WHU Co-initiates "Bündnis Ökonomische Bildung"

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management supports a nationwide alliance to promote economic education in schools. "Only with a fundamental understanding of economics can there be responsible citizens who are indispensable for democracy and a social market economy. And this fundamental understanding must be created as early as possible. For this reason, WHU is also involved in the Alliance for Economic Education in Germany," says Prof. Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU.

Economic education must be given higher priority at German schools. This was the demand of the Alliance for Economic Education Germany in Berlin today. In addition to WHU, more than 50 initiators include teachers as well as associations and organizations from science and business. The aim of the initiative is to integrate economic education at secondary schools into the curriculum and to improve the subject-related qualification of teachers. In addition, the alliance will work toward stronger networking of all relevant actors in economic education. Among the initiators are the Association of German Real School Teachers (VDR), other teacher and management associations, charitable foundations such as the Würth Foundation, the Joachim Herz Foundation and the Flossbach von Storch Foundation as well as Deutsche Börse AG, which is involved in the field of economic education. (Current list of initiators attached.)

The initiators of the alliance see it as their task to promote the strengthening of economic education at all levels. The focus must be on an objective and well-founded communication of economic contexts in order to enable young people to deal with economic topics in an enlightened and reflective way, so that they can shape their lives responsibly and independently. 

For this reason, the initiators address a four-point appeal to all those responsible for education policy in Germany.

1) Economic education must be anchored in the school curriculum for all pupils in Germany to a sufficient extent and be compulsory.

A compulsory school subject in economics provides the necessary space for the appropriate, pedagogically meaningful treatment of economic issues, including their manifold references to other social science perspectives. In dual subjects such as economic policy, sufficient anchoring of economic education must be ensured. This includes at least an equal weighting of economic content in comparison to other subject areas, at least 200 hours for economic content in the lower secondary level and a firm anchoring in the canon of subjects of the upper secondary level (incl. consideration in the Central Abitur).

2) Business teachers must be qualified in their subject and in business didactics.
For all teachers who teach the subject of economics or a corresponding double subject, an economics and economics didactics training and further education is to be offered. Corresponding teacher training courses, for which professorships in economics and didactics are responsible, are to be established at universities and/or universities of applied sciences. In the case of dual subjects such as economic policy, at least half of the credit points available for a teaching profession must be allocated to economic science and economic didactics. Existing teaching staff in schools must be subsequently qualified by means of a systematic and comprehensive range of further and continuing education courses. Economically sound teacher training and further training is also an essential prerequisite for the design of innovative forms of teaching involving extracurricular learning venues, practical contacts, competitions and much more. 

3) Pupils should be able to experience connections to the world of work.
In school lessons as well as in teacher training, compulsory internships and hospitations should be integrated which contribute to an understanding of economic facts, to vocational choice competence and application preparation and establish links to the world of work. Of particular importance are internships that make it possible to experience processes and functions in companies and to place them in the context of society as a whole from different perspectives. Competitions, which can be held in cooperation with companies, also offer pupils as well as the supervising teachers an opportunity to deal with economic topics in a practice-oriented way.

4) Germany needs a national strategy for economic education.
A qualified general economic education and its anchoring in school lessons are urgently needed as a contribution to the provision of services of general interest and equal opportunities, to the equivalence of living conditions and to securing Germany's future as a location for business and science. The Federal Government and the Länder are called upon to ensure that everyone has secure access to an appropriate and professional range of schooling and appropriate continuing education throughout their lives.