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1. Background

Television (TV) as a powerful medium of communication with tremendous potential to inform, to entertain and to educate has literally captured the world. Television became an important part of our life, so much that it is difficult to say whether it is a luxury or necessity. TV has deep impact on culture, ideas, way of living and thinking. Sargent (1997: 63) claims ‘Television continues to be the most important medium for conveying information, news and culture in its broadest sense. It is universal in its availability and it is still free at the point of use to its viewers’. MacGregor (2007:15) agrees with this by stating that ‘Television has the greatest impact of all media: it is viewed by people for long periods, commonly between 14 and 28 hours a week; it is visual and entertaining; it can convey quite complex and educational ideas in understandable ways; and because of its impact it is influential among decision makers and governments’.

Television is generally assumed to be an important environmental factor that influences child development. Television viewing even for very small children is considered an active interpretative process of meaning making (Bordwell, 1989), although, of course, their sign-reading competence develops only gradually (Nieding and Ohler, 2006). In our media-rich society, television is one of the core components of media-literacy initiatives advocating for “fundamental competency for literate citizens” (National Communication Association [NCA], 1998), to empower citizens to actively engage with media messages and fully participate in media culture (Jenkins, 2003).

The studies clearly spell that under favourable conditions, television is one of the best media to bring desirable change in the knowledge, understanding, attitude and behaviour of viewers. This impact can be best described in the words of Fisch (2004:03) ‘If we believe that children can learn negative lessons from television, then it stands to region that they can learn positive lessons, too. The same medium that leads children to learn product information from a commercial should also be able to help them learn science concepts from an educational program. And the same medium that influences children to act aggressively after exposure to violent programming should also be able to influence them toward cooperative behaviour after watching prosocial programming’.

Among several uses, educational use of television is a prominent one. As MacGregor (2007:15) points out ‘Television is a powerful medium with key roles to play in education – in providing news and information, including about education issues, policies and developments; in the form of dramas, soap operas and other programmes with educational messages; and in the delivery of educational support programmes to the public and to schools’. Educational relevance of television is a well researched issue. Zechowski (2006) writes ‘Educational television is similar throughout the industrialized world. The combination of formal classroom instruction and enrichment programming define the genre. Educational television in the developing world also includes programming which directly affects the quality of life of its viewers’. Similarly, Calvert and Kotler (2003:326) observe ‘The comparison of educational to non educational favourite programs revealed beneficial effects of educational programs, particularly in the social and emotional area’.

The main challenge to the educational television today is well described by Fisch (2005:10) ‘often, far less attention has been paid to the positive effects that educational television programmes can hold’. Palmer (1999) observes ‘the record of accomplishments is impressive, yet TV is drastically underutilized as a teaching tool in countries that have the highest prevalence of urgent and otherwise unmet education needs. The large gap that exists between the state of the art and the state of practice in the use of television for development has many causes, including a major lapse of international attention to national capacity building and application’.

This situation motivates us to learn from those countries where television has been legally assigned to cater the educational needs of society. Germany is one such country. With 36.5 million TV households, Germany is the largest television market in Europe (IDATE, 2000). Towards the end of the first half of 2006, 37 free-TV channels (eight of which were general-interest channels), 50 pay-TV channels and two channels in mobile-TV format were broadcasted in Germany (The German Commission on Concentration in the Media, 2006). The unique feature of public service broadcasting in Germany is that television channels must provide programming in the fields of information, entertainment and education for people of all ages and social groups and in any format (such as generalized channels, thematic channels, multimedia services, teletext or other content services, with or without interactivity). Adopting this mandate, majority of public television channels in Germany broadcasts educational programs. This legally established tradition of educational broadcasting motivates us to analyze educational television in Germany with an intention to propose adoptable policies to promote educational television in global perspectives.

