Letter to the editor

Pisa crash – Curriculum 21 jeopardises direct democracy

Recently the media pedagogue Thomas Merz from the Teaching College of Thurgau (PHTG) promoted in various newspapers the media education, which is to be included in Curriculum 21 as a compulsory subject. Media pedagogue Thomas Merz fears that the society will enter a democratic deficit as more and more people can no longer distinguish between true and false in the case of hoaxes (“fake news”) in the media. A democracy – and even more a direct democracy – is dependent on the mercy that citizens are informed.
It is interesting that Merz assumes a broad basic knowledge, so that one can only recognize connections, quote: “It is often said today, we would have nothing more to know – we would find everything on the internet. Just the necessary distinction between true and false is an important reason why sustainable basic knowledge is of a crucial significance: I cannot distinguish profound information from complete hoaxes if I do not have this reliable basic knowledge.”
   The fundamental knowledge transfer is the central aim that teachers are striving to achieve in classroom teaching. If the media pedagogue now thinks that Curriculum 21 could meet these criteria, it shows how far the PH lecturers are already away from the school practice. In the colleges of education students are taught the exact opposite with regard to Curriculum 21 today: The “competence orientation” with the “self-controlled learning”, which the psychologist Weinert “designed” for the economic organisation OECD in 1999.
In the “self-controlled learning”, the individually learning pupils need at least twice as long as in the teacher’s classroom teaching. This means that at least 50% of the previous material is dropped with “Curriculum 21; learning aims such as the simple mulitplication are moved or deleted in later “cycles”. As an excuse for this massive, secret education reduction, teachers and the public are so „informed“ that knowledge is no longer central because the pupils could “google” everything.
In addition, with the new compulsory material such as media education and IT and the controversial early foreign languages, there is still less time left to improve the lack of basic knowledge in reading and German. According to Pisa 2015, in the case of 20% of the 15-year-olds in Switzerland these are missing. Therefore they are hardly placeable in the labour market. If Curriculum 21 is to be introduced extensively, a further massive crash in Pisa could be expected, as is the case with other countries which have switched to the OECD competence orientation – such as the one-time leader Finland.    •

Peter Arbersold, Zurich

(Translation Current Concerns)