What are the trends in education today

Expert report: The trend towards higher education in Germany is declining

Berlin (dpa) - The decades-long trend towards higher educational qualifications in Germany is slowly reaching its limit, according to researchers.

As can be seen from the report “Education in Germany 2020”, which has now been presented, there are stagnating or even falling rates for the transition to high school, falling graduation rates for middle school leaving qualifications and also for higher education entrance qualifications. The authors also see deficits when it comes to digitization - both in schools and among students.

Social origin decides on educational success

Overall, the expert report confirms earlier findings: educational success in Germany depends heavily on social background, and education is worthwhile. "Anyone who educates and qualifies for longer and for life can count on better chances on the job market and also achieve a higher income." At the same time, education has a positive effect on individual behavior, such as health-conscious nutrition, the scientists write.

The almost 360-page report is produced every two years under the auspices of the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF). It provides a comprehensive inventory and shows trends in the German education system from daycare to adult education. Some results at a glance:

More school leavers without a qualification

In the general population, the long-term trend towards more educational participation and higher qualifications is becoming more visible from year to year. An ever larger proportion of people have, for example, a university entrance qualification and a university degree. "However, it is also clear that this trend has its limits." Since 2013, the proportion of school leavers without at least a secondary school leaving certificate has risen steadily from 5.7 to 6.9 percent (2018), and the rate of university entrance qualifications has declined (2014: 53 percent; 2018: 50 percent).

Schools, digitization and corona

The Corona crisis has shown that many schools are not up to date: Tasks were also distributed on slips of paper, communication between teachers and students depended on the technical equipment as well as the competence and willingness of those involved. "The last few weeks have been a field test for education and have of course also made weaknesses clear, especially in the area of ​​digitization," said Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU).

The authors of the education report made the clear recommendation: "Digital media can only be sustainably integrated into teaching-learning processes if, in addition to a better technical infrastructure, greater investment is made in the qualification of teachers."

But fundamental deficits among the students are also addressed: Almost everyone today has a smartphone. But across all areas of education, "a considerable proportion of children, adolescents and adults only have rudimentary digital skills". The President of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) and Rhineland-Palatinate Education Minister Stefanie Hubig (SPD) cited the handling of so-called fake news as an example.

With a view to the state of emergency at schools due to the corona pandemic, the researchers fear negative consequences, especially for children and young people from “socially disadvantaged families”.

Increasing financial, teacher and educator needs

The number of “training participants” in the system has risen further in recent years, and with it the number of employees. There was a 63 percent increase in the number of employees in child daycare between 2008 and 2018, and by 37 percent at universities. The researchers predict that the increasing number of births, immigration and the expansion of all-day places in elementary schools will further increase the need for early education, care and upbringing, and also in schools.

This also applies to the costs: In 2018, 218 billion euros were spent on education in Germany. In an international comparison, spending measured in terms of gross domestic product is below the OECD and EU average, but above the per capita average.

Tense situation in vocational training

The education experts describe the situation in the area of ​​vocational training as “tense”. This is mainly due to one problem: Although there are vacant apprenticeships, some of the young people remain without an apprenticeship. "If the need for skilled workers is to be met in the long term, more companies must also think about giving young people with little or no educational qualifications the chance of an apprenticeship," recommend the authors.

Academics' chances «still very good»

The interest in studying remains unbroken in Germany. In the education report, it is expected that the demand for university places will remain at today's level until 2030. Around 500,000 people start studying every year. The job market opportunities for academics are described as “still very good”.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200623-99-536280 / 2

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