State student council against cancellation of lessons: katholikentag prevents education

There is protest against the Katholikentag, which begins on Wednesday. Students complain that they are missing out on classes because Catholics are staying overnight in schools.

Napping: Pope Francis does not sleep in a school Photo: dpa

Saxony’s state student council has criticized the closure of more than 30 schools because of the 100th German Catholic Day in Leipzig. Because classrooms were being used for overnight stays, thousands of students were now without classrooms, representatives of the state student council said Wednesday in Leipzig. While some final exams were still pending, "a religious event" was apparently "more important than the future of Leipzig’s students."

Although alternative forms of instruction were supposed to be found in the course of the school closures, so that there would be no de facto cancellation, the student representatives explained further. However, this was not organized in a uniform manner. In the end, there would be independently financed project days at some schools, but only "homework days" at others.

The 100th German Catholic Day will open on Wednesday evening with a festival on the Leipzig market. At least 30,000 guests are expected in the city by Sunday. Organizers have acquired about 10,000 free sleeping spaces for visitors and volunteers, much of it in Leipzig schools.

The Christian meeting is state-subsidized: The city of Leipzig gave one million euros, the Free State of Saxony three million and the federal government half a million. Criticism came from the Left, the Pirates and a humanist foundation. While Leipzig’s city council ultimately granted the million after tough discussions, Munster, where the next Katholikentag is to be held in 2018, is doing things differently. There, the city council rejected the million-euro grant.

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