Education in Germany 2014

The Federal Ministry (BMBF) and the Conference of the Ministers of Education of the Länder (KMK) have presented the fifth National Education Report. The main focus is on the situation of people with special educational needs and disabilities.

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The "Education in Germany 2014" report reflects the high priority awarded to education in Germany and shows the clear progress achieved in recent years: The number of childcare places for under-three-year-olds has increased significantly. The number of pupils leaving school without a Hauptschule (lower secondary school) certificate was reduced to under six percent; the percentage of people entering higher education climbed to over 50%. Expenditure on education rose by 4.6 billion euros to 247.4 billion euros between 2010 and 2012, the equivalent of 9.3% of GDP.

The "Education in Germany" report provides information on developments in the education system and is published every other year. It is drafted by an independent group of researchers under the leadership of the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF). The 5th report was published in 2014 and features a chapter on the subject of "people with disabilities in the education system".

The latest report once again confirms many positive trends in our education system:

  • The level of educational attainment is rising continuously. The number of school-leavers without a Hauptschule (lower secondary school) certificate continued to fall (8.0% in 2006 compared to 5.9% in 2012). The percentage of people entering higher education stood at 51.4% in 2012, significantly exceeding the 40% target defined in the Qualification Initiative for Germany.
  • The percentage of under-three-year-olds in education or childcare reached 29% in 2013 (13.6% in 2006).  The number of teaching staff in child-care facilities is increasing markedly, reaching a record high of about 440,200 employees in 2013 (an increase of 40% since 2006).
  • The number of adolescents in the transition system is continuing to fall, showing a drop of 38% since 2005. All in all, the situation in the market for training places has improved continuously in recent years.
  • Germany  is more attractive than ever as a place to study. The share of students from abroad has risen to 16%.
  • More and more people are taking advantage of continuing education programmes. For the first time in about 15 years there was a significant rise in the percentage of people in continuing education, up to 49% in 2012.
  • The situation for disadvantaged young people  has also improved. Nevertheless, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by at least one risk factor still stood at 29.1% in 2012 (32.4% in 2005). It is therefore important to provide targeted support to children and young people growing up in unfavourable circumstances. Early support as well as measures to promote language and reading skills are central instruments in this effort.

In its feature chapter, the 2014 Education Report emphasizes that the best possible inclusion of people with disabilities is a cross-cutting challenge for all areas of education. The report shows that Germany has a well-developed and highly sophisticated system of laws, educational institutions, and human and financial resources to enable people with disabilities to participate in society. However, coordinating this system to provide individual support and enable inclusive participation across all levels of the education system is still a challenge.

The Federal Government and the Länder will seize the opportunity  to meet the central challenges identified in the report by strengthening existing measures and - where necessary - establishing new priorities. All in all, investments in education need to be sustained at a high level. The Federal Government is setting clear priorities by significantly reducing the financial burden on the Länder: It is providing an additional 6 billion euros for child care and education during the current legislative period.

Authors of "Education in Germany 2014"

The fifth "Education in Germany" report was drafted by an independent group of researchers under the leadership of the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF). Substantial contributions were provided by the German Youth Institute (DJI), the German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW), the Sociological Research Institute at the University of Göttingen (SOFI) as well as the Federal Statistical Office and the statistical offices of the Länder.

The National Education Report is a joint responsibility of the Federal Government and the Länder in accordance with Article 91b Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law. The report is drawn up in a process which ensures the authors' academic independence and coordinated with a steering group which comprises representatives of the two funding bodies, the BMBF and KMK.
The report and additional material and information are available online at