German language media translated for TVR's Media Monitor
The Lessons from the Education Petition, 14 Nov.
by Herwig Hösele
If Austria doesn’t want to be held back, the ideological trench warfare has to stop.
However you look at it: The number of signatures for the education petition, compared to level of public support and importance of the topic, is far below what was possible […] So, if Austria doesn’t want to “repeat a class”, as the petition’s slogan says, then the following lessons are of much more importance:
Laziness: There is no point in complaining about politics at the pub or at cocktail parties […], if you’re not prepared to accept the small inconvenience of going to vote. This is rightly seen by many as a crime against society and democracy. A lively democracy needs active citizens that stick their noses in things.Busybodies. […]
It would be particularly fatal if politicians just pushed this petition aside. This could lead to the democratically precarious point at which protest and anger lash out in unwanted directions. […]
Recognition/Conclusion: We must recognise that education, science, research and innovation are the sources and main drivers of economic development, the ability to compete on an international level, retain wealth, quality of life, and the opportunities provided to each citizen. This should be the goal of political action – beginning with elementary school curricula, and ending with the aim of investing 2% of GDP in universities and vocational schools, and 3% in research and development.
A Clear No to the Education Petition, 4 Nov.
by Marian Heitger
Many of the demands in the loudly propagated education petition are fraught with ambiguity and complacency. The question is whether undertakings like these contribute to the necessary reforms, or whether they just increase the level of gossip in this debate, thereby making the actual pedagogical work harder – that is if the goal is, in fact, to educate.
[…] If we speak of “raising the level of education as quickly as possible,” that formulation calls to mind images of factories, not schools. Schools need leisure, especially in the hectic contemporary world, so that learning implies the acquistion of insight and understanding by young people, rather than the perverse exercise of short-term cramming.
[…] The petition includes:] the equalisation of all pedagogical institutions, the end to the possibility of repeating a class, better financing of educational institutions, teachers, child care providers, etc.
[…] Teacher education is only spoken of marginally. However, it is decisive for the success of any kind of instruction. Here too, it is not the organisational form that is decisive, but rather the content: life’s questions about the why and the wherefore, about the meaning of being human, about the very purpose of all pedagogical efforts.
These kinds of questions may seem antiquated to some, but they define a pedagogical undertaking.