Digital pact: Everything just infrastructure
The digital pact is coming. Finally! But the word quality has disappeared in the compromise, which makes the pact worse.
What a salvation. After the disaster at the end of last year, the federal and state governments quickly reconciled themselves: the schools receive WLAN, laptops and learning programs. The digital pact can finally start, but the federal government spends five billion euros. And the planned change in the constitution also comes, despite the great grumble, that it would go without this intervention. After the necessary confirmation of the pact in parliament, the federal government can finance education without complicated special constructions. And he can be informed by the countries, whether the money also comes in the schools. That has not always been the case.
All in all, the compromise will work - even if more honesty would have been needed. Because it makes sense that the federal government not only contributes to the technical infrastructure, but also to the quality of school education. But obviously nobody should say that out loud.
What is the agreement in detail? The one part of the dispute was embarrassing and easy to settle. For all future joint projects, countries should always pay the same amount that the federal government gives - an absurd idea. If poorer countries would have to give up much-needed assistance if they can not pay. Now the contribution of the countries for each project is agreed individually. In addition, they must not cut their own funds.
No single school policy in sight
The second part of the dispute is trickier. School education is a matter of the state and some federal states do not want the federal government to influence the content at any price. Although surveys show that many people in Germany would be that school systems and Abitur grades would be comparable.Dabei it was not about the unity school. It was by no means that every teacher - whether in the village school in the Saarland or in the focal point school in Berlin-Neukölln - must use the same methods. But for quality.
The original version of the bill was passed by the Bundestag in November, but the Federal Council rejected the idea that the quality of education should be secured by federal money. But with the influence on the quality of the federal government might be able to interfere with the content and standards of schools.
The word quality has now disappeared from the pact. But the pact would be better if it stayed in place.
To understand this, one has to go further: Officially, the federal money may only be used for the "efficiency of the municipal educational infrastructure". The infrastructure will of course make schools better. Because if there is no Wi-Fi and the old computers constantly fail, then a teacher can not show a live video from the net.
The compromise between the federal government and the federal states even stipulates that, in certain circumstances, temporary staff of the schools may be paid - this was previously considered a taboo. A paid system administrator, for example, would be a great relief for some schools, where a math teacher or a physics teacher currently has to ensure the care of the devices incidentally.
It may even be possible to finance further education for teachers with funds from the federal government. Wonderful, because training is an important key to the success of digital education. Some schools already have Wi-Fi and whiteboards. But teachers often only use them like a fancier overhead projector or a complicated DVD player.
Digital education needs a media concept
Digital education does not happen simply because the devices are there. Teachers must also be able to assess when and how to use them. Which games, apps or videos motivate and encourage their own students - and which ones make them more likely to go away or overwhelm them? They need to understand the filter bubbles in which their students hang around to talk about it. You need to know child-friendly programs to teach the basics of programming. So you have to spend a lot of time getting training and trying things out. And best of all, each school should develop their own media concept for their students before purchasing equipment.
Strange is only: Why is the word quality dropped away, if over the detour quality assurance but back into it, just not consistent? Why does a system administrator fall under infrastructure, but not a computer science teacher? The students can not care, as long as in practice the right thing for them. It would be better, however, if reliable training, media concepts and quality standards were part of the package.
The weaknesses of the achieved compromise become even clearer if one asks for continuity: A system administrator who has been hired for a limited period of time is quickly gone, and in the cloud outdated learning videos soon dangle away. Training also needs to be regular in the digital world, even when the five billion euros are used up.
And that will quickly be the case. The necessary continuous support of the federal government could demand the schools much better, even if it promised quality in the Basic Law. Then, perhaps the federal government could co-finance even evaluated prevention programs against mobbing for all schools or support programs for children from disadvantaged families.