Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
Information and communications technology (ICT) may be viewed as the key technology of the 21st century. According to a report published by the Technische Gesellschaft Zürich, over 80% of current jobs in Switzerland require more or less thorough knowledge of ICT. Healthcare, finance, transportation, the machine industry, chemistry – i.e. all the technology-based professions – would by now be inconceivable without ICT.
It would therefore seem logical for informatics to also play a significant role in schools. Yet this is not the case: ICT education is close to non-existent in Swiss schools. With the exception of the canton of Solothurn, at the level of compulsory education there are few content-related directives and even fewer obligations to provide classes in media education and informatics. At gymnasium level, informatics is only offered as an elective course. Even the “Lehrplan 21” (the planned common curriculum for compulsory education in German-speaking cantons) involves no major changes: in its structure, informatics only appears in a subsection.
The term “informatics education” covers the academic topics linked to computers: informatics, computer technology, ICT applications and others. This terminology, which originated in Germany, allows for a comprehensive view of relevant educational contents relating to ICT and for the formulation of coherent and level-appropriate educational concepts.
Informatics education aims not only to train pupils as users but to turn them into veritable agents.