Campus - 26.03.2018 - 00:00 

Political go-ahead for the IT education offensive

The cantonal government has passed on the IT education offensive bill to the cantonal parliament. With this offensive, the Canton of St.Gallen intends to strengthen all educational levels in order to increase the odds of its population and its economy joining the winners of digitisation. For this purpose, CHF 75m will be invested in the course of eight years. The electorate is expected to cast its vote on the bill in February 2019, which means that the measures could begin to have an impact from the same year.

26 March 2018. The consultation conducted in autumn 2017 resulted in a great deal of feedback. Most comments welcomed the IT education offensive. The few negative comments referred to vocational training, which was not sufficiently taken into consideration in the IT education offensive. Criticism was also expressed of the funds allocated to research and consultancy activities with the wish that these resources should be concentrated on training.

New focal point for vocational training

The government accepted these concerns voiced in the consultation process and is now planning an additional focal point in the IT education offensive for vocational training. A digital platform is intended to bring together all the actors of vocational training – enterprises, colleges and industrial associations – and pave the way to site-independent training. In so doing, the Canton of St.Gallen is preparing for a reform of vocational training announced by the Confederation at an early stage. Unlike the bill that was sent into consultation, the additional focal point for vocational training will be funded without any additional costs, i.e. the overall credit line will remain at CHF 75m. The resources earmarked for research and consultancy purposes at institutions of higher education were slightly cut.

The IT education offensive is intended to be funded through a special credit in the profit and loss statement which can be drawn on between 2019 and 2026. Irrespective of the way in which they are financed, the resources for the IT education offensive are an investment which is meant to increase the prosperity of society.

Programme for all levels of education

The IT education offensive will impact on all educational levels. This approach is trail-blazing in Switzerland. At the broad base, pupils of all schooling levels are intended to learn to accept and help shape digital change with innovative thinking and a sense of responsibility. At the top, the focus is on training more specialists at the tertiary level.

The IT education offensive has the following focal points:

  • Primary and secondary levels: model schools will trial digital instruction. At the same, learning media and further training of teachers in digital instruction will be developed (Competence Centre for Digitisation & Education).
  • Vocational training: a digital platform for jointly created and innovatively managed training by enterprises, colleges and industrial associations will be set up (Fit4Future).
  • Universities of applied science: a type of learning will be made possible that is independent of any specific site. In this way, proven curricula can also be offered in regions that were not covered previously (Competence Centre for Applied Digitisation).
  • University: at the HSG, a School of Information and Computing Science with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s programme will be set up at the intersection of IT technology and the economy.
  • Business internships and MINT promotion: a networking platform for internship places will be established and MINT promotion projects for children and young people, particularly also girls, will be supported.

Popular vote in early 2019

The cantonal government is passing the IT education offensive bill on to the cantonal parliament in time for a committee to be appointed in the 2018 April session. The parliamentary debate will take place in summer and autumn 2018, and St.Gallen’s population is expected to vote on the credit line in February 2019.

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