Germany’s 800,000 teachers should get their promised work laptops as soon as possible. At a meeting in the Chancellery on Monday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU), SPD leader Saskia Esken and education ministers from 14 countries agreed to take appropriate measures towards funding.
“The willingness of the federal government to allow the procurement of terminal equipment for teachers this year is particularly welcome,” said Stefanie Hubig (SPD), the chair of the Conference of Ministers of Education (KMK) and the Education Minister of Education. Rhineland-Palatinate, Stefanie Hubig (SPD).
As the German news agency has learned from the participants, the federal government wants to advance the estimated 500 million euros for the teacher equipment, so that the purchase will be faster. As originally agreed by the Grand Coalition, funding will only come later from the EU’s € 750 billion Corona Reconstruction Fund, with which EU members had agreed. This fund has yet to be built up.
[Wenn Sie aktuelle Nachrichten live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere runderneuerte App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
The meeting in the Chancellery also confirmed that the federal government is willing to contribute 500 million euros to the costs of training and financing administrators who would have to provide the technology in the schools. According to earlier information from Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek, the accompanying agreement is already “almost ready for signature”.
According to the CDU politician, there is progress on data flat rates for students. Merkel and some representatives of a country agreed on such a flat rate of ten euros at their first school meeting in August. She spoke to a number of telecom providers, others had joined, “so that there would be a flat rate for all students, a data rate of ten euros per month,” Karliczek said after the meeting in the chancery. The rate must be free for students in need, financed from the education and participation package. Further details are not yet known.
In addition, it has been agreed that there will be a nationwide educational platform and so-called digital competence centers, in which teachers, among other things, will be trained to work with digital teaching materials. The Union and the SPD had already reached agreement on this during their coalition meeting at the end of August.
Critics speak of statements of intent
Criticism came from the education and training association. “The big hit didn’t come out today,” said Chairman Udo Beckmann. He spoke of declarations of intent and a lack of awareness of the necessary speed. The association, like the education and science union, had pushed not only for the issue of digital equipment, but also for progress in infection control in view of the cold season and demanded unified rules for the possible use of air filters and carbon dioxide meters.
After the meeting in the chancery, KMK chairman Hubig announced on Wednesday a meeting with experts in the field of ventilation hygiene, “to be able to advise on the basis of scientific expertise”.
Chancellery deliberations were also affected by the increased number of infections in Germany and neighboring European countries. In several states, schools have been temporarily closed again since the start of the new school year or classes have been quarantined due to corona cases. “The federal and state governments are jointly committed to, if possible, preventing the schools from being closed again across the board,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert after the meeting.
In the spring, schools were closed for weeks. After that there was usually only limited use until the summer holidays. The shortages in the digitization of schools became clear. Distance learning and electronic communications worked only to a limited extent during school closures.
Teaching unions had pointed out that there are no computers in some households and also complained that teachers must use their private computers and risk violating data protection rules if they store sensitive student data such as grades, certificates or assessments on them. (dpa)