Gebauer slows down the online school for sick children, the administrative court agrees


BOCHUM. An online school that takes care of sick children has suffered a major setback in court. According to a decision now published by the higher administrative court in Münster, students at Bochum’s web-individual school are not allowed to take the final exam, which is held by external teachers, at a single exam venue. The Bochum School, which is only a correspondence school and not a state-recognized mainstream school, had done so for a long time. However, the number of examinees increased and the effort increased. NRW Ministry of Education rejected a settlement offer.

Standing: NRW School Minister Yvonne Gebauer (FDP). Photo: NRW Ministry of Education / Thomas Banneyer

The North Rhine-Westphalia school minister Yvonne Gebauer (FDP) had complained in the controversy that the district government in Arnsberg “can not organize permanent final exams for the entire federal territory” – and announced that they wanted to create a digital alternative to regular schooling. “in the state education system” in the future – for those who due to serious health reasons can not get to school, the minister explained. The goal is to enable students “free from commercial interests to return to face-to-face teaching in the future or, where this is not possible, to complete successfully.”

However, she said nothing about why there was no such state offer in North Rhine-Westphalia more than two years after the start of the corona pandemic. Nor did she explain why she simply ended the school’s previous procedure instead of seeking a compromise with the education ministries of other federal states.

“This is a sad verdict for us and very bad news for the families and the students”

The need is undisputed: In the weaving school, children and young people who are unable to attend regular school due to mental or physical illness are taught individually online. Most recently, up to 120 school children were taken to their Hauptschule or Realschule qualification each year, and 70 young people were going to the exam phase, which is now beginning.

According to the school management, they must also be closely supervised during the exams and sometimes need very special conditions at the exam site – the teachers at the web-individual school, who know the examinees well from the online lessons, should continue to be present. at the tests, the distance school and referred to a promise to students and parents. However, this promise can only be fulfilled sufficiently if the examinations for all supervised students take place at the same examination place.

However, this plan failed in court. According to the decision of the Higher Administrative Court, the executive order on the “external examination” does not allow young people from other federal states to have access to the external examination in NRW. In addition, it was stressed that the Arnsberg district government’s procedure was “flawless”.

Principal Sarah Lichtenberger was shocked. “This is a sad verdict for us and very bad news for the families and the students.” During the exams, the support of the usual teacher is therapeutically necessary, but it can no longer be guaranteed. The exams, which start on Wednesday, were to take place at more than 15 schools throughout NRW. The approximately 30 teachers at the web-individual school would be sent across the state in rental cars to try to give the mentally or physically ill children support and “have a calming effect on the children who are completely without leadership”.

“How do you know that? They have not spoken to any of us, asked anyone”

The Ministry of Education had previously rejected a settlement offer from the court. The comparison assumed that the Arnsberg district government would keep its hat on when planning and designating five test sites. The individual web school should have formed five groups accordingly. It would be a lot of work, but all students could be followed and cared for on site, the principal explained at the time.

The Ministry of Education justified its refusal by saying that “a redistribution […] based on the proposed comparison […] a few weeks before the exam starts on May 11th […] not in the interest of the already heavily burdened specimens. “But the parents of the students in question defended themselves in a letter:” How do you know? You have not spoken to any of us, asked anyone. It is also logical, because we “Everyone, all parents, children, teachers see it differently. We want our children to know that their teachers are nearby. We want to give you this security.”

It’s off the table now. News4teachers / with material from dpa

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