Seven-Point Programme for Teacher Education - "Berlin Declaration" of Deutsche Telekom-Stiftung, Stifterverband and HRK

11. June 2015

Teacher education is changing. Awareness of the importance of teacher education has grown significantly in higher education, with further impetus being created by the Quality Offensive in Teacher Education sponsored by the federal and state governments. However, this is just one outcome of the conference "Teacher Education - Responsibility for the Future" organised by Deutsche Telekom Stiftung, Stifterverband and the German Rectors' Conference (HRK).

"Today we have taken stock of what the higher education institutions have already achieved and have worked out a set of proposals for future action," said Professor Dr Holger Burckhart, HRK Vice-President for Teaching, Learning, Teacher Education, and Lifelong Learning. The three organisations have formulated these proposals as a Seven-Point Programme, the "Berlin Declaration", which sets the general direction for the academic qualification of teachers-in-training with a combination of components from academic disciplines, subject-specific didactics and pedagogy.

The integration of inclusion in teacher education and the internationalisation of the study programmes as the best preparation for an intercultural profession will remain high on the agenda over the next few years. The organisers all agreed on this point. They also underlined that further reforms will require the active support of university management. "We university leaders must take teacher education as seriously as any other degree programme," said Burckhart.

"We can see that our support has a positive impact in universities," said Dr Volker Meyer-Guckel, Deputy Secretary-General of the Stifterverband. "But we can only provide stimuli. Action to develop teacher education must receive broad, systematic support, for example through the reinforcement of subject-specific didactics. At universities we need the courage and the means to turn innovative ideas into reality."

"We want to see universities make effective use of the available potential, especially in teacher education centres and professional schools," said Dr Ekkehard Winter, Executive Director of Deutsche Telekom Stiftung. "We commissioned a study which revealed that there is a need for improvement in this respect and that centres and schools need to adopt a much more strategic approach."

By hosting this conference on the core topic of teacher education, the three organisations also aim to send out a clear signal as far as cooperation is concerned. In the coming months the "Berlin Declaration" will be discussed with political decision-makers.

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