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Campus - 18.11.2019 - 00:00

IT studies to be introduced at the University of St.Gallen

The IT Education Offensive (ITEO) is investing CHF 75m in the promotion of digital competencies by 2026, inter alia in a School of Computer Science at the University of St.Gallen (HSG). After the ITEO was adopted in a public vote by a great margin in February 2019 and the cantonal government had determined the formal parameters for the measures of the initiative, preparatory work on the implementation of these measures has now proceeded with initial project assignments. The projects will be implemented as from the school and academic year 2021/22.

18 November 2019. Before the summer holidays, the government had created the legal basis for the implementation of the ITEO by means of an ordinance, and staked out the organisational framework by means of the overall programme mandate. This was the basis on which the initial project assignments were worked out together with the lead organisations. The assignments cover the objectives of the individual projects and describe how they can be attained. Now the government has awarded the first contracts and entrusted the lead organisations with the projects. At the same time, it has released the first tranches of the special credit line, which are funding the work as far as the first milestones of the projects.

Studying technical IT at the University

One ITEO project, namely the School of Computer Science at the HSG, supports the establishment of an undergraduate and Master’s degree course in Computer Science. The new School will educate future IT specialists who aim at careers such as entrepreneurs and managers. With IT, the HSG is advancing into a new technical field. The ITEO is co-funding the establishment of the School and the degree course programme. When it comes to the digitalisation of the subject of Business Management, the University of St.Gallen is already in a leading position today. Thanks to this, the new School of Computer Science can be set up at relatively low cost. The new curriculum will start with the Master’s programme in the late summer of 2021.

Offering further education for teachers

In a further project of the ITEO, the competence centre Digitalisation & Education at the Pädagogische Hochschule St.Gallen (PHSG), primary/secondary and academic-stream secondary schools will be supported and supervised with regard to the digital transformation of the main media change from the printed to the electronic medium. An essential part of this project is constituted by a further pedagogic education for all teachers that is appropriate to the individual levels and satisfies requirements to ensure that they will be able to exploit the potential of digitalisation at their own school and in their own lessons. This further education will be offered from school year 2021/22. In addition, the competence centre Digitalisation & Education will trial-run digital classroom work together with model primary/secondary schools and with model projects at academic-stream secondary schools. The forms thus developed will later be made available to all schools. Furthermore, the competence centre is expected to develop future-oriented learning media.

Canton-wide internship platform emerging

In the third area for which a project contract has now been awarded, i.e. the linkage between education and business, the Verein IT St.Gallen (“IT rockt!”) will set up a canton-wide networking platform for internship places for the benefit of economic enterprises and trainees in order to improve coordination between demand and supply – this against the background that for one thing, trainees who have to gain some practical IT experience as part of their training find it challenging to obtain a suitable internship place, while conversely, it is not easy for firms to offer different internship formats. The hub of “IT rockt!” will bring both sides’ requirements together.

Another two project assignments in spring 2020

The government is expected to adopt the other two project assignments of the Vocational Training and Fachhochschule projects in the first quarter of 2020. With regard to the Fachhochschulen, the expansion of the IT curriculum from Rapperswil to St.Gallen has been prepared for the degree course beginning in 2021; with regard to Vocational Training, a pilot of the personalised and locally interlinked basic training in the machine-building, electrical and metal industries is being planned in cooperation with the Confederation and a partner canton.

Image: Adobe Stock / flairimages

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