2022 budget: almost €21 billion – around 4,000 additional positions

Yvonne Gebauer, Schools and Education Minister for the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament, has presented the draft budget for 2022 in the schools committee. According to this, the Ministry of Schools and Education budget allows for total expenditure of approximately €20.9 billion, an increase of €445 million on the previous year.

Overall this is equivalent to a 17.5 percent rise in the schools' budget since 2017.

"Top priority is given to the very best education in the state budget. This federal state government is investing like none other before it in the minds of children and young people and therefore in their future. Having had to take on an almost chronically underfunded school system in 2017, we have had things back on track in terms of education expenditure for some time. In just five years, we have increased the school budget by more than €3.1 billion – money that will benefit the pupils, for example, in the form of almost 10,000 additional teaching positions."

The 2022 draft budget increases the number of teaching positions in North Rhine-Westphalia compared to the start of the legislative period (159,943) by 9,817 to 169,760. As in previous years, assisting schools with additional support staff is also one of the priorities in the 2022 draft budget with provision for an increase of more than 4,000 new positions.

These include the following:

  • 783 positions included in the primary school master plan to provide specific support for this type of school.
  • 100 advance appointments which, as part of the switch over to the new nine-year school system (G9) at upper secondary schools, would not actually be available until later.
  • A further 749 positions for the reorganisation of inclusion in schools designed to provide inclusive learning (Schulen des Gemeinsamen Lernens).
  • 35 positions for additional staff supplied to schools in particularly challenging situations via the "talent schools" project.
  • 686 positions for the increased basic requirements due to rising pupil numbers in different types of schools and educational programmes.
  • 165 positions for media consultants and for school-based media coordinators, including the commissioning, coordination and administration of LOGINEO NRW
  • and 250 positions for multi-professional teams at special needs schools.

The 2022 budget consolidates the funding and staffing conditions as a result of the agenda for the strengthening of vocational education and training. With more than 700 positions, critical improvements have been made to staffing in particular at vocational higher-level secondary schools. Vocational education and training is of particular importance to the state government and this is also a feature of the 2022 budget.

The amount of €200,000 provided for the first time in the 2018 budget to support school visits to memorial sites is to be increased in the 2022 budget by €1.06 million to a total of €2.06 million. To date more than 400 memorial site visits have been funded although, without restrictions due to the pandemic, this number would have been much greater due to the high demand.

Having not been increased for the previous nine years, in 2018 this federal state government has for the first time raised the schools' standard funding (at the time €600 million) to support school authorities. The 2022 draft budget increases the schools’ standard funding to more than €748 million (2021: approx. €723 million) on the basis of a substantial increase in 2019 and the accompanying indexation.

The plan is also to significantly increase investment in all-day schooling in primary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to €641.6 million. This represents an increase in this legislative period alone of more than 41 percent. This funding for the 2022/23 academic year enables the financing of 362,500 places in all-day schooling – an increase of 54,900 places compared to 2017. €1.55 million is also to be provided in order to expand the "NRW Talents" pupil scholarship programme and to provide intensified support to the "Ruhr Talent College" which supports and advises pupils on their training pathways.

"Investing in the very best education and training represents an investment which will pay off in the truest sense of the word for our society. In addition to targeted support for the very youngest, all-day schooling provision, for example, also enables people to better reconcile the demands of family and career. As schools and education minister, it is particularly important to me that we also continue to invest in the equality of opportunity for our children and young people. Our commitment, as part of the Ruhr conference, to 'NRW talents' and the Ruhr Talent College are also good examples of this, as are the 60 talents schools which we have purposely established in districts facing particular challenges", concludes minister Yvonne Gebauer.

Source: finanznachrichten.de (website on German financial news), revised by iMOVE, October 2021