Education and Science Union

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Education and Science Union
Logo of the GEW
founding 1948
Seat Frankfurt am Main GermanyGermany
main emphasis labor union
Chair 1. Marlis Tepe
2. Andreas Keller
Members 279,389 (December 31, 2018)

The Education and Science Union (GEW) is a trade union in the German Federation of Trade Unions with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and a “parliamentary liaison office” in Berlin . The GEW is federally organized and consists of 16 regional associations. She is a member of the Education International (BI, English EI) and the European Trade Union Committee for Education and Science (ETUCE, English ETUCE).

The GEW is the largest education union in Germany; At the end of 2018, it had 279,389 (78,934 male, 200,455 female) members. The largest state associations of the GEW are Baden-Württemberg (49,000) and North Rhine-Westphalia (48,000), followed by Lower Saxony with around 31,000 members. According to the statutes, the regional associations regulate their affairs themselves, subject to jointly adopted resolutions.

With its monthly members' magazine " Education & Science " (circulation 270,000), the GEW publishes one of the largest specialist journals in the field of education. In addition, it publishes the theoretical quarterly magazine “Die deutsche Schule”.

The members of the GEW work in educational, socio-educational and scientific professions at a wide variety of school types, in day-care centers and youth homes , at universities , scientific institutes and research facilities, at adult education centers and other institutions for further education as well as at Goethe institutes , German schools abroad, European schools , military schools and foreign language diploma schools. About 40 percent of the GEW members are employees , 60 percent civil servants . In addition, the GEW is a predominantly female union. They account for 70 percent of the members.

About 63 percent of the GEW members are organized in the school sector. As before, teachers at elementary schools , secondary schools , secondary schools , comprehensive schools , high schools , boarding schools , commercial and industrial vocational schools shape the image of the GEW in public. The fact that in recent years the union has been able to attract more educators, early childhood and social pedagogues, nannies and social assistants as well as auxiliary staff as members has not changed this.

Employees from day-care centers such as crèches, kindergartens and after-school care centers as well as youth homes represent a growing number of GEW members, but are still numerically underrepresented. The union still sees in them an important potential that needs to be organized. She benefits from the fact that she is not only committed to expanding facilities, but also to significantly upgrading professions.

The GEW actively tries to address employees at universities, scientific institutes and research facilities ( academic mid-level staff ) as well as in the special education professions and to win new members there. Here, as with daycare centers, the GEW competes for new members with ver.di , the second largest DGB union (it organizes state employees).

On the other hand, the union feels that it is already well positioned at adult education centers and other adult education institutions as well as at the Goethe Institutes.


The GEW advocates equal opportunities, co-determination as well as social security and democracy. She favors long-term joint learning beyond elementary school following the example of Scandinavia and equal pay for teachers of all types of teaching post.

The union advocates the human right to education in an inclusive education system. This includes equal opportunities and longer learning together. However, the educational opportunities of children in Germany still depend on the social status of their parents. Education has to reduce social inequality, demands the GEW. There should be no segregation according to origin and social position, denomination or worldview, gender or nationality. Rather, education must be aimed at the all-round development of people, the development of their physical and mental abilities and talents as well as their social skills. Politicians have to provide the material and personnel framework for converting the excluding and sorting education system into an inclusive one.

The GEW advocates good working conditions for employees, fair pay, open-ended employment contracts and secure jobs in the education sector. At the same time, it sees itself as a strong voice in education policy in the country.

Commitment to the development and expansion of a strong democratic public education system is central. The GEW demands a fundamentally better financial endowment of the education system. The current system lacks justice, because social origin ultimately determines educational and future opportunities. At the same time, with the rapid changes in the world of work and global challenges, the need for a good, comprehensive education for all people is increasing.

The GEW sees the expansion of the education system as an investment in the future. Among other things, it demands a free place in a day-care center for all children and the expansion of all-day offers. Children and young people - with and without disabilities - should be able to learn together in the “One School for All”. The GEW opposes policy of cuts at the expense of young people and rejects larger classes or a restriction of remedial teaching.

In the practice of the GEW, precarious employment relationships are becoming increasingly important - as is otherwise known from the low-wage sector for the low-skilled. But they are increasingly spreading across the entire education sector: mini-jobs in daycare centers, temporary teaching activities with low earnings in family education or at universities, one-euro jobs and low-paid temporary contracts at adult education centers - and recently also at schools.

