In her new book, thought leader Verena Pausder describes a "new country." What role does digitalization play in it? She explains.
It may sound a little like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, but it's not really like that at all. This is because Verena Pausder's The New Country (Das neue Land) looks forward with optimism to a future full of possibilities, ideas and new ways of living life. In her vision, digital technology is a key driving force and catalyst of that future. In this interview, Pausder, board member of Digitale Bildung für Alle e.V., an organization that promotes digital education for all young people, explains a) why digital technology is an essential part of forward-looking concepts, b) how education needs to change and c) how people can play an active role in shaping the future.
In your book, you consider the role of digital technologies and how they are changing education and our society. Why is digitalization part and parcel of the future?
Digitalization now pervades all areas of our lives, such as school, the workplace, clubs and associations, and home life. I want to find out how we can empower people – as many people as possible – to share in the positive impacts of digitalization. For example, how we can rethink our schools with a view to enabling children to shape the future digitally? Or how we can make "new work," i.e. new approaches to work that give workers greater flexibility and greater independence, available to men and women in many more sectors?
Why should we give our education system a digital update?
In order to ensure that our children have good jobs when they grow up, and to keep educational inequality in Germany from worsening. A full 65% of children who are now in primary school will one day have jobs that would be completely unfamiliar to us today. If schools do not take responsibility for digital education, then parents have to step in. But how many parents can really compensate for schools' failure to provide digital education, and how many cannot? If we fail to give our schools a digital update, we will have diminished our children's future opportunities and increased inequality in our education system.
What does "the new country" look like?
All of us help shape "the new country." We're driven by a spirit of "before you reject it, give it a try." The top items on the agenda are climate protection, equality and digital education. We work to make policymaking and its effects more measurable – for example, with a "better-politics index." And more people are able to cross the boundaries between policymaking, business and civil society.
How can each of us help us move closer to "the new country"? What new competencies should every person have, regardless of whether they're young or old?
All of us – managers, fathers, startup founders, high school graduates … – need to take responsibility for the future of our country. As time goes by, we will need more and more people who can learn quickly, can easily adjust and can put ideas into useful practice. Most importantly, we will need a new attitude. We will need less "somebody ought to ..." and more "we're doing it – now."