Germany: Lack of Islam teachers leads to segregated classes

Germany: Lack of Islam teachers leads to segregated classes

At a school in Haunstetten (Augsburg) some of the parents are at loggerheads with the principal Josef Neugebauer.  A number of Turkish parents are accusing Neugebauer of discrimination.  At the beginning of the school year the classes were reorganized.  Lawyer Yalcin Yorulmaz, who represents the parents, says that it throws back integration policies 30 years back, and is planning legal action.

Since September the school has a new 3rd grade class concentrating all the Turkish students together.  The three other 3rd grade classes have only Catholic and Protestant children.  It's legal, but it causes unrest in the school.

The new layout had nothing to do with the immigrant children at first.  Rather, it was an organization problem, says Neugebauer.  The reason is that the school wasn't allocated any German-speaking Islam teachers this year.  Gerhard Nickmann, Augsburg's schools superintendent says that they've already pointed that out to the Swabian government in the summer.

The school wasn't aware of the problem until shortly before the summer holidays, and Neugebaue says that organizationally it made most sense to form a new class.  The result being that all the Turkish students are concentrated in the same class.
A Culture Ministry directive, however, clearly says that students of immigrant background should be spread out evenly across all classes.  According to the school board, the Augsburg schools are generally mixed, and students are only separated for religion classes.  According to the school, there are 50% immigrant students in the class, according to the parents 90%.  But the origin doesn't matter so much as the level of language and integration.

Some Turkish parents feel the division is discriminatory.  The children have almost no opportunity to have German friends, says Asli Kömürcü, who's on the parent council.  Integration has come to nothing.   Gürkan Yildirim, a father, says that once the kids reach secondary school, the differences woudl be noticeable.

Most of all the parents want to avoid the example being set by the school.  The children learned German by associating with the German kids, says father Recep Turak.  And the class already got the label of being 'dumb'.  Meanwhile, 60 parents (not only immigrants) signed a petition saying that the new division is not acceptable. 

Neugebauer says that this segregation is a one-time thing and would only last for the current school-year.  Some German parents see nothing wrong with the current arrangement, and that quietly it's being approved.  But Neugebauer says he can do without support from that direction.

Source: Augsburger Allgemeinen (German), h/t PI

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