October 21st 2020

Education and Research - Where is the journey heading?

MCI Livetalk with Anja Karliczek, German Federal Minister of Education and Research


Federal Minister Anja Karliczek (right) with MCI-Rector Andreas Altmann. (c) MCI
Federal Minister Anja Karliczek (right) with MCI-Rector Andreas Altmann. (c) MCI

Looking at Anja Karliczek's professional and political career, one can see that it is consistent with her educational policy goals. As a trained banker and later hotel manager, who completed a part-time business studies program she began her political career at the municipal level and rose through parliamentary management to become a federal minister. For herself she has fulfilled exactly what modern times require: flexibility and personal further development.

Karliczek joined the German Bundestag in 2013. A big step that quickly brought a lot of responsibility with it. She didn't have to think twice when Chancellor Angela Merkel offered her the position of Federal Minister of Education and Research two years ago. Karliczek, who had previously made financial policy, was in any case willing to deal with the new structures and responsibilities of education issues and did not regret it. However, she believes that such a political career is generally very difficult to plan. What ultimately comes out of a mandate always depends on how much one is willing to acquire expertise, penetrate the subject matter and take care of it sufficiently.

Karliczek's areas of responsibility, education and research, can no longer be considered as separate as they were a few years ago. In her opinion, the closer integration of theory and practice is the greatest challenge. With the increasing number of trainee programs offered by employers and dual studies at universities, there is a noticeable convergence of education and career as well as education and research.

This very merging is certainly a project for the coming years. Digitization and the use of artificial intelligence in particular would make it possible to take a holistic view of professional and academic education and training. Meanwhile, the old model of graduating from school and then doing the same thing for 40 years is no longer relevant - "The world is much faster moving and you have to be prepared to take on new challenges". It is important to use these digital methods to highlight the strengths and interests of children of elementary school age in order to provide them with more targeted support in school and to equip them with a range of skills that will continue to accompany them in the future. Despite this segregation according to talent and interest, Anja Karliczek nevertheless believes that Humboldt's educational ideal must be pursued and that this is by no means contradictory: "We need the comprehensively educated person more than ever". This also means that the view of work and education as a duty, which is still predominant, should be given a more positive connotation - "it should be a pleasure". It is essential to create motivation for further qualification and to continue to support the low achievers and challenge the high achievers.

The willingness to embrace these digital opportunities was initially not widely accepted, but the Corona crisis has changed something. Despite all the negative aspects, there has also been a lot of movement in digitization efforts in the education and research sector. The necessary infrastructures must be created, but the following must be borne in mind: “Digital technology can provide better support but can never replace personal exchange”. Karliczek sees particular potential in making greater use of people's creativity and empathy, thereby raising the educational level of the entire society.

Anja Karliczek also has clear goals for the research area and defines three essential developments: on the one hand, Artificial Intelligence must be used more intensively in the economy, and on the other hand, it is essential to initiate an energy revolution in order to become affordable and sustainable with suitable energy storage systems. Finally, the state of the art must be adapted to the coming decades – the keyword here is quantum technologies. Thus, intensive preparation for the future is necessary not only on a social level but also for research.

Mag. Bettina Stichauner | Head Alumni Center Alumni & Friends
Mag. Bettina Stichauner Head Alumni Center +43 512 2070 - 1700
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