- eco survey on the start of school after the German summer holidays still shows clear deficits in digital education
- The German federal government’s “DigitalPakt Schule” (Digital Pact for Schools) must now be finalised as soon as possible
- 58.1 per cent of Germans would like teachers to have more digital skills
- eco Association calls for comprehensive teaching of IT skills and basic computer sciences
There is a lot of room for improvement in the teaching of digital skills in German schools: 88.1 per cent of Germans would like to see better digital education in schools, but a breakthrough is not to be expected with the start of the new school year 2023/2024. The “DigitalPakt Schule” (Digital Pact for Schools), which expires in May 2024, has not yet received any follow-up funding in the current budget of the German federal government, despite contrary commitments made by the “traffic light” government in its coalition agreement.
However, a representative survey of 2,513 Germans conducted by the market and opinion research institute Civey on behalf of the eco Association clearly shows that the majority of Germans (58.1 per cent) would like teachers to be given more digital skills. Every second German (50 per cent) wants better technical equipment. 37.8 per cent want computer science to be a compulsory subject.
“Germany can simply no longer afford to rely on luck and chance or the commitment of individual teachers and schools to determine whether or not students in Germany are properly taught digital skills,” says eco’s Managing Director Alexander Rabe. In fact, many schools still lack the necessary digital infrastructure, such as broadband access and WiFi. The technical equipment with end devices and the corresponding know-how also leaves much to be desired in many places. “We need to have regular further training for teachers in the use of digital technologies and in the conception of didactic concepts for digital education. There is also a need to establish reliable learning platforms in order to ensure participation and involvement in digital education nationwide,” Rabe goes on to say.
Access to digital education is a prerequisite for successful digitalisation and innovative capacity
The eco – Association of the Internet Industry calls on the German federal and state governments to act now. The education of children and teenagers must include the basics of programming as well as dealing with the meaning and function of algorithms and data literacy. Computer science must become a compulsory subject in the curricula of all general education schools. In addition, didactic concepts of computer science and digital education must be introduced in schools throughout Germany, so that there will be a future guarantee of responsible and ethically justifiable decisions in dealing with digital technologies and applications.
“Moving into the future, digital education is the central task for ensuring that we can sovereignly shape the digital transformation of the economy and society. Access to digital education at all levels of the education system and during all phases of the educational pathway is a fundamental prerequisite for the successful digitalisation of the world of work and, ultimately, Germany’s competitiveness,” adds Rabe. “In order to secure the innovative strength of the German economy and the provision of suitable skilled workers in the long term, it is not only necessary to teach IT skills and the basics of computer science nationwide, but also to place decision-making capacity and problem-solving skills in the focus of education policy efforts, thus also ensuring greater educational equity.”