Since 2021, six vocational schools in Brandenburg have been participating in our "Strong Teachers - Strong Students" project. Now the Minister of Education, Steffen Freiberg, is making the project a permanent part of the teacher training program, opening it up to all types of schools and promising further financial support.
Swastikas on furniture, flyers with right-wing slogans and anti-democratic scenes in school corridors: several right-wing extremist incidents at schools in Brandenburg have not only alarmed teachers. Education Minister Steffen Freiberg is now stepping up state support - and is relying on a programme set up by the Robert Bosch Stiftung together with the Technical University of Dresden. From 2024, the "Strong Teachers - Strong Students" training program will be open to teachers from all types of schools and will be funded on a permanent basis by the Brandenburg Ministry of Education.
"It is a great success for us as a foundation that our initiative has now become a permanent part of the teacher training program in Brandenburg. Both teachers and students will benefit from this."
The move is part of a new five-point plan 'Strengthening political education in Brandenburg schools', which offers up-to-date media and counselling services as well as projects to promote understanding of democracy in schools. As right-wing extremists are cleverly using social media, targeting schools and downplaying their beliefs, it is particularly important to address their strategies and xenophobia in general. With "Strong Teachers - Strong Students", teachers can learn more about the issues of antidemocratic attitudes and right-wing extremism in order to engage in an exchange with their students.
"Especially in times of multiple crises, students and teachers adopt positions and attitudes that repeatedly call into question a democratic framework of values. Anti-democratic attitudes must be confronted with deep, continuous and broad confrontation."
So far, six vocational schools in Brandenburg are taking part in our 'Strong Teachers - Strong Students' program. In a three-year qualification and coaching process, academics and experts impart up-to-date knowledge about right-wing extremist youth culture, but also more self-confidence in dealing with conflict situations and in dealing with anti-democratic attitudes and statements.
The program was developed in 2015 on the initiative of the Robert Bosch Stiftung together with the Technical University of Dresden and implemented in the state of Saxony until 2018 together with the Saxon Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs. The pilot project was evaluated by Leibniz Universität Hannover, which subsequently coordinated the follow-up project in Lower Saxony (2018-2022). In Lower Saxony and, from 2021, in Brandenburg and, from autumn 2022, in Hesse, the project is a cooperation with the Federal Agency for Civic Education.