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ZDF's Educational Mission

ZDF's Educational Mission

The Second German Television ZDF asked its audience what they understand by education and what expectations they have of ZDF. The HBI helped design the survey.

For the majority of the population (80.6%), it is (very) important that ZDF makes a contribution to the education of the population. Even the majority of those who use ZDF less share this expectation. This is the result of a comprehensive, representative study conducted by ZDF on its educational mission from the perspective of the population. It provides important insights into the expectations, perceptions and usage habits in connection with ZDF's educational function.

From the ZDF press release

Expectations of ZDF are diverse

The study reveals a broad understanding of education in the public service mandate. In addition to political education and media education, it also includes general knowledge and cultural education. The expectations of ZDF in this area are correspondingly diverse: these include the communication of respectful coexistence, the role of a reliable source in times of crisis, support in distinguishing between reliable and fake information, the contribution to democracy education, the easy accessibility of ZDF content and the responsibility to keep the memory of German and European history alive. 70 percent of ZDF viewers believe that ZDF fulfills its educational mission (largely or fully). The more frequently people use ZDF, the better they rate the service.

Use and perception of ZDF

The use of ZDF is related to the general educational orientation and basic mood towards society. Typologies of respondents according to educational orientation, satisfaction with democracy, confidence in the future and perceived division in society revealed significant differences in expectations of ZDF and perceived services. The study underlines findings from social science studies that show a high proportion of the population who are critical of democracy as it exists in Germany, whose confidence in the future is low and who perceive a division in society.

The "Terra X plus Schule" website is being expanded

The study thus provides valuable insights for the future direction of ZDF and its educational programs. ZDF continues to work on fulfilling its educational mandate and meeting the needs and expectations of the population in this area in the best possible way. A central starting point is the uncovering of fake news. People should be supported in exposing them.

A further step: ZDF is strengthening its verification teams during elections and making the educational offer for pupils and teachers easier to find and use. To this end, the "Terra X plus Schule" website will be expanded, made more accessible and better adapted to the needs of school lessons.

More about the study

The survey was conducted between October 25 and November 17, 2023 by the mindline Institute for Media Research (Berlin) and the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans Bredow Institute (HBI, Hamburg). A total of 1237 respondents took part; a mixed-mode approach was used (CATI telephone sample: 40 percent, CAWI online access panel: 60 percent).

Further information in German about the study and the results can be found here.

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