Germany has raised a number of fundamental objections to the idea of OER. They question whether a lack of digital content prevents learning, particularly in the case of people with low qualifications, and whether well-educated people will benefit the most from OER. Furthermore, they ask if there are any sustainable business models for OER and suggest that there are questions of standards, quality, technical interoperability, and legal questions concerning copyright that have not yet been solved. The issue of copyright is widely discussed in Germany in reference to the ongoing Open Access debate. Germany was the only country which in its response to the OECD questionnaire reported that the OER issue is not expected to become a policy priority in the near future. They also stated that they do not consider a lack of learning material in digital format (especially in English) to be one of the major problems in education; therefore, the potential benefit of OER in Germany is not highly rated. (2)
In Germany the discussion about OER has started in autumn of 2011 with the debate about the so called "school trojan". The textbook publishers had asked the school authorities to check in schools with the help of a software if the
copyrightlaws were observed in the intranet of the schools. That caused a lot of discussions. In the end the publishers gave up on the idea. But the awareness of OER was raised and more campaigns and regional events were organised to emphasise the idea of OER. Several publications about OER werde initiated and research in that field funded. Here are the most important steps of the discussion about OER in Germany:* March/2012 '''OER-Whitepaper''' („Open Educational Resources for schools in Germany“ Internet & Gesellschaft Co:llaboratory)(3): describes background, players and debelopment status of OER in Germany
* September/2012 '''OER-Camp in Bremen'''
* November/2012 '''Hearing of BMBF''' ( Federal Ministry of Education and Research) '''and KMK''' (standing committee of the German ministers of education and cultural affairs) '''about OER''': agreement between KMK , publishers and collecting societies about digitalisation of textbooks
* September/2013 '''OER-conference in Berlin by Wikimedia'''
* September/2013: the KMK (standing committee of the German ministers of education and cultural affairs)has established a working committee to develop a '''commentary to OER in Germany till autumn 2014'''
* November/2013: '''OER in the CDU/CSU - SPD coalition agreement in Germany''': „Free digital teaching material must be strengthened by the state and the federal states. The basis for this is an educational and research friendly copyright law and
and open-access-policy. The access to textbooks for schools and teaching materials for universities should be – as much as possible – free and the usage of free licences and formats should be strengthened.“
=== National OER initiatives ===
Since the discussion in Germany about OER is mainly led by institutions, teachers and staff from universities, there are not very many national OER
initiatves. Some are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, but most of inititives are led by non-profit organisations. Since there are hardly any national policies by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany, the initiatives arise from teachers itself or non-profit organisations who believe in free OER material for schools in Germany (see section " Insitutional OER initiatives). Another reason for the lack of national OER inititives is the fact that GErmany is a Federal Republic. Each of the 16 federal states have nearly full control of the education system including universities. Therefore the state cannot normally fund national projects for education in schools and universities in the states.<br />
Nevertheless, there are some national OER initiatives which have been or are still funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):
* [http://www.lehrer-online.de Lehrer-online (teachers-online)] is a national platform for schools which was originally funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.The main tasks of Lehrer-online are the provision of information and teaching material for schools (primary schools, secondary schools, vocational schools). New media is a strong focus of the programme.:Lehrer-online is part of an online network www.schulen-ans-netz.de, financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and, in its first phase, sponsored by the Deutsche Telekom as well. Now it is led by the limited company Lehrer-Online GmbH. It is financed by advertisement and other services for the Federal Ministry or the ministries of the federal states. The material is still free for the schools. Most German federal states have now similar and linked initiatives, e.g. Bavaria, Lower Saxony etc. Like all the web-based services, provided by the Schulen ans Netz, this portal is also supported by a team of education experts, IT-specialists and teachers who are knowledgeable on the current educational needs. The services of Lehrer-Online include: practical teaching modules including free-of-charge working materials, methodological and didactical articles and suggestions for classroom preparation, which have been developed and approved by teachers in the classroom and carefully developed, researched and validated by editorial staff, both in terms of subject and methodology, before being published; dedicated discussion
fora, where teaching professionals can exchange their ideas and experience; an information service specially tailored to users’ needs (this includes news about schools, new media and education policy along with in-depth information on practical legalities like data privacy and copyright issues); the Virtual Learning Environment lo-net offering virtual rooms for cooperation with colleagues as well as for class teaching and cooperative projects with other schools in Germany and elsewhere; the homepage generator for primary schools: Primolo is a net-based tool which can be used free of charge and which enables primary school children accompanied by a teacher to design their own web sites. (1)
* [http://www.bildungsserver.de Deutscher Bildungsserver] (German Education Server/[http://www.eduserver.de/ eduserver])is a meta-server referring to web resources, e.g. from the federal government and the Länder (states), the European Union, universities, schools, state institutes, research and service institutions and scholarly information centres. It is funded by the federal government (Bund) and the federal states (Länder). It covers all subjects for Pre-Primary education, Primary School, High School, vocational training and universities. Most German federal states have now similar and linked
eduacational servers, e.g. Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Niedersachsen and North-Rhine Westfalia etc. (see Regional OER Initiatives).
* [http://www.rpi-virtuell.net/ Rpi virtuell] is led by the Comenius-Institut in Münster and financed by the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD). It is an open platform for RE (religious education) where students can create their material collaboratively. The material is for
Pe-Primary education, Primary Schools, High Schools and Adult Education. The thematic sites contain digital assets with pictures, texts and link-lists. Students can also upload their own material.<br />
* [http://www.exil-club.de Exil-Club] is an online learning environment that engages with the subjects of exile, migration and intercultural education. The content as well as the working platform of the Exil-Club can be used by European school projects dealing with topics from the Exil-Club. The platform also stresses the topic of media literacy and media competence. It is led by the foundation Else-Lasker-Schüler-Stiftung and Schulen ans Netz e.V. From 2001 till 2005 it was funded by the German Bundeministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)/German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. (1)