Freudenberg is located at the picturesque centre of the Siegerland region in Siegen-Wittgenstein and well-known for its unique old town—named “Alter Flecken” (old spot)—and its black and white half-timbered houses and structures that are typical for the region. The inhabitants of the town’s 17 districts love how seamlessly interwoven living and working are in the beautiful environment. The town has four primary schools and one secondary school, and bears the costs for the Pestalozzi school sub-site (Osterberg school)—a special-needs school located in one of the districts.
The corona pandemic in the spring of 2020 changed the requirements in many areas. The schools, especially, felt these effects. Due to closing the schools temporarily, both authorities and school heads had to find new ways to keep classes going and prevent the students from suffering due to the cancelled classes. Across the globe, home-schooling became an alternative to traditional classes, with digitalisation simplifying the process. Teachers can still interact with students via video conferences. and newly-developed educational software can teach and evaluate students.
However, not all students of Freudenberg are equipped with the necessary tech, and neither were the teachers of North-Rhine Westphalia equipped with end devices. For this reason, the German state initiated an emergency equipment programme for the purchase of mobile devices for pupils to compensate for social imbalances, as an addition to the DigtalPakt Schule programme. In the meantime, NRW initiated a support programme for equipping teachers with end devices, which were to be supplied by the responsible governmental authorities. The town of Freudenberg and its mayor Nicole Reschke submitted an urgent resolution with the help of all parties to supply mobile digital devices at the beginning of October.
We discussed with the head teachers beforehand which devices and software they would need. To accelerate the process, I passed an urgent resolution with the help of all parties in early October. However, huge demand across the country lead to delays in delivery. We’re delighted that Bechtle has enabled us to provide the iPads to support digital learning for decades to come.
Nicole Reschke, Mayor of Freudenberg
The town of Freudenberg defined the details of the procurement of these end devices and wrote a tender, evaluating the bids in October 2020. Bechtle, being an Apple Authorised Education Specialist, received the order for 292 8th generation iPads, including keyboards and styluses. The order also included the corresponding cases with integrated keyboards and a 1st generation Apple Pencil for each iPad. However, due to the high demand for Apple products across the country, and the resulting delivery bottlenecks, Bechtle was not able to deliver until February 2021. From the run-up to the order to delivery, Bechtle regularly informed the town of Freudenberg on the current status of the order.
The collaboration between Freudenberg and Bechtle was excellent. The town was able to deliver the end devices to the schools soon after receiving them. This was an important step for the digitalisation of schools. By lending the iPads to students, the town has contributed to creating more equality among children and young people from difficult backgrounds—especially in the times of a pandemic. The costs were mostly covered by the state’s emergency equipment programme, with 10% of the costs being covered by the town of Freudenberg itself.