What the Federal Government is doing to boost digital learning
Digitalisation is becoming ever more important in our everyday lives. The pandemic has shown just how important it is in education, for example. Whether it’s in vocational education and training, at university or in schools, the rate of digitalisation needs to be stepped up across all areas of education. The Federal Government is lending its support to this endeavour by funding various measures and programmes, including the following:
Every school must be in a position to combine in-person teaching in a classroom with e-learning at home. To be able to do that schools need good infrastructure and IT equipment. In Germany, responsibility for education rests with the federal states, but the Federal Government and the federal states regard digitalisation in schools as their joint task. That is why the Federal Government provides a large amount of funding to the federal states through the Digital Pact for Schools. It has increased its investment in the Digital Pact to 6.5 billion euros. The funding is to be used to buy the right digital devices for teachers, for example, and to expand the IT infrastructure. In addition, schools are to be able to provide disadvantaged children with digital devices. The Federal Government also provides funding towards training and financing IT administrators.
The School Cloud allows pupils and teachers to access digital teaching and learning content across schools and subjects – anytime and anywhere. It is especially during the coronavirus pandemic that it has proved to be a valuable tool when it comes to home schooling, for instance. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the Hasso Plattner Institute’s Cloud Solution. It was significantly expanded in 2020 and is now available to all interested pupils who are unable to use similar services provided by their federal state or school.
In future it will be even more important in the world of work to have learned IT and media literacy at general and vocational school. That is why the Federal Ministry of Education and Training – in cooperation with the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) – launched the Vocational Training 4.0 Initiative. The aim is to launch new measures to ensure that vocational education and training is future-proof, attractive and competitive. The Initiative supports the following measures:
- research initiative: This research initiative is looking into selected occupations with a view to digitalisation. The aim is to be able to identify, at an early stage, where the training needs of skilled workers are changing.
- : This programme contributes to modernising and strengthening vocational education and training. It supports the development and testing of new educational offers which use digital media in vocational training and continuing training, and it aims to strengthen digital media literacy in vocational education and training.
- : The Federal Ministry of Education and training supports the development and testing of tailor-made qualifications for vocational education and training staff, so that trainers are ready for the digital shift.
Digitalisation can help to make higher education even more open, more fair, more international and more effective. That is what the “Digital Higher Education” research project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, is investigating. Various research projects have been run since 2016. The third funding line is currently being used to investigate, develop and test specialist digital concepts. The aim is to drive forward new teaching and examination formats within the various disciplinary cultures.
Another important project focuses on developing a centralised National Education Platform, which was presented during the kick-off event for the Digital Education Initiative. Its aim is to network the teaching, learning and further development of skills and capabilities in all educational areas and across all educational phases. Existing educational offers are to be linked to new, digital ones. In future, each user will thus have centralised access to all the available educational offers and programmes.