2. Television Broadcasting in Germany: An Overview

According to Kleinwæchter (2008) ‘The German Broadcasting System is both a “dual system” - it includes public and private broadcasting - and a “federal system” - it includes both centralized and de-centralized organizations. Private broadcasting was introduced in the early 1980 also on the basis of the legislation for the old federal states of Germany (Länderlegislation). As member of the European Union, German broadcasting legislation has to be in conformity with relevant EU legislation in the field of broadcasting, notably the TV Directive of 1989 (Television without Frontiers) and the Amsterdam Protocol on Public Broadcasting. In the legal sense “broadcasting” in Germany is the general term covering “radio” and “television”.

2.1 Constitutional Basis

Article 5 (1) and (2) of the German Basic Law provides foundation for broadcasting in Germany. The law reads “Everyone shall have the right to freely express and disseminate ones opinion in form of speech, writing and pictures, and to freely inform oneself by using generally accessible sources. Freedom of press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcast and by using film are guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.”

These rights are subject to limitations embodied in the provisions of general legislation, statutory provisions for the protection of young persons and the citizen's right to personal respect. Under German constitutional law, the media can broadcast and report freely. Article 5 follows more or less Article 10 from the European Convention on Human Rights (1950), that freedom of expression and freedom of the media is the basic rule but will be executed in the framework of existing legislation. Conflicting values have to be balanced in a way that other rights and freedoms are not punished. In cases of conflict independent courts have to make decisions what value prevails in a concrete case (Kleinwæchter, 2008).

There is no specific law regarding broadcasting of Educational Television in Germany. Although the majority of federal states Broadcasting Laws state that both public and private broadcasters are required to carry out three specific tasks: to educate, to entertain and to serve the people. The Supreme Court of Germany also confirmed this role several times by ruling that private broadcasters have similar obligations as those of public broadcast channels. The only applicable policy is that public broadcasting channels must telecast sufficient number of educational programs but the channels have not been assigned any fixed quota for this purpose. All the federal states in Germany have an agreement that television has to carry educational programs but the agreement did not state that what should be the proportion and nature of these programs.

2.2 Public and Private Television

Germany has three tier public broadcasting system. The so-called “First Federal Programm” (ARD) is a joint venture among the programmes of all federal states of Germany on the basis of a State Treaty among the federal states.. The ARD (Association of Public Broadcasting Corporations in the Federal Republic of Germany), was established in 1954 and encompasses eleven regional public television and radio stations. Public broadcasting corporations are together responsible for the “Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen”, the first German TV channel, but also broadcast their own TV and radio programs. The other public broadcasters are Second German Television Channel (ZDF) and Third Television Channels (from the federal states, WDR, BR, MDR, NDR, RP, SWR, RBB). Mainly these public television channels are serving the cause of educational TV in Germany.

Private broadcasting was virtually nonexistent in Germany until 1981, when the Federal Constitutional Court recognized the right of the federal states of Germany (Länder) to grant broadcasting licenses to private companies. Enabling legislation took the form of a new broadcasting treaty enacted by the federal states in 1987 that allowed the creation of private broadcasting companies to compete with public stations. There are now around 40 stations, which can be received nation-wide in Germany, as well as numerous regional stations and local broadcasters. In addition, RTL, SAT.1 and VOX have their own window programs with own broadcasting licenses, like Alexander Kluge's DCTP (Development Company for Television Program) for example, which develops and offers viewers a variety of informational and cultural programs for all three broadcasters. Window programs are programs within a program, limited to a certain slot within the main program (Castendyk and Mikos, 2008). The private channels complain that they hardly get advertisements and viewers for educational TV programs and, therefore, are less interested to produce and broadcast such programs.

2.3 Regulation of Broadcasting and Funding

In Germany, monitoring and managing of public network broadcasting corporations is the task of the Broadcasting Council, the Administrative Council and the director of the respective corporation. The council is made up of members who represent social groups and thus act in the interests of the general public.

The German system has different funding systems for public and private broadcasters. Private broadcasters obtain their revenue basically from advertising. The public corporations, however, have a system of mixed funding. They receive a proportionate share of the revenue from licence fees. According to Wikipedia (2009) ‘The licence fee in Germany is € 204.36 per annum for TV and radio, and € 66.24 for just radio. It is billed by the month, but typically paid quarterly (yearly payments are possible). The unemployed, disabled and people solely dependent on governmental support for living do not need to pay the licence fee’. The costs of the public network channels are covered first and foremost by these license fees. The majority of private channels complain that existing funding system keeps them away from production of educational programmes.

