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Coronavirus Spurs $7B Tech Push for German Schools

Αssociated Press

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures as she holds a video news conference with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, following a virtual summit with China s President Xi Jinping, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Monday Sept. 14, 2020. E(Michele Tantussi/Pool via AP)

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for massive upgrades of school technology around the country.

Merkel said Saturday during her weekly video podcast that teachers were left scrambling to teach courses virtually when schools closed at the start of the country's outbreak. She says that underscored how important digital media and other tools are but also exposed widespread infrastructure failings.

The German leader said: "That is why we have to push ahead with the digitization of schools at full speed. We need this as an indispensable addition to face-to-face teaching.”

Merkel says the government is committing 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) to support the development of digital learning and infrastructure in schools. She says all schools need high-speed internet access as soon as possible and teachers need computers suitable for providing digital lessons.

Germany's schools have reopened and students have returned to in-class learning, but officials have cautioned that the country needs to be better prepared in case virus case numbers spike again.