One year after the digital pact for schools came into force, the federal states hardly called up anything of the 5 billion euros in the program. So far, only applications worth around 125 million euros have been approved, a survey by the News magazine Focus among all 16 ministries of culture. That corresponds to 2.5 percent of the budget.
It is planned that EUR 3.5 billion will be made available for the initiative in this legislative period and EUR 5 billion in five years.
With the digital pact, Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek (CDU) wants to drive digitization in schools and, for example, improve the equipment with computers and notebooks. According to Focus, the most interest in funding has so far been in Lower Saxony. There, the Ministry of Culture approved 740 applications with a total volume of 28 million euros. They are followed by Saxony with 156 approved applications (65.2 million euros) and Baden-Württemberg with 63 applications (seven million euros).
At the bottom of the list is Bavaria. The local ministry of culture has received 135 applications for funding, but so far none has been approved. There are many reasons for the low numbers. The Bavarian Ministry of Culture explains to the Focus that the guidelines for funding were only published on December 10, 2019. Only then could schools have submitted applications.
In other federal states, the conditions for funding are high. Every school that applies must present a media concept. That is expensive. Karliczek told Focus that it is important that quality comes before speed: “With the School Digital Pact, the common goal of the federal and state governments was and is to create sustainable infrastructure for digital teaching. Especially in the past few weeks of homeschooling, it has become clear how important well-thought-out digital learning concepts are. That is why schools have adopted media concepts to be promoted. “
Former Federal Minister of Education Johanna Wanka (CDU) had already announced in October 2016 that the federal government would use the DigitalpaktD plan to provide all 40,000 schools in Germany with fast internet access, WiFi hotspots and computers over the next five years. The federal government will provide five billion euros for this.