While there are currently sufficient kindergarten and remedial teachers in the canton of Zug, there is certainly not a plethora of them.
It is at this time of the year that schools are busy planning for the next academic year, job adverts now being placed for vacancies. As Barbara Kurth (photograph), the chairwoman of the Teachers’ Association of the Canton of Zug explained, at national level it has not always been easy to find sufficient kindergarten and remedial staff.
Fortunately, the situation in Zug is not so acute, as Dominik Lehner, the rector of the school in Neuheim, confirmed, though there have been problems in the past.
This was further confirmed by Judy Müller, who heads the department of special needs at municipal schools, who also mentioned that 80 per cent of remedial staff in the canton of Zug have an appropriate qualification, unlike in many other cantons. For her part, Kurth regretted the fact that the standing of teachers in these areas appeared to have diminished, despite the important roles they play.
It was mentioned that many graduates of the Zug Teacher Training College (PH Zug), which trains primary school teachers, go on to work in these schools, i.e. some 277 out of 377, with only one quarter of them opting to teach in kindergartens and the initial three years of primary schools, possibly because of the pay. Although teachers at kindergartens and primary school enjoy the same rates of pay on paper, in practice, kindergarten teachers earn between 7 and 8 per cent less, though this may be linked to the fact that they teach fewer lessons. Lehner said that there was just no justification for this difference in pay any more, especially bearing in mind both kindergarten teachers and those in primary schools have completed similar levels of training and face similar challenges. Kurth, herself a kindergarten teacher for the past 40 years, said that, in some ways, teaching children at kindergarten was the most demanding of all, with each child developing differently in these early years, requiring teachers to respond flexibly and with great sensitivity. Hence the Teachers’ Association was calling for an end to any discrepancies when it came to salaries.
And, as Kurth continued, with the implementation of the new integrative system, it was expected to be able to call on the services of a remedial teacher for each class, meaning more of them would be needed to help in cases where children had special needs, including those who were highly gifted in some way.
As Clemens Diesbergen, the head of training at the PH Zug, explained, while remedial teachers were paid on the same scale as secondary school teachers, many worked only part-time, meaning less remuneration. He made a point of reminding students about the courses in remedial education on offer at the Lucerne Teacher Training College.
While, as mentioned, the situation with remedial and kindergarten teachers in Zug is not as acute as in other cantons, Lehner pointed out that there was a shortage of teachers to help children suffering from dyslexia.
This article is based on one written by Laura Sibold.