The union demands full negotiation and participation rights for all employees, including civil servants. She "fights" for civil servants' right to strike. The GEW advocates uniform personnel law in the public service and full collective bargaining coverage for all employees, especially at private educational institutions. Although the number of non-civil servants is growing, there is still no pay schedule for these salaried teachers.

Since 2009, GEW and the collective bargaining association of German states (TdL) have been fighting for a nationwide collective wage order (L-EGO) for salaried teachers. Negotiations have been ongoing since September 2014. From the GEW point of view, salaried teachers, like all other professional groups in the public service, have the right to be classified according to a collective agreement .


The GEW was founded on October 1st, 1948.

The Hamburg regional association of the GEW celebrated its 200th anniversary regionally in November 2005 because it sees itself as part of the Society of Friends of the Fatherland School and Education System. Another possible forerunner was the General German Teachers 'Association , which was founded in Dresden in August 1848 and in Eisenach in autumn 1848. However, due to the political restoration from 1849 , its activity was largely limited to the publication of the General German Teachers' Journal. From the outset he almost exclusively represented the teachers of the elementary school . From December 1871, after the establishment of the German Empire, there was the German Teachers' Association (DLV) in Berlin throughout the empire . The meetings of the association, the number of visitors rose to around 5000, took place regularly; since 1876 alternating with a delegates 'day of the German and Prussian state teachers' association , until the merger of these associations came about in 1893. The influential association had 45 branches and around 3,000 individual associations in 1904, around 105,000 members. His organ remained the " Allgemeine Deutsche Lehrerzeitung " (Leipzig).

GEW flags with old and current logo

In 1919 the Free Teachers' Union of Germany was founded as a socialist alternative to the DLV. 1933 all trade unions were brought into line and associations outside the National Socialist Teachers Federal prohibited.

In 1947 the General German Teachers' Association for the British Zone of Occupation was founded in Detmold , which then became part of the Education and Science Union in 1948. It belonged to the DGB, and by October 1949 it was joined by the teachers' associations of the American zone of occupation, except for the FSVO , then that of the French zone. From 1949 to 1971, the “ Allgemeine Deutsche Lehrerzeitung ” appeared, from which today's magazine “Education & Science” emerged.

Together with the FSVO there was the Working Group of German Teachers' Associations (AGDL), from which, under the philosopher Eugen Fink, the groundbreaking Bremen plan for the development of the school system arose in 1960 : denominationalization of the elementary school, extension of compulsory education to 10 years in the single school.

Most of the members were elementary school teachers, besides only a few university teachers mostly from teacher training colleges. Marginal contact with the universities was established by the Oberaudorfer Kreis under Eduard Brenner from Erlangen .

In 1990 the GEW had around 189,000 members. The members of the GDR trade unions "Education" and "Science" in the FDGB were for the most part accepted into the GEW, so that the number of members rose sharply in the short term. Since then, the GEW has been regarded as a strongly East German-oriented union, which was reflected in the 1997 election of Eva-Maria Stange as federal chairman. She was the first East German to head a DGB union.

In 2012 the GEW joined the alliance Umfairteile .

Organization at the federal level

GEW demonstration in Düsseldorf in January 2009

The current statutes of the GEW date from June 4, 1968 and have since been changed several times. According to the statutes, the highest body of the GEW is the trade union day. Its approximately 400 delegates meet every four years. The trade union day decides on the essential principles and content of the GEW work and elects the executive board. The highest decision-making body of the GEW between the trade union days is the approximately 70-strong main board. It consists of the executive board, the chairmen of the 16 independent regional associations and the representatives of the specialist, working and personal groups within the union. The executive board has eight voting members. The office of the main board in Frankfurt am Main reports to him.

At the 27th trade union day of the GEW 2013, the secondary school teacher Marlis Tepe from Schleswig-Holstein was elected as the new federal chairman of the GEW with 52.4 percent of the delegate votes. The trade union day elected the head of the university and research department of the GEW, Andreas Keller, to be Tepe's deputy .

Treasurer Petra Grundmann manages the GEW's treasury. The monthly membership fee is based on the collectively agreed income. For civil servants it is 0.78 percent of the salary group and level, for salaried employees it is 0.73 percent of the salary group and level. For employees whose pay is not regulated by collective agreements, 0.7 percent of the agreed gross earnings apply, for freelancers 0.55 percent of the fee. Performance bonuses, Christmas and vacation pay, etc. are not taken into account. Part-time employees pay a reduced contribution, as do retirees, retirees, students, trainees and the unemployed.

