Strike: Matura protests “marginal phenomenon”

The planned return of the compulsory oral Matura led to protests in some schools on Tuesday. Various organizations and head boys and girls had called for “strike” – according to AHS directors, however, it was probably a “marginal phenomenon”, according to the APA. Almost all of the high school graduates were present at most schools. In the past two years, the oral Matura was only voluntary. Those who did not want to compete were given the grade of the final year in their Matura certificate in the subject concerned. There are also various simplifications for this year, but the oral matriculation examination should again be mandatory. Minister of Education Martin Polaschek (ÖVP) also wants to stick to that, as stated yesterday after a meeting with the federal student representatives. Among other things, the SPÖ-related action of critical students (AKS) called for a “Matura strike”. She appealed to the students to come to school regularly, but to leave class for an hour and gather in front of the schools – including about a dozen of the approximately 700 AHS and vocational colleges (BHS). The AKS not only requires a voluntary oral high school diploma: if high school graduates want it, the written exam should also be able to be omitted and the school leaving certificate should show the average grades of the last two school years. For corona-safe schools In addition, around 100 school representatives have joined forces around Mati Randow from the Rahlgasse Gymnasium in Vienna. In addition to a voluntary oral Matura, they also want schools that are generally corona-safe and more attention to the problems of young people. There were actions at around 150 schools – some students would have gathered in front of the schools in an hour, others would have marked their seat with the hashtag “#WirStreiken”, others went home after a few lessons, according to Randow journalists. However, the schools did not notice much: The strikes are likely to be a “marginal phenomenon”, according to the spokeswoman for the AHS directors, Isabella Zins, after a call among colleagues at the APA’s request. The high school graduates are “almost all present at most secondary schools”. However, there are individual classes that meet at a certain hour and write letters to education policy. The directors appeal to the high school graduates to trust in their own ability and the pedagogical experience of the teachers. Even in Corona times, a lot was learned and the school-leaving exam rules often accommodated the students – for example by including the annual grade, reducing the scope of the material, extending the working hours and additional support hours in supplementary lessons. “Proving your knowledge in two or three subjects that you have chosen based on your own strengths is not to be seen as a punishment, but as the crowning glory of your school career.” From the “current point of view” the oral parts of the school-leaving examination are easily feasible, because there is more support and numerous simplifications – with classroom teaching so far. Nobody would think of waiving part of the material for medical students or apprentice mechanics, for example, or not requiring examinations, said Zins. “Strikes” according to Öllinger “wrong approach” Similarly, Secretary of State for Youth Claudia Plakolm (ÖVP): A plan will be presented in January as to what the oral Matura and the weeks up to then should look like, she announced at a press conference. “I am fully behind the fact that the oral Matura will be held again this year. Young people can be trusted to complete an oral Matura at the end of their school career.” Apprentices have also had challenging times in the past two years. “There were no adjustments to the final apprenticeship exam either.” The FPÖ is also in favor of a mandatory oral Matura. “Our students must be given the chance to prove themselves again. The Matura must be given the necessary weight and value again,” said education spokesman Hermann Brückl in a broadcast. Federal school spokeswoman Susanna Öllinger from the ÖVP-affiliated student union described the “strike” in a broadcast as “the wrong approach”. She wants to continue negotiating with the Ministry of Education about a voluntary oral A-levels – not least the relief that has already been achieved in the A-levels has shown that this is of some use. Randow, on the other hand, wants to continue to protest. The actions today were only the first. “If nothing changes, it will not have been the last.” (apa)

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