Berlin The spokeswoman for the Greens parliamentary group for digital infrastructure, Tabea Roessner, called for laptop donations for needy students. The background is the concern that certain students could be left behind if there are no devices such as laptops, PCs or tablets at home.
“Just as I will donate my old laptop, I call on companies and private individuals to donate their old laptops as well and thus make a contribution,” Roessner told Handelsblatt.
Many companies, as well as private individuals, still have old devices that they no longer use. The Green politician recalled that there are already numerous non-profit associations that accept donated old devices, delete data professionally and then distribute the devices to those in need.
Rößner takes a critical view of the “instant equipment program” for schools recently announced by the grand coalition. The sum of over half a billion euros is to be used for the creation of online courses. In addition, needy students should receive a grant of 150 euros for the purchase of a laptop or other device for teaching at home.
From Rössner’s point of view, the laptop subsidy is not enough. “Due to the greatly increased demand for laptops for the home office, it is currently not only taking longer for laptops to be in stores, but the price has also risen – especially for inexpensive devices,” said the Green politician. There is also not an internet connection in all families, which also costs money. “We should therefore discuss whether the grant can also be used for a connection,” says Rößner.
The amount of the subsidy is criticized
Education experts and teachers’ associations had warned since school closings began that certain students could be left behind without the necessary technical equipment. There is also criticism of the amount of the planned laptop subsidy.
It is utter mockery to assume that parents and young people who could not afford to buy a digital device up to now could do so with 150 euros, said the chairman of the Association for Education and Training (VBE), Udo Beckmann. Similar criticism came from the Education and Science Union (GEW).
Although teaching is gradually being resumed in schools, a normal day-to-day school life with all students is unlikely for months to come, due to strict distance and hygiene rules.
The Greens politician Rößner warned: “The crisis threatens to widen the gap between the digitally dependent and the digitally well-equipped people in this country even faster.” While companies, federal ministries and administration are currently procuring thousands of laptops for their employees Many families would be left behind to be able to equip them in the home office. Especially those who are affected by short-time work or unemployment due to the crisis. This would “just now have no money left to purchase equipment for children’s digital lessons”.
To make matters worse, the federal states themselves are responsible for school policy in Germany. The federal government cannot therefore alone decide on the distribution of aid. In discussions with the federal states, it still has to be clarified which pupils should be entitled to the 150 euros and when and how the money will be spent.
The majority of teachers do not use new digital formats
Regardless, digitization in schools doesn’t seem to be doing very well. At least this is what a Forsa survey on behalf of the Robert Bosch Stiftung suggests. According to this, most teachers mainly focus on classic working materials instead of new digital formats during school closings. The vast majority of teachers from elementary school (79 percent) to high school (90 percent) said they used exercise sheets.
In comparison, video, audio or writing conferences were only used by a small number of teachers. A little more popular are explanatory videos that were used by every third teacher. Most teachers (69 percent) see a need for improvement in themselves when it comes to dealing with digital learning formats. Almost as many (64 percent) believe that their school needs better technical equipment.
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