Brandenburg's Education Minister Britta Ernst (SPD) has resigned from her own ranks after criticism. Chancellor Olaf Scholz's wife cited a lack of support as the reason for her resignation. The challenges for the Ministry of Education are very great, Ernst said on Monday in Potsdam. "To counter this, a great deal of unity is necessary." In a written statement, she added: "This unity no longer exists." In it she defended herself at the same time: "In Brandenburg we made many good and correct decisions to secure teaching in the past and in this legislative period."
Shortly before, the Brandenburg deputy government spokeswoman Eva Jobs had announced without giving reasons that Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) had agreed to the request for a resignation.
The Potsdam head of government paid tribute to Ernst's work. "In difficult times - I'm just thinking of the corona pandemic - she carried out the office with foresight and a steady hand," said Woidke. "I am sure that looking back, her term of office will be associated with important milestones such as the continuous improvement of the day-care center staff ratio and the entry into the exemption from contributions." The successor to Ernst is now the former Secretary of State for Education, Steffen Freiberg.
More and more criticism
Ernst has been Minister of Education in Brandenburg since 2017, before that she was Minister of Education in Schleswig-Holstein. The minister was increasingly criticized by associations and the opposition. Recently there was also resistance from the coalition. Since 1,800 new teachers are needed for the coming school year, but according to Ernst they cannot be recruited, among other things she wanted to reallocate 200 permanent teaching positions to positions for administrative specialists and school social workers. Teachers in rural schools with a high proportion of lateral entrants should be relieved of administrative tasks in order to at least guarantee the prescribed instruction. At the same time, resources for remedial and all-day teaching and inclusion should be reduced in all schools.
The Brandenburg Pedagogical Association does not see problems such as the shortage of teachers and the sluggish digitization as being solved with the resignation. "A nose is exchanged, but the smell does not change," said association president Hartmut Stäker of the German Press Agency.
The SPD parliamentary group in Brandenburg accepted the minister's resignation "with regret". "We would like to thank Britta Ernst for the good cooperation over the past few years," said parliamentary group leader Daniel Keller on Monday.