The federal and state governments agree on the Digital Pact - Education

  • Actually, the digital equipment of schools should start in January 2019.
  • The schedule failed because of resistance from some federal states.
  • Late on Wednesday evening, all parties except the AfD voted in favor of the agreement.

From Cerstin Gammelin, Berlin

The federal and state governments have agreed on a compromise on the digital pact for the schools. Late on Wednesday evening, all parties except the AfD voted in favor of the agreement. Thus, the project agreed in the coalition agreement to financially support schools in the provision of WLAN, electronic boards and digital learning programs, before the implementation. The Bundestag will decide on this Thursday, and the Bundesrat on 15 March. The approval of both houses is considered safe, as they were involved in the complicated and lengthy negotiations.

All sides were satisfied. "The school door is no longer a stop sign for federal investment promotion," said Union Fraction vice Andreas Jung. Carsten Schneider, parliamentary director of the SPD parliamentary group, praised the "digitization push".

It is agreed that the federal government will transfer five billion euros to the federal states and municipalities in order to promote the digital infrastructure. It finances Internet connections and digital learning devices such as laptops. The fast Internet in schools should help to convey learning content digitally. Because many teachers are so far hardly trained, system administrators should help with the introduction of the digital infrastructure. The targeted qualification of teachers is also promoted.

Actually, the digital equipment of schools should start in January 2019. The schedule failed because of resistance from some federal states. Baden-Wuerttemberg expressed fundamental concerns, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann had feared that the federal government would use the digital pact directly to steer the school policy of the federal states. Four Union-led federal states initially supported the Greens. They also complained about the control rights demanded by the federal government over the use of the funds.

It is now agreed that the Confederation may promote the expansion of the municipal education infrastructure in all municipalities – not just in financially weak communities. Condition is that the money increases their "performance", but does not serve the "promotion of quality and performance of education". The Confederation thus allows countries to ensure that education policy remains sovereign. "The federal government is not the better schoolmaster and does not want to be," said Union Fraction vice Jung. It is further agreed that federal funds will be provided in addition to federal funds. This means that the federal government is always only co-financiers. At the same time, the Confederation largely waives its control rights. Instead of checking documents in provincial authorities, he may only request files "on an ad hoc basis".

The federal and state governments have agreed to supplement the constitutional changes necessary for the implementation of the Digital Pact, including those to finance more social housing and public transport. Here, the federal government wants to contribute by 2021 seven billion euros.

School technology will never replace teachers

Technology will never replace teachers

The use of digital teaching aids in schools makes sense – but overloaded with excessive expectations. Without good teachers it will not work in the future.Comment by Paul Munzinger


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