EM Germany | Digitalisation in Education Must Reach Everyone
As a member of the EM Germany Executive Board, Thiemo Fojkar is particularly active in his work in the field of education. As Chair of the Internationaler Bund (IB) and the Federal Association of Vocational Training Providers, as well as President of The European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB), he is a renowned expert on European education.
Fojkar welcomes the current political initiatives to strengthen digital education, but warns: “Our attention must now be focussed on not widening any further the already existing gulf between rich and poor, and between the more and less well-educated.” Peace in Germany and Europe is a result of social justice. It is therefore imperative that digital education should reach all sections of the population. He supports the political demand of the member organisations of the EM Germany to strengthen European education at all levels and for all ages, since: “Our Europe should be a Europe for its citizens. Only those who can stand on their own feet, who can earn their own living, those who see opportunities for themselves and their family, will be the ones who value and support this Europe.”
The wording of his statement:
“We need to take a huge leap forwards in digital education,” the Education Minister Johanna Wanka said recently at the introduction of the investment programme for digital education in Germany. Germany wants to spend 5 billion Euros on the development of infrastructure and training for teachers and instructors.
There are similar initiatives in many European countries today. Our attention must now be focussed on not widening any further the already existing gulf between rich and poor, and between the more and less well-educated.
It is indisputable that digital education will play a critical role in the success of whole national economies. For those countries in Europe which are poor in natural resources – Germany among them – education is an important success factor. Only well-educated experts will be able to secure long-term prosperity in Europe. We cannot afford an education underclass. In a globalised world we are in competition worldwide too. This means that we will only succeed with highly specialised, motivated and well-educated employees.
One strength of Germany and many countries in Europe is social justice, equality of opportunity and the resulting internal peace in our countries. That is why our country can currently also withstand ‘Pegida’ marches and the electoral successes of populist parties. However, this peace must be repeatedly fought for anew. When people or whole sections of the population feel left behind by progress and education opportunities, and have the impression that growing prosperity is only there for others, then that endangers peace in our country.
We must all strive continually to prevent this from happening. We must ensure that digitalisation in education reaches everyone. Including schools in city districts with social problems and tensions. Apprentices in occupations related to rehabilitation, as well as young people and adults taking up further education opportunities. In towns and in the countryside. People born in Germany and those who have not yet lived here long. No-one should be left behind by digitalisation.
That is why as a member of the Executive Board of the European Movement Germany I am working to strengthen European education on all levels and for every age group. The largest European political network in Germany demands that we develop European educational, social and participatory opportunities for all generations and sections of the population.
I see huge opportunities for digital education with refugees in particular. Appropriate courses and approaches can be developed much more accurately and therefore lead much faster to the desired aim of integration: integration in the society which has received the refugees and integration in the employment market, which in Germany particularly relies on migrants.
Our Europe should be a Europe for its citizens. Only those who can stand on their own feet, who can earn their own living, those who see opportunities for themselves and their family, will be the ones who value and support this Europe.”
Read the statement in German here.