Digital Education Initiative – More Tumo Centers for Germany


At the latest since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, people have particularly valued digital competence. After all, this was often the only way to reconcile education, work and protection against infection. In a more randomly digitized education system like in Germany (status of the internet connection + competence of teachers + equipment of school, teachers and families = possible digital lessons), the different starting situations could therefore already lead to great inequalities.

The aim of the digital education initiative and the MINT action plan is to make all of this fundamentally better, and in order not only to expand the digital infrastructure, but also to promote the development of content and didactics, lighthouse projects are also being started that could point the way.

How should digitization be implemented in our schools? How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting events? What was achieved in the 2020/2021 school year? This is what our series of articles would like to shed light on.

As part of the Digital Education Initiative, Chancellor Angela Merkel has this Thursday of this week Visited the Tumo education center for digital and creative workshops in Berlin and would like to see more such facilities for children and young people in Germany. The idea of ​​the Tumo Centers originally came from Armenia and is intended to give children and young people free access to digital and creative projects.

The offer is aimed at children and young people between the ages of 12 and 18 and offers workshops in the fields of photography, film, animation, 3D modeling, graphic design, drawing, game development, music production, programming and robotics. A course can be completed in approximately six months. Learning takes place in two two-hour blocks per week in the afternoons – similar to compulsory elective subjects in schools or hobbies in leisure time. The Tumo Centers therefore work in addition to regular school operations, but are based, for example, on vacation times. A tumor center would be closed for the moment during the summer vacation.

Working students and people who also work part-time in industry take on the training or coaching. This is to ensure the transfer of knowledge and the topicality of the knowledge imparted.

The first German center in Berlin has capacity for around 1500 learners at the same time, but due to the corona pandemic, learning and experimenting with a far smaller number of people is currently only taking place virtually. The center has not been open for a long time. It only started in November 2020 – in the middle of the pandemic. Since then, around 400 children and young people are said to have registered for workshops.

The fact that such a young project should be expanded directly can therefore initially come as a surprise. However, Angela Merkel has known Tumo since 2018 through a state visit to Armenia, where the concept was developed in 2011. In addition to Germany, other countries such as France and Russia have already adopted the concept. After her visit to Armenia, Merkel tried to ensure that Germany also had a tumor center.

Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek has now announced that in Germany at least 45 MINT-Cluster that are also to be settled in rural areas. You already have 20 [sic!] MINT cluster locations have been identified (22 are named on the ministry site) and 25 more are to be added in the summer. It was not exactly answered whether the MINT cluster is also called the Tumo Center. That depends on the design on site, because the offers of a MINT cluster can include “maker spaces, research workshops, learning and experiment laboratories or a mixture of face-to-face and online events using virtual technologies”.

Angela Merkel in conversation with the participants. These included the Lord Mayor of Mannheim, Dr. Peter Kurz, (under Merkel, and from top left to bottom right) employees of the Tumo Center Berlin, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek, Christiane Bauer from the SAP Young Thinkers, KfW board member Dr. Günther Bräunig, Inger Paus from the Vodafone Foundation Germany and Digital State Minister Dorothee Bär. The moderator was Johannes Büchs, who is also known from moderating the show with the mouse.