The German Ministry of Education and Science is passing the biggest investment in education since decades. The German state provides five billion Euro in the next 5 years for German schools to fit up their digital equipment¹. This proposal was already established in 2000 and 2009 but failed because of Germanys federal system, which dismisses the intervention of the confideration in topics of education - which is the affair of federal states.
Nevertheless, there is a business to make. And there is a big industry which is providing those digital goods. And for them this could be a big deal - one billion Euro per year is gonig to flow. So there needs to be a necessity.
According to the ICILS-study² (2013) from the IEA not even 2 % of german students have weekly access to digital facilities as notebooks, mobiles or even Wifi. This study revealed a second "Pisa-Shock" in Germany and showed that EU's most important economic player is missing to prepare its young generation for competition in the digital era of 21st century.
The necessity was born! And so there will be just a few complaints about this government-investment, like there always is. But the bill will be passed. And what could you just say when finally moneys is spend for education?
You could say that German schools not even have enough money for current books and working sheets. You could demand that not just the interior of a building is supposed to be on high level but also the building itself - which is not the case in many german schools. You could blame that German students not even eat proper meals at shool. You could argue that writing skills may be affected. At least you could be suprised that suddenly this big amount of money is spend for education. And you could wonder why all the money won't flow to the schools themselves, who could than decide on their own responsibilty what's needed. You could listen to your innerself voice, asking why just one industry will benefit from this?
I'm wondering about this. Of course students need to learn in shool digital skills and to deal with a matter that is affecting their lifes overwhelmingly. But there is one big risk I can see (and this has nothing to do with my personal indisposition according to giving all the money to big IT-companies).
The questions are: Who will provide the content for lessons with tablets? Who is gonna serve the programms which students are going to use? Trained educators and education-scientists who were payed from government for developing independent and balanced contents? I guess not! Isn't it easy to see that this is another step to loose the public accountability of education to private corporations?
Already in these days school-officers complaining about too less money in school-responsibility. Educators blaming having too little high-quality working papers. And studies show that companies are capturing theese gap in education-system for filling it with their own content³ - based on special interests. All the same, 16 of 20 DAX-enterprises are offering free school-materials - which are often well designed but biased regarding the content¹¹.
The plans of Germans Ministry of Education is ambitioned. It is a milestone for digital education in Germany. In many cases it is good when money is spend for education. That's the reason this plan is going to work out easygoing. But the plan is another step to give the future of new generations into the hands of IT-industry.
But: maybe it even could be a chance for independent groups to develope good programmes for students - it could be a possibility for Us to capture the content of new generations. This could work out and send us to a new universe of education....
But don't forget: industry starts at poleposition!
"Mr. Google? Can I go to toilet?"