2.4 Reach and Users

Around 90 % of German households have cable or satellite TV, and viewers can choose from a variety of free-to-view public and commercial channels. Pay-TV services have not become popular or successful while public TV broadcasters ZDF and ARD offer a range of digital-only channels. In 2007, some 54 % of all German households received television via cable, 4.1 % by means of terrestrial transmission and 41.8 % via satellite (Medien Basisdaten (a), 2007). So far, more than 60 % of all Germans use online-services (Medien Basisdaten (b), 2007). Surveys indicate that television is the most important source of political information: 51 percent of Germans rank television first, ahead of newspapers and magazines (22 percent), conversation (16 percent), and radio (6 percent) (Radio and Television in Germany, 2008). The results of a German longitudinal study on young people and media (Feierabend and Rathgeb, 2006) make it obvious that mobile phones, CD players and radio are fully or almost completely integrated in everyday life. MP3- devices are quite close to this stage. TV is integrated into family life, but not as an object of un-negotiated disposition for young people. In Germany, parents are still the gatekeepers and hesitate to put a TV set into the children’s bedroom.

2.5 Broadcasting Trends

The German Commission on Concentration in the Media (2006) reports ‘no significant changes occurred with regard to broadcasters and broadcasting groups. With regard to nationwide television, the four broadcasting groups ARD, ZDF, RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG almost completely cover the demand for TV programs. In terms of average television viewing shares (viewing time), their offerings account for more than 90% of the viewers television needs. Today, public channels are allowed to put schedules and content details of their programs on Internet but they are not allowed to publish a whole program on the internet. The strict copyright laws prevent them from doing this. The channels are allowed to spend only a certain amount of their budget for digitalisation of TV programs and hosting them on the internet.

The above reported data, patterns and typologies confirms that television has important place in the life of German people and has been used for educational purposes. These trends motivate us to study in detail the ongoing educational television efforts in Germany.

3. Educational Television Broadcasting in Germany: Prevailing Practices

Educational television in any country has two main aspects (i) programme production, and (ii) programme dissemination; the German system is no exception. In Germany, mainly public broadcasters produce and disseminate educational television programmes. Besides Public Broadcasters, Private Broadcasters, Broadcast Regulators, State Institute for School Education (ISB), Institute for Film and Picture in Science and Education (FWU), Local TV Stations, District Media Centres, Knowledge and Media Institute (IWF) and International Central Institute of Youth and Educational Television (IZI) are other key players promoting educational television in Germany.

As we already discussed, Germany has three tier public broadcasting system that includes First Federal Programme (ARD), Second German Television Channel (ZDF) and Third Television Channels (from the federal states of Germany) each of which also broadcasts its own television program. These broadcasters follow the Interstate Treaty on Broadcasting (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag) and had to collaborate in order to be able to broadcast a television program available in the whole of the Republic. Presently, all these public broadcasters are bearing the responsibility to promote educational television in Germany.

3.1 Research based on Investigation of BR TV and BR alpha

Among public broadcasters, Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation (Bayerischer Rundfunk - BR), a public service broadcasting station (for the state of Bavaria, a region in the south of Germany, representing 15% of the German population) is the leading educational television broadcaster. Program of BR are broadcasted in the whole of the Republic via ARD and ZDF and contributes 15% of the programming of ARD. BR is incorporated by the Bavarian Broadcasting Act and its main office is located at Munich. BR provides five analogue and four digital radio channels plus two television channels -Bavarian Television (BR) and the Educational Channel (BR alpha). The programmes are accompanied by the internet service BR-Online.

Taking in view the role of BR TV to promote educational television in Germany, researcher carried-out following three case studies of BR TV to understand the German educational television system and its broadcasting practices.

