The job market for kindergarten teachers has almost exploded: by now, almost 770,000 people work in day-care centers, hoards and childminders – ten years earlier, this figure was almost 300,000 fewer. And this year 57,000 more young people are expected to complete their education. This boom "was completely unthinkable at the beginning of the millennium and represents one of the most astonishing growth dynamics in education in the last hundred years," says Thomas Rauschenbach, Director of the German Youth Institute (DJI), with a view to the new "Early Worker Qualification Barometer" of the Early Childhood Education Initiative Specialists (Wiff).
In total, 3.6 million children are cared for in 56,000 facilities today. By 2025, their number will continue to rise enormously – also because of the planned legal entitlement to full-time care of elementary school children. For the DJI predicted in 2017 for the year 2025 a "staff shortage" of 329,000 forces. A current forecast is to follow as soon as the population forecasts of the official statistics are available.
In addition to the numerical shortage of skilled workers, the training initiative Wiff also warns of staff shortages. Only ten years ago, the clear goal was to hire more academically educated pedagogues in the day care centers – since then, numerous new degree programs in education or childhood education, the number of professionals with a relevant degree has tripled since 2006. However, the proportion of female academics in the daycare centers has risen only from three to six percent.
"Fatal" shortage of female academics in the day care center
"The demands for professionalization for early education are increasingly threatening to get into the background due to the strained staffing situation," criticizes the co-head of the staff barometer, Professor Anke König from the University of Vechta. "This is fatal, because in order to be able to cope conceptually with the increasing demands, academic professionals are in demand," said König.
But the daycare providers hire mainly full-time school educator. In contrast, female academics, despite the shortage of staff, "could not find a foothold anywhere or find a suitable position for their qualifications," the authors cautiously formulate – they are obviously simply too expensive for employers.
However, the challenges are enormous, and the range of tasks is growing: in the meantime, almost 670,000 children under the age of three are being cared for – compared with only 280,000 in 2007. Today, four out of five institutions take on younger children, who need to be looked after more intensively than the older ones.
Almost 40 percent of day-care centers now also work integratively, as the number of children with special needs has increased by almost fifty percent to 84,000. Added to this is the topic of language acquisition: the number of children who speak a language other than German at home has risen by 55 percent to almost 700,000.
With all these challenges, the leadership and management tasks of the day-care centers are growing too, warns the barometer. But the average time left by a daycare director is still just over two hours a week. After all, the number of day-care centers, which have no designated leadership at all, has dropped since 2011 from 30 to 10 percent.
More: The federal and state governments are arguing over the costs of full-time care for elementary school students. Why the economy is in a hurry, read here:
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