Monday, November 28, 2016

The Reading Topic

There was a sixty second piece on state-run German news last night (ARD)....which brought up the newest Bundestag issue and "solution".

The German government has been fumbling around for months with a statistical issue that became public knowledge in the last year or two....that roughly 7.5 million of the 82-million Germans.....can't read or write, or barely can achieve such.

The plan?  A ten-year plan that will involve 180 million Euro to be spent....roughly 18 million Euro a year.  I now....when you look at this amount....it's not really that much.

What this will end up paying for?  What they suggest is better teaching material, which works for the office or company-type environment, and some digital method of accessing the material.

Is it really that big of a issue?

I think if you dig into the numbers....what you come to is that a fair number of Germans basically skated through a marginal school system, and they read or comprehend at the 3rd or 4th grade level.  These aren't stupid individuals....just that the system wasn't made to personally help them around age nine or ten when they needed a personal tutor or 'coach' for six months.  Teachers didn't care, and the system just pushed them along and dumped them into some step below the apprentice program.  So they became employed at the lowest level....and without any reading or comprehending in the mix....they never moved up.

Reality is a harsh thing.

If you pick up this topic and really survey it....it leads you to an odd observation.  This group of 7.5 million Germans aren't that gifted to grasp political issues, or slanted news.....yet they have the ability to vote and disrupt the system.

Oddly, when they wrapped up this analysis of the 7.5 million being an issue.....they didn't do a state-by-state analysis or a east versus west study and pinpoint where the money ought to be spent.  In some ways, they are just throwing 180 million Euro into the air and where ever it lands...that's good enough.

2 comments:

Bruce Twomey said...

Why do you describe ARD (and ZDF) as "state-run German news" when in fact it's a consortium of regional broadcasters, representing regional interests and programming? "State-run" implies "centrally-run". That's clearly not the case here.

R Hammond said...

I'll usually use one of three key-words, commercial-news (meaning N-TV, RTL, etc), newspapers or printer-media (like Focus), and state-run media (ARD, BR, HR, ZDF, etc).

Because of the "media-tax" (19 Euro a month), you pay into the state pot and that pot ensures the survival of ARD/ZDF/sub-networks. Without the tax, the consortium would have a difficult time in surviving with the content and weak public interest.

If you look at the future existence of the ARD/ZDF networks...it's a question-mark. The audience under the age of twenty-five are almost non-existent and have some viewing of the commercial networks but are drifting strongly over to data-streaming (Amazon, Netflix, etc). This group is strongly questioning the media-tax. ARD/ZDF got so worried about this trend, that they have heavily funded "Funk"....a down-loadable network which is supposed to be geared to the 15-to-25 age group.

If Funk doesn't work, and the current negativity continues its trend...there might be enough political hype within a decade to downsize/reinvent ARD/ZDF or make it into a lesser taxation vehicle.

I do agree with you that it is not centrally-run...except in the financial sense of budget allocation. But if you examine the 77 members of the "board" that oversee ARD/ZDF...a minimum of 31 members are either from each state or the political parties out of Berlin.

On a final note, I did notice here in 2016...a commentary out of Munich where the CSU brought up this network discussion and regional interests. They (Bavaria) wanted to suggest the idea of BR being brought under the wing of the region....that they could actually have input and run the regional network. Of course, that would have absolutely made it a state-run network. That suggestion ran into a brick wall...the board and ZDF/ARD really didn't want that topic to go anywhere. It would affect other regional networks, the board's future, the media-tax, and this consortium that currently exists.

Please note...I'm not exactly pro-ARD/ZDF or anti-ARD/ZDF. I do believe they were created for another era (the 1960s/1970s), and it would be very helpful for the public and the budget if they merged and focused on core elements/programming. I also think the 77-member board is an unwise element of control, and simply confuses the public with the idea of "more is better".

Finally, if ZDF/ARD were a Russian-like system, or a Cuban-like system, then this investigative journalism angle of the past week with ZDF on lobbyists effect on the SPD Party would not have occurred. The party would have prevented them from airing the embarrassing piece. So in that aspect, it does have a fair amount of freedom. And at least they were smart enough to say "no" on the Olympic bidding episode this week, and just walked away. That won them some sympathy from the public.