Digital skills are crucial for our future

The Corona Crisis has brought digitalisation in education into focus afresh, as schools and colleges have had to make an abrupt shift to online learning. Digital skills are increasingly in demand in the professional and working world. For employees, continuing education is crucial to keep up with the momentum.

Teaching digital literacy
Today, digital education is part of general education. It helps to classify, evaluate and use information in a self-determined way. Pupils must learn with and about digital media from the very beginning and in all subjects. Every young person should develop a basic understanding of . Teachers must further develop their own digital competences in order to be able to use digital media, create content and teach how to use it.
Implement DigitalPakt Schule quickly
The funds of the DigitalPakt Schule have hardly been used so far. There is an urgent need for schools to be equipped with IT infrastructure, resilient networks and IT support, and for learning programmes and platforms to be available. The Länder must provide their teachers with better and more targeted training for digital learning than has been the case to date. They should also have more opportunities to develop themselves through exchange.
Arouse interest in computer science
Beyond basic information technology education, computer science should be offered as an elective or profile subject at all secondary schools. Enthusiasm for the digital possibilities should be awakened without stereotypes, also with regard to the career and study orientation of young people. The Länder must recruit or train more teachers for computer science.
Training with a digitalization perspective
In the case of industrial-technical, commercial and service-related vocational training, the reorientation towards an increased process and digitalisation perspective must be examined and, if necessary, implemented in a job-related manner. For skilled workers in industry, other competences are gaining in importance in addition to traditional tasks, such as mastering systems with decentralised intelligence, handling and analysing data or ensuring trouble-free plant operation. For occupational areas that have so far been "analogue", it is necessary to create targeted opportunities for additional technical qualifications or qualification modules for digitalisation.
Flexible further training
All employees, regardless of industry, activity or hierarchical level, have to deal with changed work processes and new technologies and tasks at ever shorter intervals. Acquiring and developing digital skills is becoming a prerequisite for employability. Companies and employees have recognized this: Almost 80 percent of employees see the need to develop their skills. Every year, companies invest 33.5 billion euros in the further training of their employees. Particularly effective and growing are practical and workplace-oriented "training on the job" formats as well as digitally supported flexible continuing education offerings that fit the needs of companies and their employees.
Firmly anchoring digital education at the university
E-learning elements must be used in every degree programme; digitalisation must also be anchored as a subject of teaching in every degree programme. Digital competences are becoming important for students in all disciplines and must be integrated into the curriculum. Teachers at universities need the necessary technical and didactic know-how and targeted further training for this. This also applies to the . Universities should also rapidly expand their offerings of continuing education on digitalisation, especially in view of the high demand from companies and employees.

Enquete Commission "Vocational Training in the Digital World of Work" of the German Bundestag

The commission of enquiry is to investigate where and how vocational education and training needs to be adapted to the requirements of the digital world of work and to what extent the strengths of the system can be further developed and possible barriers to access can be removed. The aim is to draw up constructive and practical recommendations for improving the framework conditions for vocational education and training in the digital world, taking into account the concerns of industry and in particular training companies. The BDA is involved in the monthly plenum and in two of the seven project groups.

PDFs and links on the topic

Facts and figures

  • Only 23.3 percent of teachers of eighth graders use digital media in the classroom on a daily basis. Germany is well below the international average of 47.9 percent (source: ICILS 2018).
  • 69 percent of teachers stated in the school closures that the greatest need for improvement was in their own digital skills (source: German School Barometer April 2020).

9. November 2020

Education 4.0