What is happening with the Digitalpakt#D?

Johanna Wanka
Johanna Wanka (© siehe Quellen)

In October 2016 the Minister for Education and Research, Professor Johanna Wanka (CDU) promised five billion euro from 2018 onwards to upgrade the technical infrastructure in German schools as part of her Digitalpakt#D initiative. The federal states (Länder) were required to submit sustainable concepts for digital education and teacher training. The Länder reached agreement on the key points of the digital package in June 2017 at the 358th Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK).

It is, however, still unclear whether there will be a digital agreement. The Minister did not attend the KMK in June, nor has she made any statement regarding the document outlining the key points agreed by the states, or signed it. Indeed the KMK has been requested by the Ministry for Education and Research to take down the draft document from their website [empty link].

It remains equally uncertain whether the five billion euro are even available from the federal budget or whether the money has definitely been allocated to schools. A draft budget for 2018 has since been made available by the government:
Investment in armaments and domestic security are increasing while spending on education and research is stagnating. The draft does not allocate funds for digital expansion in schools.

The Federal parliament recently gave a statement regarding the financing of DigitalPakt#D in a parliamentary communication dated 31.08.2017:
‘The Minister for Education and Research, Johanna Wanka (CDU) and the minister of education and cultural affairs of the Länder commissioned a working group at state-secretary level on 30 January 2017 tasked with producing an agreement between the federal government and the Länder which would provide support for schools to provide education for the digital world by the end of 2017. However, budgetary decisions would have to be made by the incoming government and the budget approved during the next legislative period. This was made clear by the government in their reply (18/13395) to the interpellation regarding financial planning for the digital package.’

On the 22.08.2017 the following reply (18/13395) was given to the inquiry (18/13259) posed by politicians from Bündnis 90/Die Grünen:
‘Legal, factual and financial questions require clarification at both national and state government level. The budgetary decisions lie with the succeeding government and the budget must be approved during the next legislative period.’

Whether schools, teachers and parents can now depend upon financial support for the expansion of digital infrastructure is still questionable.
It remains to be seen what results from the coalition agreements. The timetable for Digitalpakt#D will certainly be extremely tight.

Editorial staff (mm)


Photo credit: Johanna Wanka by Axel Hindemith / CC BY-SA 3.0
Information sources (German ony): Süddeutsche.de, Tagesspiegel.de, Netzpolitik.de