Women have a special status in the GEW: Most of the employees in the education sector are women. As a result, the proportion of women among its members, at around 70 percent, is far above that of other unions: The aim of the GEW women's policy is to support the strengths of women through union work and to involve them in them. The focus of the activities is on representing the interests of female employees, equal opportunities in the workplace, gender-equitable educational policy and gender-conscious pedagogy, an equality-oriented social policy as well as better compatibility of family and work . The practical implementation is in the hands of the Federal Women's Committee and the board member responsible for women, equality and gender policy . It has been Frauke Gützkow since the 2013 trade union day . Incidentally, women's policy is a cross-sectional task of the various board areas.

As an education union, it sees its responsibilities in the educational areas of day-care centers, schools, youth welfare, vocational training, science and further education.

The majority of GEW members still work in schools. According to the GEW, the school should “give the pupils time and space to make their own experiences and collectively draw their own knowledge from the diversity of this experience.” It advocates a “democratic school system that is committed to equal opportunities”. The GEW demands inclusion, longer learning together, smaller classes and adequate pay for teachers. Comprehensive comparative work (VerA) for the 3rd grades criticized the GEW as not realistic, not appropriate for children, not according to the curriculum. The union expresses similar criticism of the school structure. Every year for half a million young people from secondary schools and special needs schools, the start of vocational training becomes a false start. The GEW also takes a critical position vis-à-vis the “top performers” at the grammar school, as Germany lags far behind other industrial nations here. The GEW sees a selection that is too early and in its opinion the educational potential of the pupils would not be optimally used; instead, children and young people should receive the best possible individual support. Ilka Hoffmann is responsible for the school division .

Vocational training has traditionally been of particular importance to the union. The GEW also organizes most of the vocational school teachers. She calls for a basic right to vocational training and a training guarantee for all young people. A good education, work and an adequate income are basic requirements for individual development, an independent livelihood and social participation of every person. At the same time, further training is becoming increasingly important. The GEW regrets that courses within the framework of active labor market policy measures are not viewed as education. The union harshly criticizes the allocation of educational offers based on pure market principles. All too often this happens at the expense of quality and fair pay for teachers. The GEW now regards the further education area as a gateway for precarious work: Many academics turn their teaching activities into mini-fees in further education to pedagogical day laborers. Ansgar Klinger is in charge of the organizational area of ​​vocational education and training .

For the area of ​​"higher education and research" the GEW calls for extensive changes as part of a reform of the entire education system. Its science policy program from 2009 is under the motto "Democratize science, open universities, develop the quality of research and teaching, improve working and study conditions". It requires the further development of BAföG to a parent-independent study fee , equal participation in all university committees, the family-friendly organization of research, teaching and studies, an active gender equality policy, a change of course in the Bologna process and equally high-quality and consistently long teacher training. In the “Templiner Manifesto” from 2011, the GEW advocates “permanent positions for permanent tasks”, predictable career paths and terms of employment negotiated in collective agreements. In 2012, in the “Herrschinger Codex”, it recommended that universities and research institutions commit to stable employment conditions and predictable career paths. The head of the organizational area is Andreas Keller . Since 2013, Keller has also been Deputy Chairman of the GEW.

Experts expect that the municipalities will have to provide a place in a day-care center for every second child under the age of three in the next few years. The GEW is worried about the acute shortage of educational specialists. A significant upgrading of the profession is overdue - technically and in terms of pay. In view of the very different conditions in the federal states, the GEW advocates a federal quality law for daycare centers in order to set uniform standards. She helps shape the training of educators, childhood educators and social workers herself. In the further development of the education system towards a consistent overall system of education, upbringing and care, the topics of school social work, all-day school and the cooperation between youth welfare and school play an outstanding role from the point of view of the GEW. School social work has proven to be an effective form of cooperation between youth welfare and school. Norbert Hocke heads this area on the executive board.

