Distribution key with deficits

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

The so-called quota system has ensured a more even distribution of teaching lessons between the municipalities, but hardly more educational equity. How the system works and where it can be improved.

When Patrick Remakel presents the organisation of the coming school year to the school commission in his municipality in spring, he says he is forced to present "the best of the worst" he could come up with. The primary school teacher is also president of the Syndicat National des Enseignants (SNE). It is not only for this union that the question of resources in primary school is an ongoing issue.

In the context of education policy, when people talk about the "contingent, " they mean the number of weekly teaching hours that the state makes available to the municipalities each year for the organisation of elementary education. Here is how it goes: take all the primary school pupils in a municipality and provide for a theoretical class size of 16 children. The mechanism provides for additional teaching hours depending on the population composition of a municipality. For this purpose, the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) calculates a social index for all municipalities every three years. The socio-economic-cultural index takes four aspects into account: the proportion of children who speak neither Luxembourgish nor German as their first or second language. Secondly, children in single-parent families. Thirdly and fourthly, the income situation of the parents as well as the receipt of social assistance (inclusion income called Revis), cost-of-living allowance, unemployment benefit). Based on this result, the municipalities are ranked on a scale between 100 and 120. The higher the value, the more additional teaching hours are available in a municipality to organise additional classes or remedial teaching. The municipality of Esch/Alzette, for example, receives the maximum with the calculation from the previous year over a value of 120: 20 per cent more resources. The system was applied for the first time for the 2010/11 school year.

In terms of school organisation, the introduction of the "contingent" was the central point of the primary school reform of 2009. At that time, the state took over the distribution of resources in order to ensure, among other things, a more even distribution of teaching staff between the municipalities. A goal that has been achieved, says Paul Schmit today. He is an observer at the Observatoire de l'Enfance, de la Jeunesse et de la Qualité Scolaire (OEJQS). "The quota was initially intended to remedy a situation of inequality between municipalities. Rich municipalities, such as Luxembourg City or those in the capital's suburbs, could hire as many teachers as they wanted before the 2009 reform. […] Because teachers were a limited resource even then, they were attracted to these municipalities with a more attractive working environment (such as better school facilities, ed.), " Schmit tells Lëtzebuerger Journal. As a result, communities in the south of the country, for example, had to cope with a few teachers and had to rely on substitute teachers.

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