Education Report 2022: Pandemic has exacerbated education problems

As of: 06/23/2022 4:09 p.m

According to a new national report, the corona pandemic has exacerbated the problems in the German education system. And opportunities in the education system are still heavily dependent on social background.

The corona pandemic continues to influence developments in the German education system. In the past two years, families, learners and educational professionals have been confronted with significant additional burdens, as the new “Education Report 2022” shows.

The pandemic has exacerbated existing problems such as the shortage of skilled workers, the need for digitization and social inequalities in educational opportunities. The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine poses another challenge, said the President of the Conference of Ministers of Education, Schleswig-Holstein’s Education Minister Karin Prien (CDU).

She pointed out that the schools nationwide alone had admitted an additional 138,000 children and young people from Ukraine in the past few months.

Below average in an international comparison

“Equal opportunities remain the central challenge,” stressed Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP). It is unacceptable that the social background in this country is still decisive for educational paths. In an international comparison, Germany is below average.

She also pointed out that the pandemic had left “deep psychological and physical marks” on children and young people. There should therefore be no renewed nationwide school closures.

The degree of qualification of Germans continues to increase

At the same time, according to the report, the level of qualification of the German population has increased significantly in recent years. According to this, in 2020 around 26 percent or around a quarter of the people in this country had a higher professional or academic degree. In 2010, the proportion was five percentage points lower. According to the education report, only 1.5 percent of under-20s have no qualifications.

However, there is still a relatively constant proportion of adults without a professional qualification or without a university entrance qualification. This connection is particularly high among people with a migration background.

More people take advantage of educational opportunities

The education report is prepared every two years by experts on behalf of the federal and state governments in order to provide an overview of the developments and the state of the education system. All areas from day-care centers to the school and university system to adult education are scientifically examined.

Overall, the number of people taking advantage of educational opportunities increased by four percent or around 600,000 between 2010 and 2020. According to the report, this was caused by a temporarily higher birth rate, inflows from abroad and a general trend towards lifelong learning. At the same time, the number of educational institutions increased by four percent or around 4,000, especially in day-care centers and universities.

Demand will continue to increase in the coming years

In 2021, the proportion of three to six-year-olds cared for in day-care centers was around 92 percent, and 34 percent for under-threes. The range of all-day schools has been massively expanded in recent years. In the 2005/2006 school year only 28 percent of all schools had an all-day offer, in the 2020/2021 school year it was already 71 percent. At the same time, the report assumes that demand will continue to rise in the coming years and that more than 500,000 additional places in all-day schools will be needed, particularly in the western German states.

These and other developments are also leading to a growing need for skilled workers in the education sector. According to the report, by 2025 there will be just over a hundred thousand. With the implementation of the legal entitlement to all-day care by 2030, there will be up to almost 66,000 more.

Reading ability decreased

According to the report, there is evidence that reading skills among elementary school students declined in 2021 compared to 2016. Due to a lack of data, it is still unclear whether this is solely due to the pandemic, said Kai Maaz from the Leibniz Institute for Educational Research and Lifelong Learning, which was responsible for preparing the education report together with other scientific institutes.

However, initial findings indicated that boys, underperforming students and children and young people with a migration background or from socially disadvantaged families could be particularly affected by negative consequences in learning development in the past two years.

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