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teacher shortage? German students complain about a completely different problem

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teacher shortage?  German students complain about a completely different problem

Schools in Germany are facing many challenges at the start of the new school year. The biggest: wireless internet. At least that is the opinion of those affected. 87 percent of students in secondary schools see poor or non-existent Wi-Fi as the biggest problem. Only then do six out of ten students name the teacher shortage. This is the result of a representative survey of 504 students between the ages of 14 and 19 by the Bitkom digital association.

The students have noticed a lot of other problems at their schools: every second student is bothered by the way the students interact with each other. Almost as many moan about missed classes. One in five complains about a broken school building. Also unflattering: A good third of them suffer – from their own point of view – from incompetent teachers.

In the eyes of the young people, digitization, the status of which was surveyed, seems to work small miracles: three out of four schoolchildren are more motivated by the use of digital educational media. More than half even assume that learning with digital educational media will give them better school grades. But there are also those who refuse: 13 percent say they don’t want to learn with digital media.

“The interest of the students in digital education is there and it is high,” says Bitkom President Ralf Wintergerst. This open-minded attitude is a huge opportunity for the modernization of Germany’s schools. “Now the schools, supported by the federal and state governments, also have to deliver.”

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At least the digital equipment of the schools seems to have progressed to some extent: 71 percent of the students experience classes in which smart boards and digital whiteboards are used from time to time. Two thirds report that tablets are used, and laptops are used in just over half of the cases.

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Source: Infographic WORLD

Although almost every student has a smartphone, it is only used in the classroom in just over a third of the cases. What the parents were confronted with when they were at school is now the exception. Only a fifth of the students experience the use of an overhead projector or television in class. Only seven percent of students see video recorders in class.

If something breaks on the digital devices, a teacher has to solve the problem in almost three quarters of the cases. In only five percent of the cases is there professional tech support at the school, i.e. an IT specialist who does not have to teach at the same time.

Source: Infographic WORLD

After all, three quarters of the students get a notebook or tablet from the school. However, more than 60 percent of the students feel that the selection of digital educational media is too small and outdated. Two thirds of them therefore demand better technical equipment at their school.

If digital media are available, the young people are not always satisfied with their use. Four out of ten claim that teachers do not know how to use the media in a meaningful way in the classroom.

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According to the students, media competence is still taught. Three quarters of the students say that at least knowledge about using the internet for research is taught. Two thirds report that correct behavior on social media, such as dealing with hate speech, is a topic in class. Data protection and the protection of privacy are also discussed in significantly more than half of the cases.

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Apparently, the interest of the students goes beyond that. According to their own statements, 54 percent take or took part in computer science classes. Only a good one in four is not interested in it at all. Almost 20 percent do not have the opportunity to do so at their school. Two-thirds of the students think computer science as a compulsory subject in grades 5 to 10 is a good idea.

Last March, Bitkom asked the parents about this issue, who advocate for it even more clearly than their children. According to this, 83 percent of the parents wanted computer science to be a compulsory subject from the fifth grade.

“The students must be systematically introduced to computer science and digital topics and acquire their own skills there,” says Bitkom President Wintergerst. “It is the task of the schools to equip them with relevant knowledge and skills as best they can on their way into the digital world.”

Source: Infographic WORLD

When asked about the design of the school in 2030, almost a quarter believe that pupils will then be free to choose whether they want to participate in class face-to-face or digitally. And eight percent expect robots to be used to support teachers in the classroom. 28 percent even assume that there will no longer be any traditional school subjects.

Digitization in schools is currently largely financed by the federal government from the digital pact for schools. The program has been running since 2019 and has a volume of five billion euros, of which, according to Bitkom, four billion euros have been applied for and approved, but only one billion euros has been spent.

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The school digital pact expires next year

In 2020, the funding amount was increased by 1.5 billion euros. Of this, 500 million euros each should flow into the purchase of devices for needy students and teachers and 500 million euros into school administrators. While the device budget was almost completely used according to Bitkom, it was only a tenth for school administrators.

The school digital pact will expire next May, and follow-up financing has not yet been included in the budget. “The digital pact 2.0 must be decided as soon as possible by the federal and state governments,” demands Bitkom President Wintergerst. The digital association proposes expanding the funding framework and planning at least one billion euros per year until 2030 or longer.

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