Ahead of talks about schools in the Chancellery this Monday, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek called on everyone to comply with hygiene rules and thus maintain school operations in the corona pandemic. School is not an isolated event. “Because of her behavior, society has a lot of control over how school activities will go in the coming months,” the CDU politician told the German news agency.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Karliczek, SPD leader Saskia Esken and the Federal Ministers of Education discuss the situation in schools in Corona times and on further steps in the digitalization of schools. The closure of the schools in the spring revealed many shortages in this area.
Merkel called the date in her video podcast of the weekend “an important meeting”. While the responsibility for schools rests with the states, it is now a question of “doing everything together to ensure that children and young people are not the losers of the pandemic. I personally find this very important too ”.
Prior to the chancellery discussions, representatives of the federal and state governments reiterated the need to avoid school closures across the board, such as in the spring. Bavaria Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs Michael Piazolo (Free Voters) told the dpa: “The entire school family agrees that we will continue to provide classroom teaching and no longer want schools to close.”
The meeting builds on a conversation between Merkel, Esken and several country representatives in August. At the time, it was discussed, among other things, that school children should offer a cheap fixed rate for mobile Internet and that teachers in Germany should be equipped with work laptops. The 500 million euros for the service equipment is funded from the EU development program Corona. But that doesn’t exist yet. According to data from dpa, the federal and state governments may be advancing the money to speed things up.
Other topics include the connection of schools to high-speed Internet, the retraining and training of teachers and the development of national online educational content. Esken also provided free tutoring for underprivileged students at the weekend.
What was already on the way during Corona
The billion dollar “Digital Pact School” funding program (5.5 billion euros) for the construction of infrastructure in schools was increased by 500 million euros by the federal government in the aftermath of the Corona crisis. The schools can use the money to buy loan materials for students in need when distance learning takes place again. In addition, the training and financing of IT administrators is included in the digital pact financing catalog so that the technology in the schools is professionally provided. According to Karliczek, a corresponding agreement between the federal government and the states is “almost ready for signature”.
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The German Teachers’ Association and the Education and Science Union had recently discussed progress in the digitization of schools. However, there is still much room for improvement. Hesse’s culture minister Alexander Lorz (CDU) said to the DPA before the meeting: “Our problem is not the money at the moment. Our problem is actually implementation. 30 to 40,000 schools and 800,000 teachers in Germany, there is a “thick board” to drill. “Even if we have now screwed on a much larger drill and increased the number of strokes significantly, it will still take us a while to get through the board.”
Requirements of teacher associations
Talking about schools and digital equipment could only be the first step, said the deputy chairman of the German federation of trade unions, Elke Hannack, of the DPA. “We need a real Corona education freeze this fall, because the Corona crisis is affecting daycare centers, schools, vocational training, secondary education and universities.” Employees in the education system, parents, school children, students and trainees should also have their say. .
The German Association of Philologists, representing high school teachers, called for ventilation concepts for all schools in view of the likely increase in winter infections. “This ranges from the simple repair of windows that cannot be opened to mobile fans to short-term structural ventilation measures,” said Susanne Lin-Klitzing, president of the dpa. The federal government must provide appropriate financial support for this. (dpa)