Education: Flat rate tariff planned for students and teachers’ laptops

Due to the corona pandemic, the federal and state governments are planning a further 500 million euro package to accelerate digitization in education. At a meeting in the Chancellery on Thursday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), SPD leader Saskia Esken, Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) and the education ministers of several federal states agreed on appropriate steps, but concrete decisions still have to be made.

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In principle it was agreed that teachers with “digital devices”, so for example laptops should be equipped. According to Esken, the 500 million euros are intended for this. With around 820,000 teachers at general education and vocational schools (Federal Statistical Office), that would be around 600 euros per device, i.e. rather devices of the lower middle class. Hesse’s Minister of Culture, Alexander Lorz (CDU), who was present at the meeting with Chancellor Merkel, told the German Press Agency on Friday that the voting process was now beginning on the subject of business laptops. He expects that by the end of the year “signed and sealed” be.

Some federal states themselves had previously announced similar initiatives to improve digital education, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, which wants to equip all teachers and all pupils in need with laptops. Several hundred servers have been approved in Berlin. The broadband connection of schools is also to be improved. The federal and state governments now apparently want to tackle this more closely together.

Telecom flat rate education

Deutsche Telekom wants to offer schoolchildren an internet tariff with a 10 euro flat rate for digital learning. A telecommunications spokesman said on Friday in Bonn that it is about a mobile tariff exclusively with data usage, but also with unlimited volume. The tariff should only be used for educational content. “You can’t watch Netflix with it.” The schools and school authorities should decide who should be able to use this offer.

However, details on how the limitation to educational content should be technically enforced and what exactly the company understands by this is not clear. So Netflix has long allowedto use some selected documentation explicitly for use in the classroom. So that they can be seen without a Netflix account even during the Corona crisis, are these on Youtube.

Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) said on Friday that she had written to telecommunications providers and asked for low tariffs for schoolchildren whose parents had not yet been able to pay for a network connection. The feedback from the companies is positive. According to the Hessian minister of education, Alexander Lorz, Chancellor Angela Merkel (both CDU) announced at the federal-state consultations that Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges had promised her the 10-euro flat rate.

The tariff with the education flat rate should be available at the end of the summer holidays in Germany, the Telekom spokesman said. Baden-Württemberg is the last federal state to end the summer holidays in mid-September. In some countries, however, the new school year has already started.

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