Coronavirus pandemic: German schools lagging behind on digital learning

Coronavirus pandemic: German schools lagging behind on digital learning
Children on a laptop in Freiberg, Saxony. Photo: DPA
Schools in Germany had a harder transition to online teaching during the coronavirus crisis compared to several other countries.

That's according to a representative survey of parents in Germany, Australia, the UK, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Singapore commissioned by the technology company Citrix.

Germany came in last place compared to the other six countries, with only every tenth student (10 percent) reporting a smooth transition to online teaching during the pandemic.

But even in Singapore, the country with the best score, only 30 percent of children said they had a smooth transition to online lessons. That was followed by Australia (25 percent), Mexico and the UK (19 percent each), Canada (16 percent) and Italy with 14 percent.

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During the lockdown, pupils were forced to stay at home and lessons had to be conducted online. However, there were issues in Germany with a lack of equipment and slow digital connections.

Many schools 'not prepared'

In Germany, 50 percent of the parents surveyed said that schools had not been prepared at all. This is why distance learning was only provisionally carried out during the crisis, they said.

READ ALSO: Digital upgrade – How Germany plans cheap Internet access for all school pupils

Yet as many as 38 percent of the parents said that their children's schools had been “sufficiently prepared” because, for example, some distance learning systems were already in use.

In the survey, the parents also named the areas in which they felt there was room for improvement: at the top of the list was teacher training for distance learning (53 percent), better organisation of distance learning (48 percent) and more direct interaction with teachers via video (45 percent). However, 20 percent of parents think that online teaching is generally bad for their children.

Among the students surveyed, almost half (49 percent) are in favour of a hybrid model of classroom and online sessions, while 12 percent would like to continue their entire studies online after the corona crisis.

One Poll surveyed 3,500 parents with children aged 6 to 18 years and 3,500 university students in July and August 2020 on behalf of Citrix. The survey was conducted simultaneously in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK, Italy, Mexico and Singapore. From each country, 500 students and 500 parents took part.

Digital upgrade planned for German schools

Among the students surveyed, almost half (49 percent) are in favour of a hybrid model of classroom and online sessions. 12 percent would like to continue their entire studies online after the corona crisis.

In general, it is widely acknowledged that Germany is behind the times when it comes to broadband speed and connectivity.

Last month, German authorities drew up a plan to inject the education system with a digital upgrade.

The federal and state governments have agreed that schools should have faster WiFi connections, there must be affordable Internet access for pupils and that laptops should be available to teachers.

READ ALSO: More schools in Germany reopen to pupils – but with strict social distancing rules

Vocabulary

Online learning – (der) Online-Unterricht

Distance learning – (der) Fernunterricht

Sufficiently prepared – hinreichend vorbereitet

Room for improvement – (der)  Verbesserungsbedarf

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

 


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