3.2 Case Study I: School Education Programs by BR TV

This case study portrays school education programmes offered by BR TV. The BR TV is broadcasting different types of programs including educational programs (ETV Programs) for viewers for the last 44 years. In 1970s, the channel even offered TV sets and other equipments to schools to popularize educational TV programs. According to German constitutional law, the conditions for public broadcasting are laid down in the broadcasting laws of each federal state, e.g. the conditions for Bayerische Rundfunk (BR) are provided in the BR-Law of the Free State of Bavaria. The law emphasises that BR TV programs be made up of elements of information, entertainment, education and culture. Following this, BR is producing and broadcasting the curriculum based and general nature educational programs to cater the needs of schools and their students of Bavaria and other federal states.

(i) Nature and Broadcast of School TV Programs

Most of the school programs broadcasted by BR TV are of 30 minute duration. Now this trend is changing, and most of newer produced programs are of 15 minute duration and the distribution of themes over weekdays is organized differently (according to the channel's website). The ETV Programs are broadcasted during 6:30 to 7:00 a.m. in the morning for five days in a week (Monday to Friday). The same programs have a repeat telecast on another public channel BR alpha on the day before at 8:30 a.m. to 9.00a.m and on same day during 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

In a year, BR telecast nearly 220 school education programs. To fulfil their educational program telecast need, BR TV produces its own programs and also takes programs from other public channels including educational TV channel BR alpha. The channel tries to cover almost all school subjects and follows closely the school curriculum put forward by the Bavarian Ministry of Education. The channel also adopted a policy to update their programs on a regular basis.

(ii) Program Production Aspects

The school Programs section in BR TV has three fix staff positions. The rest are on contractual basis. There is a pool of technical persons including script writers, cameraman, editors, etc. The channel can acquire the services from personnel of this pool as per the channel’s requirements and need. The BR TV also asks teachers to act as advisors for the content part of educational programs.

(iii) Dissemination of Information about School TV Programs

The Schools and teachers can learn about the programs to be telecasted on BR from two sources. The first source is a Poster about educational programs. The BR TV publishes 3 posters in a year (one poster for 4 months) with the schedule of educational programs to be broadcasted. The poster carries the details of programs like its title, telecast day and timings as well as subject matter. The Ministry of Education for Bavarian State dispatches the published poster to all the schools of State. The schools can also find this poster on the website of Ministry of Education.

The other source to find this information is the web site of BR TV ( web site offers the details about the educational programs to be telecasted and already telecasted. One can even find out the details of programs telecasted during the last three years. The website of BR offers the title and telecast date of educational programs and also provides detailed information about it. On the website of BR, one can see the outline of content covered by a program; main shots from the program, methodology on how to use the program; exercises based on the program; and further readings.

(iv) Use of the Programs by Schools and School Teachers

The teachers and schools are encouraged to use educational TV Programs for the benefit of their students. According to Arnulf Zöller,(ISB) ‘The philosophy behind school TV programs in Germany is that ‘programs must support teacher/s to carry-out teaching learning process in more interesting, effective and objective based manner’. The teachers are required to look/search for interesting programs from BR TV. They can obtain the copies of all the needed programs by requesting ISB (State Institute for School Education) through their school. The schools are required to pay the cost of Blank CDs/DVDs and postage fee to ISB. The ISB prepares copies of the required programs for them. The teachers are not allowed to download programs directly due to strict copyright law in Germany.

The BR also organizes training programs and workshops to educate teachers on educational television programs and how to use them in the classroom. According to Bavarian State Law, every teacher is required to attend 3 to 4 type of training programs of 12 days in four years. The teachers can choose the ‘Educational Television Program Training/ Workshop’ for this purpose. These orientation programs (duration one day) inform teachers about what school TV offers, how to work with TV and on the importance of school TV Programs. During these orientation programs, sometime, teachers are also taught about the production part of TV Programs. The studies conducted by the BR channel confirmed that school TV Programs are appreciated and used by a large number of teachers, especially in primary schools.

3.3 Case Study II: University Education Programs by BR TV

The BR is the only Channel in Germany broadcasting TV Programs for University level students and teachers. This case study presents the University TV Programs offered by BR TV.

