KMK president: Countries need clarity about the digital pact

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Written By Maya Cantina

Saarbrücken

In the dispute over the continuation of the multibillion-dollar financing program for the digitalization of schools, the states are urging the federal government to give in quickly. “Unfortunately, we do not know at this time how much the federal government plans to contribute to the program in the future. And that actually makes us unable to take action,” said the chairman of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Culture. KMK), head of department Saarland Christine Streichert-Clivot (SPD), the German news agency in Saarbrücken.

Since 2019, the federal government has contributed 6.5 billion euros to the first digital pact, which expired in mid-May. With this he financed 90 percent of the expenditure on digitization in schools. The remaining ten percent was borne by states and municipalities.

The states demand 1.3 billion euros per year from the federal government for the new edition of the five-year financing in the Digital Pact 2.0. “The federal government now assumes that there is 50:50 financing,” said the Saarland minister. “However, the federal government made this decision alone.” Given the tense budget situation of the federal government, this is based on a requirement from the Ministry of Finance, but excessive demands are placed on the states. The promises that the states received from the federal government at the beginning of this year have now effectively been withdrawn.

The digital world will have a huge impact on the world of work and living together in the future. “And we have to prepare children for that,” said the minister. The financial situation of the states and municipalities certainly plays a role. “In my opinion, the federal government also has the task of exerting a balancing effect here. This not only concerns educational issues, but also infrastructure issues that affect the entire Federal Republic.”

The SPD politician pointed out that the states could no longer make investment decisions as long as it was not clear what would happen next. The state share should be planned in the respective budgets. “But we will only make progress when we know what the digital pact really means. Right now we’re all stuck there.”

Equipment such as laptops or digital boards would have to be replaced, substantive changes would also be necessary – and above all, staff would have to be retained: “I have to be able to plan and anticipate that I will need certain work.”

“The budget situation is tense in the federal government. Things are not rosy in the states and certainly not in the municipalities,” said the minister. “And that is why we have to discuss it together: what options do all parties have and how can we get this off the ground?”

She sees no major problems in terms of content. The technical infrastructure in schools has improved enormously in recent years. These structures must be financially secured in the long term. “The issue of funding levels is certainly an issue that concerns me at the moment.”

In June, the SPD politician wants to make the digital pact a topic again at the KMK conference in Saarland. The federal budget planning states that the next step will be taken in early July. “Our hope on the state side is obviously that there is a house number on the table that we can work with. But that is not the case right now.”


An announcement: This report is part of an automated service of the German Press Agency (dpa), which operates according to strict journalistic rules. It is not edited or controlled by the AZ online editors. Feel free to send questions and comments feedback@az-muenchen.de



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