+++ New Blog Oct 27 2015 +++

Industry 4.0 needs Education 4.0

The Franco-German friendship is back on track, Industry 4.0 (D) and Industry of the Future (F) plan to cooperate more closely and jointly to solve problems in a Digital World. Good news. Mr. Macron, the French Minister of Economy, said today: “We want to eliminate all barriers for the European digital single market”. More good news. (NB: The term Industry 4.0 originates from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, which promotes the computerization of manufacturing).

But what about the barriers within Germany? The internal barriers for Industry 4.0? The ICILS-OECD study has tested the computer and information-related competencies of eights-grade students. The study clearly showed that the German Educational system is not able to prepare its eighth graders properly for the digital age. Germany is heavily lagging behind in integrating Digital content in Education.

Since the dot-com boom, our society has fundamentally changed but we still lead discussions on whether the school should be digitized as well. How is it possible that schools remain Analog Islands in a Digital Ocean – in times when the first Digital Natives have already arrived?

Industry 4.0 – the subject degenerates into a phrase, when young people do not have the proper education to start a career with needed competences. No one can deny that a digitized school offers many more options for student encouragment and equality of opportunity. For students from low-income families often do not have the IT equipment as it can be found in rich neighborhoods. Digitization is a great opportunity for inclusive education.

We can and must restore the alliance between schools and industry by means of digitization. Through entrepreneurial internships, through innovations in the curriculum – and especially through the reduction of anxiety in Germany of an increasingly digital society, which of course includes schools.

To build on the words of Derek Bok, the longtime president of Harvard: If you believe that Digital Education is too expensive, try Digital Ignorance.

I’m happy to take up the discussion with you. These pages are supposed to provide some background about me. You can find my Biography  here »

Dr. Thomas Osburg