(i) Nature and Broadcast of University TV Programs

BR TV broadcasts University Programs everyday during 5:00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. except on weekends. The channel has classified the nature of programs according to the days. It broadcasts new research-based programs on Monday; literature and media oriented programs on Tuesday (e.g. at present showing 10 episodes about the life and works of Thomas Mann); religion and society based programs on Wednesday; history based programs on Thursday (e.g. at present showing natural history of Bavaria); and service based programs oriented to professionals, university students and campus Europe on Friday. In addition, the channel also broadcasts some programs on global opportunities and IT competencies. At present, BR TV is telecasting a program named Alpha Science Forum in which program participants discuss certain themes related to science and in the present series they are discussing several issues on mathematics, since the year 2009 is the year of mathematics in Germany.

(ii) Program Production Aspects

The University TV programs are mainly continuing education offers for interested persons helping them to prepare or understand university curricular. Eckhard Huber, (Program Producer BR TV) comments ‘The BR TV is facing a resource crunch to produce University TV programs. The financial support for producing these programs is not sufficient. The BR channel does not have enough money to produce a variety of educational programs for higher education students. The producers would like to develop documentaries on different educational topics but are unable to produce them because resources are not available. As a compromise, the producers are mainly producing lecture-based programs’.

The BR TV and Universities work together to develop newer programs for higher education students. The program producers from BR TV ask the University Professors and other academic staff to provide content and academic guidance for the production of programs. The academic staff and students from Universities and other higher learning institutions provide program details in the form of a PDF and MP3 file. The producers use this material to write the script and produce the final program. The BR TV does not compensate the academic experts financially but offers credit to them in the produced programs.

In a year, BR TV usually produces around 120 to 140 new programs on different subjects for higher education audiences. Among these programs, one fourth is of documentary type and the rest are mainly video recordings of lectures. The BR TV nearly broadcasts 220 University programs in a year, out of which two thirds are new programs and one third are programs from BR TV’s archives.

(iii) Dissemination of Information about University TV Programs

The students and teachers can learn about the University TV Programs by a broadcast bulletin (BR Radiozeitung) prepared and published by BR TV on a weekly basis. This bulletin provides details about the University TV Programs to be telecasted in coming weeks. The Universities can subscribe for this broadcast bulletin at no cost.

The website of BR TV ( ) also provides additional information about University TV Programs, which extend the educational spectrum from mere reception to learning. The additional information contains shorter manuscripts, program details, references and links to similar kind of resources. The channel is not allowed to spend much of their budget (only 0.75% of annual budget) to host these program on internet. The agency responsible to look after the hosting and providing the details of programs on the internet is known as BR online.

(iv) Viewers of University TV Programs

According to Eckhard Huber, Program Producer BR TV University TV Programs do not have large number of audiences. However, the viewers associated with these programs are quite active as they write frequent e-mail and letters to program producers to share their viewpoint and to provide feedback about programs’.

(v) Collaboration of Universities with BR TV

The BR TV and nearby universities work in close co-operation for the production of new programs and have devised new ways to carry out these collaborative activities. One such example to carry out collaborative academic activity is the Virtual University of Bavaria ( ). The students enrolled in other Universities can study and download the programs from the website of this University. The BR TV is actively co-operating with this University and is producing programs for them. The producers for BR TV are planning to produce a course program for experimental physics (almost 80 episodes). These episodes will be available on the home page of the virtual university with an option to free access to some of the programs. Enrolled students can view all these programs for free.

The BR TV is also supporting the Virtual University of Bavaria to offer some of its courses via the online mode. Under this venture, the University is offering IT competency courses and a Bachelor Degree of Business Administration for their students. Students can download the course material for these programs from the University home page and take exams in order to acquire a course completion certificate. This service is provided by the BR TV for free in an effort to increase its publicity.

3.4 Case Study III: Educational TV Channel (BR alpha)

The BR alpha is the only public broadcast educational channel in Germany. In former times there was only BR TV and BR alpha came into existence 10 years ago. This case study details the activities of educational channel BR alpha.

