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Final Report: didacta 2013 presents the future of education

More than 97,000 trade visitors came to Cologne to attend the world's biggest fair for education and training - Cologne trade fair once again met with a great exhibitor response - Trade visitors discussed current education policy issues with decision-makers from government and business

didacta - die Bildungsmesse - concluded on 23rd February 2013, with the event's 874 participating suppliers from 23 countries reporting good or excellent results during the five-day event. When estimates for the last day of the event are included, more than 97,000 visitors were registered at the fair. Compared to last year's event in Hanover, this represents an increase of 19 per cent. didacta attracted all of the key trade visitor categories: teachers from all types of schools, including kindergartens, as well as college staff, trainers and decision-makers from business and government authorities. All of them came to the Cologne exhibition halls to attend the world's largest trade fair for education and training, which is also the most important event of its kind in Germany. According to Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, the results underscore the importance of Cologne as a trade fair location. "The visitor turnout was outstanding and the media coverage of the event extensive," she says. "This clearly shows that Cologne is an excellent venue for a fair that serves the needs of the educational sector." Hamma also emphasized that the content of didacta 2013 was in keeping with the spirit of the times. "The trade fair not only set standards in many areas; it also triggered discussions and generated extensive public interest in current issues."

The conceptual sponsors of didacta - the Didacta Verband, Darmstadt, and the Verband Bildungsmedien, Frankfurt/Main - are also satisfied with the results of didacta 2013. The president of the Didacta Verband, Professor Wassilios E. Fthenakis, drew attention to the important role didacta plays when it comes to further developing Germany's education system. "Politicians, scientists and instructors used the week to come up with joint ideas on how to improve the quality of education and reduce the inequality of the education system," he says. "What's more, didacta once again provided teachers with extensive training and continuing education opportunities. It also gave all of the visitors ideas for their day-to-day teaching activities."

For Reinhard Koslitz, Managing Director of the Didacta Verband, the trade fair gave the sector new momentum. "didacta once again highlighted the education sector's fantastic capabilities," he says. "The exhibitors showed which materials, media and content can be used in the future to shape education processes. Topics such as digital learning, early education and inclusion played a major role, as did the further development of the dual training system and of extracurricular learning."

Wilmar Diepgrond, the Chairman of the Verband Bildungsmedien association, is also very satisfied with the trade fair's results. "The publishers of educational material once again demonstrated their innovative capabilities and presented analogue and digital media that supports teachers," he says. In addition to products for the fair's focal topic of "digital textbooks", the exhibitors displayed educational software, learning platforms, specialist literature for educationalists, early-learning materials, resources for vocational training and continuing education, and much more. "Moreover, didacta is a great platform for important and necessary debates on education policy," adds the association's managing director, Christoph Bornhorn. "The fair is the ideal place for holding constructive discussions with teachers from all types of educational institutions. After all, the inspiration for new teaching resources always comes from the people who actually work in the schools."

Top quality supporting programmeWith more than 1,600 individual events and features, the didacta 2013 supporting programme was simultaneously Europe's leading congress for education and training - as well as its largest event for the further training of educators. At packed seminars and forums, leading experts from the worlds of politics, science and business made sure that everyone participating benefited from stimulating and interesting discussions. A broad spectrum of themes was addressed. Visitors were particularly interested in issues related to inclusion and the impact of Germany's legally stipulated right to daycare services for children aged one or more. Another key theme was the use of digital textbooks and how they will affect instruction in the future. There was also great interest in the challenges facing colleges when it comes to choosing students or dealing with allegations of plagiarism. Questions regarding the use of new media for education and training in the areas of schooling, and vocational and private learning were also addressed. The public showed great interest in all of these areas.

didacta Cologne 2013 in figuresA total of 829 exhibitors and 45 additionally represented firms from 23 countries took part in didacta Cologne 2013; 54 of these exhibitors were from abroad as were three of the additionally represented companies. The figures concerning visitors, exhibitors and stand space for this trade fair were determined and certified according to the standardized definitions used by the Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (FKM).

The next didacta - die Bildungsmesse - will be held in Stuttgart from 25th to 29th March 2014.

Digital press serviceThe final report on the trade fair, as well as other press releases, the exhibitors' press compartments, an overview of the innovations presented, an image database with photo materials and the trade fair logo are available on the Internet at http://www.didacta-koeln.de, in the Press section.

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