20 million euros for digitization: Berlin wants to lease 120,000 tablets for schoolchildren

The SPD-led education administration wants to equip all 120,000 students from grades 7 to 10 with tablets to borrow by 2025. For the leasing model for public schools, which is initially planned for four years, the main committee is to approve 20 million euros on Wednesday in the last meeting before the election. The corresponding application, which explains the process, is exclusively available to the Tagesspiegel.

Originally, the education administration wanted to have the devices as early as 2022, and there was also talk of buying all the tablets, but the funds were blocked by Parliament in June “because there was no concept”. The state secretary responsible for the digitization of schools, Aziz Bozkurt (SPD), had to do some follow-up work. Whether the new “concept” is convincing is still open.

Grades 7 and 8 should get the devices first

In any case, it is planned that 15 million euros will be spent on loan devices and replacement devices for teachers and educational staff in order to promote “digitally supported learning”. 4.5 million euros are requested for service, support and maintenance. Class levels 7 and 8 will be equipped immediately, level 9 in 2024, and level 10 in 2025.

In many ways, leasing is the more sensible option.

Marcel Hopp, SPD education expert

“I am now very pleased that, with the release of the funds, we can take a big step towards nationwide equipment with digital devices,” said Marcel Hopp, spokesman for education policy for the SPD parliamentary group, in the Tagesspiegel. Leasing is “in many ways the more sensible option”.

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The deadlines for applying for the funds were not met

However, the Senate application was not yet available to the main committee on Monday, as an employee said on request. The Green coalition partner reported that his parliamentary group had not yet received anything formally. Other items on the agenda for the main committee meeting on Wednesday were registered on Monday, but not the template for the student end devices.

That was “strange”, said the green housekeeper Stefan Ziller. The deadlines were “actually passed”. Short-term changes are possible in urgent cases such as the Corona aid packages. When it comes to issues such as the long-discussed leasing equipment, however, it is hard to see that the parliamentarians did not have time to examine the concept and have open questions such as teacher training clarified.

Nothing is in the towel yet.

Stephen ZillerIT and budget expert of the Green Group

His parliamentary colleague, the Greens’ spokesman on school policy, Louis Krüger, also told the Tagesspiegel that he had not yet been able to read the application: “That’s why I can’t say whether we will go with it or not”. Ziller put it this way: “Nothing is certain yet”.

At a hearing in the education committee at the beginning of December, it became clear that the education administration would meet with a lot of skepticism and even rejection with its application: both invited experts and representatives of the coalition and opposition factions had raised a number of concerns. An economic feasibility study of the leasing option was also required.

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The fact that both this test and the concept were so long in coming and that even the application from the education administration did not reach the main committee on time causes astonishment in the coalition as a whole. In addition, it was also a “cheek” towards the housekeepers of the opposition, who were even more surprised on Wednesday than the SPD coalition partners Greens and Left, said a member of the coalition to consider.

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