(i) Educational Program Production

In comparison to BR TV which is producing more documentary programs, the BR alpha is producing more curriculum-based programs and has only one department for production. In a year BR alpha produced around 1500 new programs. These program accounts for 25% of the programs telecasted in a year and rest 75% of programs included older programs and programs from other channels. Although in recent years, this exchange of educational programs is declining since other state channels are not producing enough educational programs.

The BR alpha offers phone-in-programs to their viewers. Through these programs, viewers are encouraged to call in and ask experts about different educational aspects. These programs from BR alpha have a wider reach and viewers from Bavaria and other federal states are free to call and get answers during the broadcast of these programs. The channel is also producing and telecasting language and IT competency programs.

The other interesting educational program offered by this channel is Planet Wissen. Planet Wissen is a knowledge and documentation series that was jointly developed by WDR, SWR and BR alpha. Under Planet Wissen, a program of one hour on any educational topic is delivered with the help of two moderators/experts. This one hour program also includes short films from other federal states. The audiences for Planet Wissen programs are not specific and belong to a mix population.

(ii) Specific measures

The other specific feature of this channel is its educational program ‘Telekolleg’ that is also broadcasted by BR TV. ‘Telekolleg’ is a 40 years old education program on public television and still continues. This program helps students to obtain a school certificate without attending schools. The students are required to enrol themselves with a school and learn with the support of the complete set of ‘Telekolleg’ programs, and specially produced learning-books, and by attending a special school-class (the Telekolleg-days on Saturday with real teachers). Examinations are embedded in this system and the certificate is given by the Telekolleg-administration in combination with the state school administration. The certificate acquired through learning with ‘Telekolleg’ program is of Middle Levels School Type. In a year around 1000 students get their school certificate by the ‘Telekolleg’ program.

4. Educational Television Broadcasting in Germany: Existing Challenges

Like other countries, educational television in Germany is also facing number of challenges. Among them the prominent challenges are –program production challenges, popularity and usability challenges, legal challenges and Internet broadcasting challenges. These emerging challenges are discussed below.

4.1 Program Production Challenges

(i) The funding for production of new educational programs is not sufficient and continues to decline. Normally the production of a simple educational program (lecture based) requires 5000 Euro while a good program (documentary type) requires about 25000 Euros for production (Thomas Neuschwander, BR Alpha).

(ii) ‘The funding for school TV Programs and University TV Programs is limited as broadcasting co-operations, interest in educational TV is declining. Besides, the states did not seem very much interested to support this academic venture’. (Gerd Niedermayer, Redakteur Bildung in BR TV). He further comments that present situation is in contrast to some other countries, like Switzerland that is increasing finances to school TV Programs.

(iii) There is no uniform policy for public broadcasters for producing and broadcasting educational TV programmes. Major public broadcasting TV stations in Germany like WDR, SWR, HR, etc. are also producing and broadcasting educational television programmes but these are less than desired. According to Gerd Niedermayer (Redakteur Bildung BR TV) this situation is affecting the well established policy ‘to exchange the educational programs with other public broadcasters’.

4.2 Popularity and Usability Challenges

(i) Arnulf Zöller, (ISB) observes that often schools face difficulty to show school TV Programs to their students as available TV sets in most of the schools are small. Schools need TV sets with wider screen and projectors to show the programs to large number of students.

(ii) The schools run upper secondary classes according to their time table and different teachers are required to teach one class. This situation creates problems for teachers that how to organise the class and motivate their students in a specific period for the use of school TV programs.

(iii) A number of teachers (both from School and University sector) are not aware about the telecast of school /University TV Programs. They are unaware about broadcast timings and nature of content covered through these programs. Some of them are also lacking the skills to use educational television programs in their classrooms.

(iv) Most of the produced University TV Programs are in lecture format. These types of program mainly show the lecture of any academics supported by some shots/activities. University teachers normally hesitate to use the lecture of other fellows on the same topic for which they are lecturing. As a result, they shy away from these programmes.

(v) Educational television programs are less popular as youths lack motivation to watch them. Misra (2008) reports ‘only 26% of youths have stated that they are familiar with educational television programs. Educational TV programs did not have long lasting impact on youths as is evident from the fact that only 26% of the students were able to recall five educational programs previously seen by them’.

