Germany: shortcomings in schools in terms of digitisation

published 8 October 2018 updated 11 October 2018

A new Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft’s study on the quality of educational institutions concludes that German schools are not ready for digitisation.

The study, the result of a representative survey of 15,000 Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft(GEW) members, finds that schools in Germany are ill-equipped for their mission to prepare students for the demands of the digital world.

In the summer of 2018, GEW asked its members in which education institution they work in addition to asking questions about digitisation and related issues. The survey showed that schools are in a poor position. “Eighty-two percent of respondents say improving the digital equipment of schools is very important or important. Eighty-nine percent demand that providing additional funds must have a higher or highest priority”. According to GEW President Marlis Tepe at the presentation of the study, “Building quality of educational institutions” on 24 September in Berlin, “This is proof that past efforts by politicians to link schools to the digital development have failed.”

“Teachers emphasise the primacy of pedagogy over technology: 83 percent of respondents want the digital equipment to be based on the educational pedagogy of the school,” Tepe added.

Among the most pressing requirements of digitisation in education and schools are:

·         Technical maintenance and support of digital equipment (94 %)

·         Provision of hardware for teachers (90 %)

·         Ensuring Data Protection (89 %)

·         Comprehensive training for teachers (85 %)

·         Independence from media groups (85 %)

·         Primacy of pedagogy over digital equipment (83 %)

The GEW study addresses four topics: the current situation of school buildings/facilities, the need for improvement in digital equipment, the involvement in structural changes and the situation in all-day facilities. "Great dissatisfaction also prevails with the condition of the buildings, the spatial possibilities, especially for hygiene and the equipment for teaching and learning resources,” the GEW leader said.

Fifty-nine percent consider that major renovation and development measures at their school are urgently needed. In addition, it appears that respondents from the regions of former East Germany show a slightly higher level of satisfaction than respondents from the other regions.

Educational settings to be enhanced

The survey further shows room for improvement related to possibilities in the educational settings in terms of space allocation: more rooms differentiated by use, rooms specialised by education subject, rooms dedicated to discussions with parents (86 %); more rooms for breaks and quiet time for employees, as well as students (85 %); and more personal workplaces for teachers (70 %).

“Five billion euros from the digital pact and 3.5 billion euros for school renovation - as foreseen in the coalition agreement between ruling political parties - are far from sufficient. This is confirmed by the results of our study,” Tepe concluded.

This is why GEW proposes an education summit, to also deal intensively with the issue of the shortage of qualified education workers, GEW offering its full cooperation and support for the development and implementation of solution strategies.


The survey “Building quality of educational institutions” is part of the nationwide GEW initiative “Education. Thinking ahead!” advocating for better learning and working conditions, and more funding for education. With its initiative, GEW shows not only what it means by quality education, but also how to finance additional investment in education.

More information (in German) here