Call for Germany to scrap English lessons in primary schools

Primary schools should focus on German reading and math instead of English, the president of the German Teachers' Association has said

Representative image (Photo: DW)
Representative image (Photo: DW)


German primary school students should no longer be taught English, and instead teachers should dedicate this time to improving their German reading and mathematics skills, the president of the German Teachers' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, has said.

Meidinger told German public broadcaster ARD on Friday that focusing on English lessons was setting the wrong priorities.

"We believe that English lessons are indeed dispensable, and that they can be shifted to, for example, reading lessons," Meidinger said. "We have to pay more attention to the basics at primary schools: reading skills, writing skills, arithmetic."

Where is the suggestion coming from?

Meidinger's comments come on the heels of the results of the International Primary School Reading Survey (IGLU) presented last month.

The results revealed that German primary students performed poorly compared to their peers in many other countries. A quarter of Germany's fourth graders cannot read properly, the survey showed.

Another test among fourth graders, the IQB education trend, last year showed a significant deterioration in children's mathematics and German skills.

Meidinger said English lessons for primary students could be maintained in certain cases.

However, he argued that focusing on German instead of English made more sense in schools where 70% to 90% of the students have a migrant background with "hardly… sufficient knowledge of German."

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