4.3 Legal Challenges

(i) The copyright law in Germany prevents public broadcasters to broadcast educational programs on the internet. The channels are allowed to publish only a brief description and sample content of the programs online. The channels are further restricted to utilize their budget for online promotion of programs e.g. BR TV is allowed to only utilize 0.75% of its budget for this purpose.

(ii) Public broadcast channels are not allowed to sell their programs and show advertisements. They are also not allowed to share their program with private TV channels.

4.4 Internet Broadcasting Challenges

(i) Internet broadcasting has changed the educational television world-over and its impact is clearly visible. Teachers’ TV Report (2006) observes ‘the ways in which we watch television are changing. New technologies become available at a relentless pace. Those broadcasters not ready for these changes will be left behind’. The educational program producers and broadcasters in Germany are required accept this challenge to devise ways to use internet for promoting educational television.

(ii) Talking about internet broadcasting challenges for public service broadcasters (main providers of Educational TV programs), EBU (2007) observes ‘broadcasters will be required to strike a series of delicate balances: the balance between copyright protection and wider distribution; the balance between providing universal service and catering to niche interests; the balance of safely fulfilling a clear remit or stretching the boundaries of its interpretation. The public broadcasters in Germany are required to act accordingly.

5. Promoting Educational Television Broadcasting in Global Perspectives: Adoptable Policies from Germany

This study identified that educational television system of Germany offers number of policies that can be adopted by other countries to improve their educational television broadcasting. The key adoptable polices are discussed as under:

5.1 Program Production Policies

(i) The practice of BR TV to put details of Program like ‘outline of content covered by program; main shots of program, methodology to use the program; exercises based on the program; and further readings’ on internet can be termed as best practices to be adopted by other countries. Besides, the desire of public broadcasters to understand the present scenario; to prepare for change; and to accommodate new technologies for designing and developing effective educational programs for the future is also an adoptable practice for many countries.

(ii) The practice of the BR TV to actively collaborate with Universities of the region can be termed as another adoptable practice. The BR TV produces the programs on behalf of the Universities and instead of receiving money it acquires the broadcast rights for the programs. Universities get a chance to showcase their work and their achievements to the public through these programs. This active collaboration provides an opportunity to both parties to use the powers of television as a medium for the benefit of community and society.

(iii) The “kabel eins”, a private TV channel from ProSieben/Sat.1 Media Group having audience share of 5.2%, is one of the best example particularly for private channels in different countries of how to survive and get profit even by telecasting socio-educational programs. Rene Carl, Head of Program Strategy kabel eins observes that ‘the policy of kabel eins to produce docu-tainment programs for educational purpose is paying good dividend as these programmes are quite popular among viewers.’ The kabel eins example ensures that if private channels will design and produce interesting docu-tainment programs (programs presenting information in form of entertainment) on different socio-developmental issues then these programs will certainly attract enough viewers followed by sufficient advertising.

5.2 Program Promotion practices

(i) The collaboration between local television networks and Universities in the field of educational television is a good trend and it seems as a good practice adoptable for other countries. Adopting this model, universities and other learning institutions can collaborate with local channels to produce and telecast educational program. If possible then state governments or Universities can release some money to local TV channels for this purpose. Through this process, Universities of different countries can request local TV Channels to produce educational TV programs as per their specific need and can also take the support of these channels to telecast the programs produced by university staff and students for wider dissemination and reach.

(ii) The importance of educational TV programs lays on its utilization for educational purposes. Considering this, the media centres in Germany ensures and promotes the utilization of educational TV programs among teaching fraternity. Instead of going to different places, the teachers can look to the webpage of these centres and can use the media either offline or online. The effective utilization of educational TV programs for educational purposes is a bigger problem particularly in developing countries. The main reason behind this problem is that teachers did not get required programs for educational uses. These countries can tackle this problem by establishing the same type of media centres at state or regional levels. These media centres will help teachers to look and lend required educational TV programs for instructional purposes.

