Teacher – A systemic profession?
The word "systemically important" is often mentioned in connection with the physicians and nurses who work day in and day out in crisis to keep the health care system and the country going.
In fact, however, "system-relevant" includes many more professions. According to Wikipedia, systemically important means: "Companies or professions that play such a significant economic or infrastructural role in a state that their insolvency is unacceptable or their services must be specially protected." (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/system-relevance)
So, in addition to health care, areas such as energy, water, food, finance, media, and government administration are also important to the system.
Are teachers systemically relevant?
One can now ask whether the profession of teacher is also relevant to the system.
First of all, the school closures that have been decided due to the Corona crisis in no way mean that teachers do not have to work.
The teachers are still obliged to teach your students (online) or to provide them with learning material and exercises.
In addition, it is the responsibility of schools and teachers to provide necessary care in schools for children whose parents cannot be present.
Without a doubt, in the short term, the health sector, but also other sectors such as nutrition and energy, are more important than the education sector.
Education – a basic human right
However, education is also a fundamental human right: "Everyone has the right to education." – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26 In our current situation, a comment of the Social Covenant Committee of the United Nations (1999) is particularly relevant. This states that in addition to the availability and adequacy(=form and content) of education, the accessibility and adaptability of education are particularly relevant:
Accessibility: Access to education should not be legally or factually denied to anyone. In particular, education must be freely accessible to the most vulnerable groups, which especially affects children from poor or socially disadvantaged families, for example.
Adaptability: Education must adapt to the needs of changing societies and communities. When the circumstances of children and young people change, the education system must adapt to them – and not the other way around.
Even today there are millions of people in the world who cannot exercise this right. In many cases, sometimes not even a primary school education can be completed. In addition, education is extremely important for the development and sustainability of a country.
Teachers – a systemically relevant profession
Getting back to the big question of this article – Yes, we think teaching is a systemically important profession. Because without it, the right to education cannot be enforced. By this, we do not mean presence classes in school. In the spirit of the above Adaptability Can education also be delivered via online classes. Regardless of whether online or in school – education must never be neglected. In both cases, however, we need teachers to teach children and young people. Don't let the current situation cause education to fall by the wayside.
However, in order to make online teaching work, teachers need to be supported by the government, because we must not use the aforementioned Accessibility Forgotten, as not all children have the necessary prerequisites. Not all parents have enough money to buy their children laptops or tablets, which are difficult/impossible to get around when teaching online.
Official situation in Germany
In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin and Bavaria, among other places, on 20.4 or 27.04 the circle of system-relevant professions expanded. Thus, teachers – who are back teaching in schools – have since officially been counted among the professions that are relevant to the system. However, this is not (yet) regulated in all federal states.