Education creates options for the personal life paths of each and every individual as well as for the future development and prosperity of our society.
The challenges of demographic change and of a looming skills shortage can only be addressed if everyone in Germany is given an opportunity for a sound education and the best possible support in developing his or her talent – irrespective of background and material resources. This requires the cooperation of all decision-makers. Since 2008, the Federal Government and the Länder have been committed to greater equity in education, better performance and improved possibilities for transfer within the education system as part of the Qualification Initiative for Germany.
The joint efforts are paying off, as shown by the following examples: There has been a considerable increase in day care provision for children under the age of three. Since 2005, the percentage of people qualified to enter higher education has increased from 43% to well over 50%. The percentage of school leavers who have not achieved a Hauptschule lower secondary leaving certificate [i.e. no formal school qualification at all] fell from 8.1% in 2005 to 6.5% in 2017.
More than half of each year group enter higher education. In 2016, 50% of people were participating in continuing education. Education expenditure rose from about 175 billion euros in 2010 to over 200 billion euros in 2017.
The digital transformation is posing new challenges for the education system. Digital education will therefore be a focal area in the coming years. The Digital Pact for Schools will provide the requisite conditions for digital education. The Federal Government will be providing a total of five billion euros over the next five years to develop digital infrastructure at schools.