Neckarsulm, 2 August 2022 – A Bechtle-led consortium has completed a prototype of the technical infrastructure for a national education platform. The development is part of Germany’s digital education initiative, “Initiative Digitale Bildung”, by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The prototype serves as a proof of concept for a simple and secure consolidation of all offerings across the country’s education landscape.
The prototype has been designed to consolidate solutions by a variety of identity and platform services across Germany’s education landscape and make them accessible via single-sign on. Simple self-service password and account management enables learners and educators alike to organise their digital education journey, including access to online courses; documents related to internships, school and university courses; and even job applications and professional education opportunities. The solution also spans applications for student loans known as BAFöG, services offered by Germany’s federal employment agency, and proofs of semesters completed abroad. As it builds on an open-source foundation, the architecture is also easy to expand.
“The project is so important because there’s never been a comparable effort in Germany,” says Manuel Liesenfeld, head of Bechtle AG’s Public Sector Division. “Now, the magnificent collaboration with our partners, Dataport, Univention and the Harz University, has produced an extensive and functional prototype.” As the consortium’s lead, Germany’s largest IT system house orchestrated all essential processes in developing the platform.
Germany’s state-owned IT service provider, Dataport injected its know-how in the development and provision of digital, sovereign and open-source-based software solutions for public bodies and schools. Kerstin Bootsmann, head of Solutions HR Management & Education at Dataport: “Digital education goes far beyond technology. Of course, a modern learning experience requires capable staff and concepts that manage to mesh our offline and online worlds. But digital education also takes technological solutions that can seamlessly connect diverse offerings and learning materials and make them accessible without a complicated authentication procedure.”
User friendliness and extensive compatibility
Nancy Buntfuß, project manager at open-source specialist Univention: “We are very pleased that, by developing the prototype, we were able to demonstrate a smart, centralised and user-friendly gateway to the full breadth of education offerings is in fact possible, even in a hugely diverse, federal environment that caters to people in a great variety of circumstances. We are very excited to see where the platform is going from here.”
The Harz University of Applied Sciences has contributed the digitalisation of university processes complete with highly secure electronic identification using Germany’s eID system. “This enables users to submit signed forms and documents to schools, universities and other institutions, or to digitally authenticate certificates, work experience documentation or related identities, and to share everything in a way that is tamper-proof and complies with applicable data protection legislation,” says Prof. Dr Hermann Strack of the university’s Automation & Informatics department. Also, connectivity does not end at Germany’s national borders, as it complies with European security standards such as eIDAS or data exchange standards such as EMREX, as well.
Germany’s national education platform initiative can now use the meta platform, along with other sponsored projects, to prepare the next development steps and eventual operation.