German Pupils Struggling to Access Distance Learning in Pandemic

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Germany fared poorly in a report published on Friday comparing distance learning offered by schools across three German-speaking countries.

German pupils were less likely than Austrian or Swiss students to be able to access digital learning platforms during the pandemic, according to the School Barometer survey conducted by the Institute for the Management and Economics of Education (IBB) in the Swiss city of Zug.

Just 36 per cent of German teaching staff said they were able to reach pupils via online learning and schoolwork platforms, the survey found, as opposed to 63 per cent in Austria and 57 per cent in Switzerland.

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In Germany, only 24 per cent of staff said the technical facilities were up to the standard required for distance learning.

In Austria and Switzerland, that figure rose to 54 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.

Pupils made less effort where technical facilities were lacking or teachers had reservations about using the technology.

In Germany, just 34 per cent of school staff said their pupils were actively participating, as opposed to 70 per cent in Austria and 61 per cent in Switzerland.

The survey questioned 7,116 school staff, 2,222 parents and 2,152 pupils. Stephan Huber, the professor leading the study, said school closures had posed huge challenges but also brought chances to innovate.

“The current situation presents a major opportunity as well, digitalisation has received a huge boost in the face of the present necessity,’’ he said.

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