Half of Vienna’s Primary School Students Don’t Speak German at Home

Half of Vienna’s Primary School Students Don’t Speak German at Home

Photo by Dan V on Unsplash

New Study Shows Language Gap in Vienna Schools

55% of all Vienna elementary school students, or every second child, do not speak German at home in their family environment. Data from Statistik Austria show this. The numbers are particularly high in Margareten (84%), Brigittenau (82%), and Favoriten (75%).

Photo by Dan V on Unsplash

The numbers are even higher at the secondary school level, with 77% of all students not speaking German at home. In Margareten, 96% of all secondary school students do not speak German as their primary language. In Ottakring and Hernals, the numbers are 93% and 92%, respectively. In contrast, in the more affluent districts of Hietzing, Währing, and Liesing, only 57% of secondary school students do not speak German at home.

Language Gap a Concern for Vienna’s Education System

The study also found that there are 10,000 “extraordinary” students in Vienna’s primary schools, meaning that their German skills are insufficient to follow the regular curriculum. These students are placed in German support classes or special programs. Of these children, 60% were born in Austria, and 80% have attended kindergarten for at least two years.

ÖVP Wien-Bildungssprecher Harald Zierfuß called the situation “worrisome.” He criticized the city’s education system, saying that the German support classes would not be necessary if SPÖ and Neos had done their jobs.

“How can it be that children are born in Vienna, grow up here, and spend more than two years in kindergarten without learning enough German for school?” Zierfuß asked.

The ÖVP Wien calls for several reforms, including increasing the number of German support staff in kindergartens, reducing class sizes, and making kindergarten mandatory for three-year-olds who show language deficiencies.

“Thousands of children are slipping through the cracks in kindergarten without learning proper German,” Zierfuß said. “SPÖ and Neos are robbing these children of their future opportunities. It’s no wonder Vienna’s educational failure is leading to massive integration problems!”

The study’s findings highlight the challenges facing Vienna’s schools in a city that is becoming increasingly diverse. The city’s migrant population has grown by 20% in the past decade, and the number of children speaking a language other than German at home has increased accordingly.

Whether the city can address the language gap in its schools remains to be seen. The stakes are high, however, as the gap could lead to educational and economic disparities for children who do not speak German./HEUTE

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