Digital first: Bitkom calls for more digital competence in schools and universities.

At the end of last year, the digital association Bitkom called on the Bundestag and the new federal government to grant everyone in Germany an enforceable “right to digital education” in the future. To this end, the Basic Law would have to be amended, Article 91b, Paragraph 2 would have to be adapted accordingly and the “digitisation of education” would have to be cited as a further reason for the federal and state governments to work together. On the Länder side, too, the respective constitutions would have to be adapted accordingly: Compulsory schooling should not only apply to attending a school in the sense of a school building, but also to participating in digital lessons. A right to digital education should also extend beyond compulsory schooling and apply equally at universities, in further education and in lifelong learning. According to Bitkom, the aim of the initiative is “to ensure that people, regardless of where they live, their financial means, age and abilities, can always take advantage of state-funded or co-financed education and training opportunities digitally”. There should be no compromises in the quality of the support or the content imparted. According to a representative Bitkom survey, 80% of people in Germany had recently spoken out in favour of such an enforceable legal right.

“Since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, Germany has said goodbye to equal opportunity access to school education. Whether distance learning succeeds and class groups are maintained is decided by the commitment of individual teachers and schools. But good digital education must not depend on chance,” warned Bitkom President Achim Berg. Beyond the pandemic, he said, it is important to include physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged students in the classroom just as much as young people who cannot access classrooms due to other limitations. “The use of physically handicapped teachers in school could also be made more inclusive in this way. This in turn promotes the fundamental right to free choice of profession,” said Berg. A position paper on the right to digital education can be downloaded free of charge from the Bitkom website.

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