Sunday 18 November 2018

Far-right party urges pupils to inform on teachers

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley. Photo: AP
German Justice Minister Katarina Barley. Photo: AP

James Rothwell

GERMANY'S far-right AfD party has been criticised for launching a child informant programme in schools where pupils expose teachers who attack the party or show political bias.

The Hamburg chapter of Alternative Fur Deutschland, which made major gains in last year's general election, launched a "Neutral Schools" website for anonymous complaints about teachers.

But Katarina Barley, the German justice minister, condemned the programme, warning "organised denunciation is a tool of dictatorships".

"A party using this to expose disagreeable teachers reveals a lot about its own understanding of democracy," she added.

German teaching unions also hit out at the Stasi-esque surveillance, which the AfD hopes to extend to nine other states.

Scared

"It's to be expected that a party that wants to ostracise dissenters is now creating platforms to denounce people who have different opinions," said Ilka Hoffmann, a board member of the German Education Union.

"Teachers should be scared. This is a frightening development."

The AfD is the largest opposition party in the German parliament, the Bundestag, following a surge in support in the September 2017 election which handed them 90 seats.

It has capitalised on popular anger against Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal refugee policy that resulted in a record influx in 2015.

But the extreme rhetoric of some of its members has led to claims the party harbours neo-Nazi and fascist sympathisers.

Party leader Alexander Gauland said the Third Reich was a "speck of bird poo in more than 1,000 years of successful German history".

Irish Independent

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