Erfurt (dpa / th) - In Thuringia, the absence of lessons at the beginning of the current school year has reached a new high.
According to a list from the Ministry of Education, which is available to the German Press Agency (dpa), 6.2 percent of the lessons at general and secondary schools were canceled in the week from September 28 to October 2.
That corresponds to a good 18,100 hours.
A year earlier, the proportion of lessons canceled or shortened without replacement or, due to a lack of teachers, with so-called silent work in the school classes at the beginning of the school year was 5.2 percent.
However, due to the corona pandemic, the situation is not entirely comparable with previous years, estimate the ministry and the Thuringian Teachers Association (TLV).
At the time of the survey, according to the ministry, schools were in restricted regular operation with special protection against infection due to increased corona cases in the regions concerned or were even closed.
They were not recorded in the survey.
43 of them had fully or almost fully maintained learning opportunities during this time, according to ministry statistics.
"It is difficult to say to what extent the corona effect will strike in schools not affected by the pandemic, and teachers are on sick leave because of it," said TLV state chairman Rolf Busch of the dpa.
Education Minister Helmut Holter (left) said: "It is clear that the schools, even if they were not in the yellow or red level, were and still are in a particularly tense situation this school year due to the pandemic."
Once again, the challenges posed by a shortage of teachers and educators who have been ill for a long time have become clear.
For years, teachers' sick leave has been the main reason for missed lessons alongside the lack of specialist teachers.
"We have been dragging a deficiency since 2018 - despite the new hiring of teachers," explained Busch.
Many of these educators only replaced those who were retiring.
"But the number of students has been increasing for years and we need additional teachers for this."
The ministry collects data on missed lessons in 978 schools three times per school year: at the beginning, in November and in spring.
This year, the November survey was not carried out due to the high stress on school administrators due to the pandemic.