German instructors without German

Soon, having a bachelor’s degree in German language and culture will not be required in order to work as a German language instructor. There is a massive shortage of fully qualified instructors, which means that anyone who has ‘studied anything to do with linguistics’ is welcome to join the educational master’s programme.

The admissions requirements for the educational master’s for German will be different starting in the coming academic year. Due to a serious shortage of qualified German language instructors in secondary school, having a bachelor’s degree in German is no longer required. The nationwide shortage was estimated to be about 4 to 5 per cent, or roughly 150 teachers, last year.

The changed requirements are part of a pilot set up by university union VSNU, the Coordinating Body for the Humanities (Regieorgaan Geesteswetenschappen) and the ministry. Five universities will take part in the programme, and each university has contributed to the curriculum. The RUG will provide the historic cultural sciences course.

Not required

While it remains preferable for students to complete 30 course credits in German studies during their bachelor, that is not required. However, the students are required to speak German at a B2 level, which is the level achieved upon passing upper level high school exams. Students are also expected to have completed a bachelor degree which specialised in ‘linguistics, literature or cultural arts’. An admissions committee will assess all applicants.

Gerry Wakker, dean of the Faculty of Arts, is not concerned that the level of the incoming students will be too low. ‘Everything has been coordinated with and approved of by the deans of the relevant faculties’, Wakker explains. She stresses that the final qualifications for the German educational master are not up for debate.

‘Careful consideration’

It remains unclear whether the master will be offered at the RUG as a separate programme or as a version of the existing educational master. ‘The course materials for the new master will indeed be of a different nature. We are giving careful consideration to that at the national level at the moment’, Wakker says.

Based on the number of inquiries so far, the arts dean is confident that the pilot will have the desired effect. Wakker is counting on more enrolments in the German educational master in the coming academic year.