In order to advance digitization in schools in Germany and, in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in principle to enable more e-learning with distance learning, teachers are also to be equipped with work computers such as laptops at state expense. Around 500 million euros are planned for this. This corresponds to the amount that the grand coalition has already made available through the economic stimulus package to equip needy schoolchildren with loan equipment such as tablets or notebooks.
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“Informal” meeting with the Chancellor
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (both CDU) and SPD chairwoman Saskia Esken agreed on this initiative on Thursday at an “informal exchange about the challenges of the school system” in times of the Corona, at which the ministers of education from Bavaria, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein were involved.
Following the conversation in the Chancellery, a spokesman for the federal government stated that Merkel wanted to continue the conversation with all the heads of department responsible for the schools as soon as possible and thus achieve a formal resolution. Participating representatives from the SPD and from the Free Voters rate the results achieved as good and were confident that a joint solution could also be achieved in a larger group.
Professional email address for teachers
With around 820,000 teachers at general education and vocational schools, which is shown by the Federal Statistical Office, in view of the prospect of another half billion, around 600 euros per device as well as additionally required software and potential service would be available. Big leaps in equipment would not be possible. Consultants estimate that the pot can actually only cover ten percent of the acquisition and maintenance costs.
In order to be able to teach digitally, the teachers would of course also have to be equipped with the necessary technology, emphasized Karliczek on Friday. In addition to computers, the educators also need a business email address. The federal government wants to continue talking to the federal states, which are essentially responsible for school education, about how it can support them here.
The participants at the small school summit also agreed, “to connect all schools as quickly as possible to the fast Internet in the required manner”. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung should the countries to the Chancellery submit a list of all schoolsat which a transfer rate of less than 1 Mbit / s per student can be achieved. The level of information about the Internet supply of the training centers is shockingly bad so far.
The coalition round also wants to provide schoolchildren with “affordable access” to the network at home. Deutsche Telekom has already announced a corresponding offer for an educational flat rate with a mobile tariff of ten euros per month.
“We want to give a boost now,” said SPD leader Esken on Friday. She wrote on Twitter: “The new school year must not be a lost, corona school year!” There is an obligation to offer all children and young people reliably good and fair educational opportunities “and at the same time to limit contacts to contain the risk of infection”.
Praise and criticism
Udo Beckmann from the Association for Education and Upbringing (VBE) described the planned grants for schoolchildren for an affordable Internet as a milestone. The German Association of Philologists praised the service laptop clause on behalf of the grammar school teachers, because it was finally possible to learn from “desk to desk”.
FDP parliamentary group vice Katja Suding complained that the announced measures were too short and that loose declarations of intent without a concrete timetable were not enough. Five billion euros would already be available through the digital pact, but this would not reach the schools because of bureaucratic hurdles. The parliamentary managing director of the parliamentary group Die Linke, Jan Korte, described the results as “all along the line” disappointing. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) is spending the non-binding prospect of 500 million euros “for six fighter jets”.