5.3 Program Dissemination Practices

(i) The working principle of the State Institute for School Education (ISB) to act like a bridge institution between educational TV channels and teachers can be termed as a best adoptable practice for many countries. This institute solves the ever existing problem with educational TV that one has to present in person to watch and use the program at stipulated time. This institute helps teachers to procure and use already telecasted program as per their need and time. Other countries can also look for an organisation or agency to provide the same type of educational media support to teachers. This measure will be an effective and helpful step for promotion and utilization of educational TV programs by schools and teachers in different countries.

(ii) The Institute for Film and Picture in Science and Education (FWU) adopted the principle that convergence is the future for production, distribution and utilization of television programmes for educational purposes. The institute produces partly completely new films and buys in addition clips from different national and international TV and Video programs. The didactical DVDs not only consist of films, but also additional material, like extra-information, pictures, animation and lesson plans to produce a meaningful program for teaching and learning purposes. Through this process, FWU produces analogue and digital videos and multi-media programs on DVDs and online. According to Susanne Friz (FWU) ‘The educational programs produced and published by the institute under this policy got good results’.

Other countries may learn from this experience and like FWU, can look for a Central Institute/Organization for production and distribution of educational programs mainly in multi-media format. Besides, producing new programs, the proposed institute may also entrust the responsibility for convergence of available educational TV and Video programs in CD or DVD formats. This measure will be quite helpful in cost-effective utilization of already produced educational TV programs.

6. Conclusion

The analysis of educational television broadcasting in Germany indicates that the television broadcasters are facing different challenges. These challenges are of varied nature ranging from program production to program dissemination and usage. In other side, the German system offers number of best practices that can be adopted by other countries to improve their educational television systems. The need of the hour is that countries come forward to learn from educational television experiences of each other. As suggested by Calvert & Kotler (2003:327) ‘A remaining challenge is to create more academically oriented programs that attract a sufficiently large audience, including older boys, while delivering a comprehensible, interesting, yet challenging educational message’.

The countries are required to learn from several creative ideas of each other that have been devised and implemented worldwide to make educational television popular. For example, we can learn from Uni TV Project (Holleczek, 2008) from Germany where universities of Berlin, Erlangen-Nürnberg and Munich are connected over a new high speed network for distributed production and distribution of teaching materials of high resolution. We can also get motivation from the Teachers TV (a free-to-air television channel in the UK) that offers programmes aimed at both new and experienced primary and secondary teachers, as well as programmes and resources for heads, managers, governors, teaching assistants and support staff. Most programmes of Teachers TV are also streamed and available for download via (Teachers TV, 2006).

The current need is to welcome these efforts and look for other such efforts carried world-wide to make television a better education tool. Television as a medium is further required to accept and embrace present socio-economic and technological changes. Broadcasters are required to accept technological change like internet and commercial competition for the promotion of educational television. As suggested by EBU (2007) ‘The PSBs can exploit the opportunities with clear advantages: quality, copyrighted content; a wealth of archive material; strong brand trust; professional editing and content packaging skills; and technical quality, including high-definition content’. Instead of succumbing to the market force, broadcasters are required to promote educational television. Payrleitner (1993: 42) suggests ‘while the era of public service operators as electronic solo entertainers moves towards its end, there arises on the other hand the chance of turning one’s mind back to the intrinsic values for which our broadcasting stations were actually created’. Taking this advice, broadcasters from all over the world are required to bring renaissance for educational television in global perspectives. If they aim to do so, present study could/might possibly help them.

7. End Notes

  1. The inputs for case study of BR School TV were provided by Mr. Gerd Niedermayer, Redakteur Bildung Fernsehen in BR TV.

  2. The inputs for case study of BR University TV were provided by Mr. Eckhard Huber, Program Producer for School and Universities, BR TV.

  3. The inputs for case study of BR alpha channel were provided by Dr. Jörg Lösel, Programmredaktion and Mr. Thomas Neuschwander, Leitung, Geschäftsstelle Grundbildung und Sprachen Programmbereich Planung und Entwicklung.

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