08.09.2022

Majority of Germans Call for Digital Skills Education from Primary School Upwards

  • eco’s Managing Director Rabe: “Digital skills are an essential success factor for Germany as a digital location”
  • eco survey shows: Around 46 per cent of respondents are in favour of promoting digital skills from primary school onwards
  • Dissatisfaction of the population on digital education is particularly high in Bavaria (25.3 per cent) and Baden-WĂŒrttemberg (28 per cent)

The new school year has started all over Germany, and in Bavaria and Baden-WĂŒrttemberg the summer holidays end this week. Digital skills are more in demand than ever in the classroom. According to a recent representative population survey by eco – Association of the Internet Industry and the market and opinion research company Civey*, 64.2 per cent of those surveyed want children to learn how to counter bullying and hatred online while they are in school. 58.7 per cent of the respondents consider safe use of the Internet and initial knowledge of data protection to be relevant. The connection between digitalisation and sustainability is seen as a relevant topic that needs to be addressed at school. About one third of the respondents are in favour of an increased focus on this connection in the curriculum.

 

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The respondents attribute particular importance to computer science as a school subject: More than three quarters (77.2 per cent) of Germans want computer science to be a compulsory subject in Germany. How children and young people are prepared for the digital world and taught computer science currently varies greatly from federal state to federal state. Up to now, computer science has only been taught as a compulsory subject from the fifth grade onwards in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In Bavaria, it is also a compulsory subject from the fifth grade upwards, but not in all types of schools. In Baden-WĂŒrttemberg, there is the “Basic Course in Media Education” from the fifth grade onwards, with computer science only being a compulsory subject from the seventh grade.

 

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For the majority of Germans, this is too late

Around 46 per cent of respondents believe that children should be introduced to using digital devices and services for play and learning between the ages of six and ten. A quarter of the respondents (24.6 per cent) would even want to have children taught digital skills between the ages of three and five.

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eco’s Managing Director Rabe: “Digital skills are an essential success factor for Germany as a digital location”

“Digitalisation will continue to decisively shape and, above all, change our society and our economy in the coming decades. Digital skills lead to innovative strength and are therefore essential success factors for the professional success of each and every individual, as well as for the digital sovereignty and competitiveness of Germany as a digital and business location,” says eco Managing Director Alexander Rabe. “We can only counteract the already glaring shortage of skilled workers – a deficit which is not only complained about by many of our member companies, but also by user industries in the ICT sector – by getting pupils excited about the topic of digitalisation as early as possible in an age-appropriate manner and by teaching them the basics of digitalisation.”

 

Digital education as a political task

Particularly during the lockdowns resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic, it became apparent that the German education system is poorly positioned in terms of digitalisation. The digital policy opinion barometer surveyed by eco together with Civey since the formation of the government in April 2022 shows that, for many Germans, the topic of digital education is also currently high on the required federal government’s political agenda. Currently, around 27.6 per cent of respondents consider digital education to be one of the most pressing political issues that the federal government must address.

In the south of Germany, the values are very high: In Bavaria (25.3 per cent) and Baden-WĂŒrttemberg (28 per cent), around a quarter of respondents think that digital education in the state needs to be improved.

*From 05.08.2022, Civey surveyed a total of 2,500 people on behalf of eco – Association of the Internet Industry. The statistical error of the overall results is 3.5%.

Download the graphics:

  • Graph 1: Do you think computer science should become a compulsory subject in German schools?
  • Graph 2: At what age should children be introduced to the use of digital devices?
  • Graph 3: Which of these topics should be addressed in the new school year?

 

Promoting Educational Equity Through Access to Digital Learning Opportunities