light of the scandalous renovation backlog at numerous schools, the [next] coalition agreement must include a comprehensive investment program for school renovations and refurbishments," the association's chairman Heinz-Peter Meidinger told the German daily newspaper Bild.

The association is urging a minimum commitment of €10 billion ($11.6 billion) over the next four years.

The Credit Institution for Reconstruction (KfW) previously estimated the total cost of repairing Germany's crumbling schools at €34 billion — far above the association's request, noted Meidinger.

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Rats, leaky ceilings and dirty toilets

Meidinger, who is also a principal of a school in the southern state of Bavaria, expressed shock at the learning conditions at some schools in Germany.

He listed cases of schools with "leaky roofs, mice and rats in the utility ducts, intolerable hygienic conditions in the toilets, poor thermal insulation and crumbling plaster on the interior and exterior walls and a lack of regular cleaning."

The conditions were a "shame" for Germany, Meidinger added.

In February, the lower house of parliament approved a supplementary budget of €3.5 billion for renovating classrooms, gymnasiums, and school yards.

Both chambers of parliament later adopted constitutional changes so that the federal government was legally allowed to assist with school renovations — previously, Germany's 16 states were solely responsible for school repairs.

rs/kl (AFP, dpa)