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German Chancellor’s wife resigns as minister

Britta Ernst

GERMANY- The education minister for the German state of Brandenburg, Britta Ernst, has resigned, a government spokeswoman said on Monday.

State premier Dietmar Woidke, who like Ernst is from the centre-left Social Democrats, had accepted the resignation.

Ernst is a career politician and wife of the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In recent years, she had repeatedly come under criticism from educational associations and the opposition, and even from within the state’s coalition government.

She had been minister of education in Brandenburg since 2017.

She will be succeeded by the state secretary for education, Steffen Freiberg.

Woidke praised Ernst’s work. “She has carried out the office in difficult times, I am referring here to the Coronavirus pandemic with foresight and a steady hand,” Woidke said.

“I am sure that in retrospect, her term in office will be associated with important milestones such as the continuous improvement of the nursery school staffing ratio.’’

Brandenburg’s conservative CDU parliamentary group leader Jan Redmann also paid tribute to her, saying she had the task of cleaning up “the shambles of failed policies of the last 30 years.’’

Recently, criticism had not only come from schools and parents, but also from the SPD and the Greens in the state parliament.

This concerned plans to reallocate 200 teaching posts to administrative specialists and school social workers.

It was intended as a building block to respond to the lack of teachers, which is a problem across the whole of Germany.(dpa/NAN)

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