60 percent of the members are civil servants. The GEW represents them within the framework of the DGB as the top civil service organization in the federal and state levels. In the area of ​​the public service, there is a collective bargaining agreement with ver.di and the other DGB unions in the public service. The GEW works independently on topics related to teachers. In 2006 the collective agreement for the civil service of the federal states (TV-L) came into force. It applies to collective bargaining employees with the exception of Hessen . Hessen has had its own collective agreement since 2009. The TV-L is structured in a similar way to the collective bargaining agreement for the public service (TVöD) for federal and local employees. TVöD and TV-L have replaced the Federal Employees Collective Agreement (BAT) , which has been in force since 1961 . In addition, the GEW concludes collective agreements with providers of further training as well as the social and educational service . Since the summer of 2012, there has been a lower wage limit for teachers in continuing education. The GEW negotiated this. It is 11.25 euros in eastern Germany and 12.60 euros in the west. The collective bargaining and civil service policy was taken over by Andreas Gehrke at the 2013 trade union day .

In addition to the central organizational areas, there are various committees, working, specialist and personal groups.

The Federal Committee on Migration, Diversity, Anti-Discrimination (BAMA) stands for the intercultural opening of trade unions and society. The aim is the equal participation of all people in accordance with human rights. Since 1987, BAMA has been campaigning for increased intercultural education through inclusive values ​​education and the recognition of multilingualism. He deals with the further development of intercultural concepts and union positions. It consists of a member from each regional association and representatives from specialist groups.

Teachers, educators and employees work in the working group for young people's literature and media (AJuM). There are regional offices of the AJuM in twelve regional associations. Its members review children's and youth media, organize training courses, publish publications and award the GEW Heinrich Wolgast Prize for children's and youth media. They also advise on issues relating to children's and youth literature and the school library.

The GEW has two youth organizations:

  1. The Junge GEW (young people in the field of education, upbringing and science up to 35 years) and the
  2. GEW students (students).

The Junge GEW and the GEW-Studis are members of the DGB-Jugend .


The GEW founded the Max Traeger Foundation in 1960 , named after the first GEW chairman in 1947, the Hamburg FDP education politician Max Traeger . The aim of this foundation is to promote scientific research into the reality of education, the reality of schools and the reality of universities. Research projects and scientific publications are funded. The small foundation is fed from the income of the members of the executive board of the GEW as well as from contributions from the GEW members.

There is also the Heinrich Rodenstein Fund, the educational and support organization and the “Fair Childhood - GEW Foundation Education instead of Child Labor” initiative.

Partners and competition

The GEW belongs to the German Federation of Trade Unions . Its member union ver.di also represents employees from universities, non-university research and further education as well as from the social and educational sectors. Outside of the DGB trade unions, the GEW competes with denominational, regional and school-type-specific organizations, especially in the field of teachers from all types of schools. Many of these are themselves organized in the German Association of Officials . The main differences are in the positions on the right to strike for civil servants and on the harmonization of working hours and pay. In addition, in contrast to other teacher associations, the GEW favors longer joint learning based on the example of Scandinavia and advocates greater inclusion .

Members newspaper

  • E&W Education and Science. Journal of the education union GEW

Chair of the GEW


  • Wolfgang Kopitzsch: Union of Education and Science (GEW) 1947-1975. Outlines of their history. Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, Heidelberg 1983, ISBN 3-533-03420-8 .
  • Peter Körfgen: Committed to clarification. A History of the Education and Science Union. Juventa-Verlag, Weinheim / Munich 1986.

Web links

Commons : GEW  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. GEW main board. Retrieved March 22, 2020 .
  2. DGB: DGB membership figures 2018. In: January 21, 2019, accessed January 21, 2019 .
  3. a b Information from the GEW main board
  4. GEW statutes, as of July 2014 ( Memento from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Prehistory: Rainer Bölling: Volksschullehrer und Politik , Göttingen 1978
  7. ^ Manfred Heinemann: From General Studies to University Reform: The "Oberaudorfer Talks" as a forum for trade union university policy 1950–1968 . In: edition education and science 1 . Academy, Berlin 1996, ISBN 978-3-05-002901-6 .
  8. The support group of the alliance , accessed on April 16, 2018
  9. ^ GEW Board of Directors complete - GEW press release from June 15, 2013
  10. GEW contribution regulations, status: January 1, 2014 ( memo from January 26, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Science policy program of the GEW ( Memento from January 26, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  14. ^ Templin Manifesto
  15. Herrschinger Codex
  16. ;
  21. Young GEW
  22. GEW students
  23. Max Traeger Foundation
  24. ^ Heinrich Rodenstein Fund
  25. GEW educational and support organization in the DGB e. V.
  26. ^ Initiative "Fair Childhood - GEW Foundation Education instead of Child Labor"
  27. "Education and Science" - GEW magazine