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The ombudswoman's book causes a stir

“Power struggle in the ministry. How party politics is destroying our schools ”is to appear on Monday in the QVV edition. In the book, Wiesinger "put her experiences on paper - a shocking conclusion that is now causing a lot of dust," wrote the "Kronen Zeitung" on Saturday evening about the content. According to the newspaper, Wiesinger complains about the "political appropriation of the teaching staff" and "message control by officials". In addition, she criticized “ignoring burning problems” and “trying to control them, Wiesinger”.

Individual book excerpts "sometimes read like an indictment", reported the "Presse am Sonntag", which, according to its own information, also has passages from the book. According to the newspaper, Wiesinger wrote in the book that she was given an “advisor from the ministry” from the start - not to support her work, but to “control me”.

"Kleine Zeitung": Ministry ended cooperation

ÖVP education minister Heinz Faßmann was “extremely irritated” about Wiesinger's approach to the “courier”. Faßmann let it be known that Wiesinger “will soon be out of her job”, according to the newspaper. The "Kleine Zeitung" reported, however, that the ministry had terminated its cooperation with Wiesinger "with immediate effect". According to the “Presse am Sonntag”, Wiesinger Faßmann had briefed Faßmann about her planned book in a “one-on-one conversation” just a few days ago. On Sunday the APA reported that the ministry had released Wiesinger. Wiesinger himself told the news agency, however, that she did not yet know anything about it.

On Saturday late afternoon - before the existence of Wiesinger's book was even publicly known - the Ministry of Education had expressed its opinion in a broadcast on the “power struggle in the Ministry”. One was "surprised and amazed", it said. "In order to be able to perform her new function independently and optimally from the ministry, she was also provided with professional, external support," the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Martin Netzer, is quoted in the broadcast.

The ministry pointed out that Wiesinger had "repeatedly" declared that "after her function as ombudswoman she wanted to return to school practice". Together with the Vienna Education Directorate, the responsible service authority for the pedagogue, "we will discuss in the next few days which function Ms. Wiesinger can and will perform in the future," the ministry continues.

"Independent, independent and free of instructions"

Wiesinger took up her position as ombudswoman in February 2019. She should “take stock of social and cultural school conflicts” across Austria, the ministry said at its presentation in December 2018. The educator would be “independent, independent and free of instructions”, explained Education Minister Faßmann at the time.

A "first report" by Wiesinger - which described itself as a "red, even a left-wing red" during its presentation and was a former staff representative in the parliamentary group of social democratic trade unionists - should have been available "in the next few weeks", according to the "Presse am Sonntag" . According to the newspaper, this should no longer be published.

Compared to the “Presse am Sonntag”, Faßmann described the book as “missing the topic”. Only the first part is about the processes in the education department. In the rest of the book, Wiesinger describes what she heard on her listening tour through Austria's schools - the report is thus probably superfluous.

Criticism from FPÖ, SPÖ and NEOS

The FPÖ criticized Wiesinger's dismissal, which was reported in the media, as an “attempt to silence critical voices”. "ÖVP Minister Faßmann apparently punished Susanne Wiesinger for having written down her opinion," said FPÖ club chairman Herbert Kickl in a broadcast. FPÖ party leader Norbert Hofer asked Faßmann to reconsider the decision regarding Wiesinger.

The SPÖ saw the rumored dismissal of Wiesinger as a "direct effect of the Message Control of the Kurz system". "There is a lot to be done in schools, especially in those where the challenges are great. The only way to go is to take the teachers' problems seriously. Party-political message control is completely out of place here," said SPÖ education spokeswoman Sonja Hammerschmid.

NEOS education spokeswoman Martina Künsberg Sarre announced a parliamentary question. Wiesinger had been commissioned to draw up an independent report on the situation at Austrian schools. “The ÖVP obviously wanted to prevent that from the start. Rather, Wiesinger's work, as she writes, should only underpin the political positions of the People's Party, ”continued Künsberg Sarre. The fact that Wiesinger is now "discredited" and "put in front of the door" is unacceptable.