A strong digital economy is vital for jobs, innovation and growth. The spread of digital is having a strong impact on the labour market and the type of skills needed in society and the economy. More skilled ICT professionals will be required in the future, increasing the importance of digital skills both for jobs and for society in general: all citizens should also be able to participate in the digital universe and not simply be passive watchers. The Simply digital – future competences for strong children initiative responds to this need and introduces following amendments:
- in primary schools, coding will be introduced as part of mathematics in the fourth and fifth years, starting from school year 2020/21. This will allow learners to understand, from an early age, how machines ‘think’ and react. Learners will also acquire basic programming knowledge. Coding will gradually be introduced subsequently across grades 1 to 4 of primary school through various subjects;
- in secondary education, a new course in computer sciences will be introduced in the lower level of secondary technical and general education, starting in the school year 2021/22.
These actions aim at attracting learners to the digital economy, a major sector for creating future employment.
Anticipating the increasing demand for digital skills in professional and private life, the strategy for digital education aims to foster more than just computational skills. It is based on five uniquely human competences: critical thinking, creativity, communication, cooperation, and coding.
The measures taken are part of the Media compass (Medienkompass), a framework of reference providing guidelines to schoolteachers issued by the ministry in March 2020.
Within the frame of the Simply digital initiative, a campaign on media use addressed to parents has been launched.
The closing statement of the ministry launch emphasised the importance of focusing efforts on creativity and cooperation, proper human skills that machines are incapable of, while mastering new technologies. Humanistic education has more relevance than ever.