“School summit” agrees on rapid acquisition of laptops

The 800.000 teachers in germany to get their promised laptops as soon as possible.

At a meeting in the chancellor’s office, chancellor angela merkel (CDU), federal education minister anja karliczek (CDU), SPD leader saskia esken and the education ministers from 14 countries agreed on appropriate steps for financing. "The federal government’s willingness to make it possible to procure the final equipment for teachers before the end of this year is to be expressly buried," said the president of the conference of education ministers (KMK) and rhineland-palatinate education minister stefanie hubig (SPD) after the meeting.

As the dpa learned from participants, the federal government wants to advance the 500 million euros budgeted for teacher equipment so that the purchase can be made more quickly. Only afterwards, as originally agreed by the grand coalition, is the financing to come from the EU’s 750 billion euro corona reconstruction fund, which the EU members had agreed upon. This fund has yet to be established.

It was also confirmed at the meeting in the chancellor’s office that the federal government will contribute 500 million euros to the costs of training and financing administrators who will take care of the technology in the schools. According to earlier statements by federal education minister anja karliczek, the corresponding agreement is already "almost ready to be signed".

According to the CDU politician, progress has been made on the subject of data flat rates for schools. Such a ten-euro flat rate was agreed upon by merkel and several state representatives at their first school meeting in august. She had spoken with some telecommunications providers, others had joined in, "so that there should be a flat rate, for all schools, a data tariff for ten euros a month," said karliczek after the meeting in the chancellor’s office. For schools in need, the fare is to be free of charge, financed from the education and participation package. Further details are not yet known.

In addition, the establishment of a nationwide education platform and so-called digital competence centers was agreed upon, in which, among other things, teachers are to receive further training for working with digital teaching aids. However, the CDU/CSU and SPD had already agreed on this at their coalition meeting at the end of august.

Criticism came from the education association. "The rough throw failed to materialize today," said chairman udo beckmann. He spoke of intentionality and lack of awareness of the necessary speed. The association, like the education and science union, had pressed not only for digital equipment but also for progress in infection control in view of the cold season, and called for uniform rules on the possible use of air filters and carbon dioxide measuring devices.

After the meeting in the chancellor’s office, KMK president hubig announced a discussion with experts on the subject of air hygiene this wednesday "in order to be able to advise on the basis of scientific expertise".

The discussions in the chancellor’s office were also influenced by the increase in the number of infections in germany and neighboring european countries. Since the start of the new school year, schools in several federal states have been temporarily closed again or classes sent to quarantine because of corona traps. "The federal government and the states are jointly determined to prevent a renewed blanket closure of schools wherever possible," government spokesman steffen seibert said after the meeting.

Schools were closed for weeks in the spring. Until the summer vacations, there was only limited operation for the most part. The deficits in the digitalization of schools had become clear. Distance learning and electronic communication only functioned to a limited extent during the school closures. Education unions had pointed out that there were no computers in some households and also complained that teachers had to use their private computers and ran the risk of violating data protection regulations if they stored sensitive school data such as grades, certificates or assessments on them.

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