Germany: Appropriate funding for ICT in educational settings still needed
Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft expresses concern regarding the gap between the allocated 5.5 billion euros announced by the federal government and the 21 billion euros required to ensure the minimum equipment of all general and vocational schools until 2024.
Insufficiently secured IT support: “the Achilles’ heel of the digital pact”
A Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft(GEW)-led study entitled “Additional needs for adequate digitalisation of VET schools in the light of the digital pact” released on 16 September shows that the planned 5.5 billion euros of the digital pact cover just under a quarter of the total needs of all schools. It explains that just for the minimum equipment of vocational schools, one billion euros per year is required. For general education schools, 15.76 billion euros will be needed over the next five years and 5.265 billion euros will be needed for vocational schools. This results in a total need of 21.025 billion euros - 15 billion euros more than what the government announced. The GEW therefore demands a strengthening of the digital pact.
“The Digital Pact funds are mathematically just enough to finance the digital minimum equipment of vocational education and training (VET) schools over the next five years. There would be no penny left for general education schools,” underlines Ansgar Klinger, GEW’s Head of Vocational Education and Training issues.
Klinger urged companies to contribute 169 million euros annually to the provision of equipment for trainees and warned that “insufficiently secured IT support could prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the digital pact”.
According to the study, a large proportion of the total information and communications technology (ICT) needs does not apply to hardware and software, but to personnel costs, such as IT support. These are ongoing expenses, as the IT infrastructure must be regularly maintained and updated.
With 180 euros per pupil per year, IT support represents by far the largest cost sector. The study shows that there is a need for 6,200 to 8,300 full-time jobs for IT professionals in VET schools serving almost 2.5 million students. However, there is a clear lack of such experts on the job market.