The education summit of the Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) was hardly supported by the education ministers of the federal states in the past week. Only two ministers were present. The industry association Bitkom is now holding an educational conference. There, Stark-Watzinger promoted innovative spirit in unison with Bitkom.
Techniques such as the artificial intelligence ChatGPT should not arouse fears in educational institutions, but rather curiosity, explained Stark-Watzinger in her welcoming address. To this end, teachers are also to be trained in the planned federal competence centers. There it is not only about the actual transfer of knowledge, but about “a new naturalness of the digital. A new culture in our schools”.
Media and digital literacy
Bitkom CEO Dr. Bernhard Rohleder welcomed the conference participants and also promoted more media and digital skills in German educational institutions. Children and young people should also be prepared for the “many trials and tribulations of published opinions on the Internet regulars” – this is part of the social resilience that is needed.
He referred to the poor results of the federal education summit and also that although around 80 percent of the funds from Digital Pact I and the Corona special programs have now been approved, only 20 percent of the total of 6.5 billion euros have actually been paid out. From Rohleder’s point of view, the hurdles for educational institutions to access funds from the pact are still too high. The federal government, the federal states, but also the economy could help better here. He also drew attention to the fact that the area of training and further education plays an important role at the in-house conference – unlike in some cases during previous debates. Vocational training and the shortage of skilled workers are important issues that should no longer be neglected.
According to Rohleder, one should not lose sight of the Digital Pact 2.0. Funds for the digital equipment and the corresponding specialists would have to be consolidated for the period after 2024. Because Digital Pact I ends in 2024. Money should flow into digital learning materials, digitally competent teachers and administrators in educational institutions – also so that schools are not soon full of electronic waste because nobody can use the technology that has been purchased.
Don’t forget education and training
He sees great future opportunities in schools or in further education for both artificial intelligence and the metaverse. Dealing with generative AI such as ChatGPT must be learned, the potential of the technology must be shown. He criticized the idea that employees could be “spun off” from actual work for up to a year for further training. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil is working on a further training law that will be discussed in the cabinet next week. Rohleder sees in-service learning as viable. Nowadays, knowledge has to be kept up-to-date at all times. It would be conceivable, for example, for employees to be given one hour a week to study within the company.
On the one hand, society must address the shortage of skilled workers – also in IT – with a better immigration policy, but on the other hand the reserve in Germany should be courted more. Working conditions would also have to be adapted more to the needs of women so that they could take up certain professions at all.
The Bitkom Education Conference 2023 will take place on March 22nd and 23rd.
How should digitization be implemented in our schools? How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting what is happening? What was achieved in the 2020/2021 school year – what happened next in 2021/2022? This is what our series of articles aims to shed light on.
How should digitization be implemented in our schools? How has it gone so far? This is what our series of articles aims to shed light on.