Digital Pact: Germany on the way to the “unitary state”?


Germany’s schools should finally be digital. To do this, the Federal government and the country to change the basic law. The cups federalism, say critics. A majority of Germans, however, wants exactly that.

Actually, should now raise a storm in front of the students of class 9. Geography teacher Christina Müller has selected on your Smartboard, digital panel on the front of the classroom, a Video from the archive of the International space station ISS. Subject: natural events. But first, it is fashionable to Wait. “This will be on Wi-Fi,” says Müller, and uses the time to their students to query about cloud formations. As the Video runs, finally, leads you smoothly to the natural event of a hurricane.

Geography with smart Board: the class 9 and the natural event of hurricane

The Gymnasium, all the street in Siegburg in the Rhineland is a flagship school. On the walls in the stairwell, the space is hardly enough for the many awards. Recently the school was honored as a MINT-friendly school, as a school, is doing in the area of mathematics, Informatics, natural science and technology. And still not stutter-free Internet? 2019, in Germany, where the tax revenues, such as effervescent tablets? Yes, the Wi-Fi reach, unfortunately, not always all the corners of the winding of a listed school building from the 1960s, confirmed headmistress Sabine Trautwein. “Because we are not equipped, unfortunately, still very good. This of course leads to resentment.”

The digital Pact

Blame it on federalism, some say. Education is according to the Constitution, a matter for the Länder, since the Federal government can’t buy just technique, not only because he has just enough money left. “Ban on cooperation” is the name of the learning under constitutional law. “We would have to come instead, to a cooperative bid”, says Yvonne Gebauer, Minister of education of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). “Of course we want to get the cultural sovereignty of the countries, but education is a whole-of-government task and that is why we need the funds from the Federal government,” the politician, of the liberal FDP in an interview with DW.

Yvonne Gebauer is since 2017, the Minister for school education of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia

15. March, you should come to this goal a bit closer. Then – the Bundestag has already approved the Federal Council, the representation of the 16 Federal States, change, after a long discussion, the basic law. And therefore clear the way for the so-called “digital Pact”, with which the Federal government supports the schools for five years, with five billion euros.

Berlin mixes

Also, the high school, all the street in Siegburg can expect money for fast Internet, more Smartboards, Laptops, and maybe even staff that takes care of the technology. “It must not go only to the Equipment,” says school Director Sabine Trautwein. “It is an added value for the students. And therefore is linked to the funds of the Digitalpakts that each school must have a media concept.” This concept Trautwein and your College are currently working on this as quickly as possible, Federal funds can be used. 500 euros per student are provided.

For constitutional law experts Hans-Jürgen papier, and from 2002 to 2010, President of the Federal constitutional court, is charged to this money, however, with a mortgage. The amendment to the basic law “a further step in the direction of a gradual Erosion of the Federal rule of law is,” says the paper in an interview with DW. “And the state of the rule of law, is one of the so-called eternal constitutional principles in Germany.”

Administration Province Of North Rhine-Westphalia?

In the basic law is, in fact, determined to be irreversible, that Germany is a Federal state and not a centralised Republic. Education is considered to be the core of the statehood of the Länder. The state’s lawyers feared “that makes you step by step from the state of the Federal Republic of Germany is de facto a unitary state.” The States would then “I said casually to the administration of the provinces,” says the paper.

Hans-Jürgen papier was from 2002 to 2010, President of the Federal constitutional court

This would be a break with the Federal Tradition in this country. Up to 1871, consisted of Germany of many small States. Even with the founding of the Empire, they remained in the issues of cultural and educational policy independently. All of that changed when the national socialists centralized the German state from 1933 violently. After the war, the West gave the allies the fathers and mothers of the basic law, therefore, a clear mandate to create a state of “Federal type”.

The Federation and the Länder – wrapped tight

In the Bundesrat of the Federal Republic of Germany met since the founding 70 years ago, the self-conscious countries, which were by the Federal government can dictate. Since then, the Constitution was reformed again and again. The Federal government and the Länder have intertwined their responsibilities in a highly complex braid hairstyle. It is dependent on each other, decides a lot in common. With the digital Pact will now be linked to another node.

To be digital: the high school victory castle street

The result is that the responsibility for policy grievances is clear, writes the paper. “The countries can now say that the failures of the school due to the fact that you have to get a little money from the Federal government.” Conversely, the Federal government could claim that the country would not have spent the money properly. “Anyone can push basically, the responsibility to the other level. And the citizen can exercise his political right to vote, no real sanctions.”

The next round of Negotiations is waiting

It comes after the NRW-Minister of education, Yvonne Gebauer, then this path should be pursued. “The area of digitisation is very fast-paced because we will be with the devices of today, tomorrow may already be Museum ready”, said the FDP politician. “The one billion Euro for North Rhine-Westphalia, is a start-up funding, but we have to make, of course, a permanent financing through the Federal thoughts, and in the negotiations.” The majority of the citizens is likely to have a Gebauer on your page. According to surveys, more than 50 percent of Germans would be even in favour of the Federal government equal to the whole of the control for education and schools, constitutional or not.

For the students and teachers of the gymnasium, all the street in Siegburg, these issues are gone so far. For you it comes, to the classroom as quickly as possible so digital as it is your everyday life a long time ago. In the meantime, the geography teacher, Christina Müller on the Smartphones that carry all of their ninth graders in the backpack. In the next lesson you want to talk more about natural disasters. The student should download a geography App on your phone. Thanks to the cell phone network, they could learn regardless of the School Wi-Fi online.