European Education Area Progress Report 2020

Education and Training Monitor 2020


1. Key indicators

Figure 1 – Key indicators overview
Germany EU-27
2009 2019 2009 2019
Education and training 2020 benchmarks
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) 11.1% 10.3% 14.0% 10.2%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 30-34) 29.4% 35.5% 31.1% 40.3%
Early childhood education
(from age 4 to starting age of compulsory primary education)
96.0% 96.0%18 90.3% 94.8%18
Proportion of 15 year-olds underachieving in: Reading 18.5% 20.7%18 19.3% 22.5%18
Maths 18.7% 21.1%18 22.2% 22.9%18
Science 14.8% 19.6%18 17.8% 22.3%18
Employment rate of recent graduates by educational attainment (age 20-34 having left education 1-3 years before reference year) ISCED 3-8 (total) 85.3% 92.7% 78.0% 80.9%
Adult participation in learning (age 25-64) ISCED 0-8 (total) 8.0% 8.2% 7.9% 10.8%b
Learning mobility Degree mobile graduates (ISCED 5-8) : 5.3%18 : 4.3%18
Credit mobile graduates (ISCED 5-8) : 14.5%18 : 9.1%18
Other contextual indicators
Education investment Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP 4.3% 4.2% 18 5.1% 4.6%18
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student in € PPS ISCED 1-2 €6 66412 €7 66317 €6 072d, 12 €6 240d, 16
ISCED 3-4 €9 05812 €10 29117 :12 €7 757d, 16
ISCED 5-8 €12 95612 €12 87417 €9 679d, 12 €9 977d, 16
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) Native-born 9.5% 8.1% 12.6% 8.9%
Foreign-born 22.0% 24.2% 29.3% 22.2%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 30-34) Native-born 31.0% 35.9% 32.0% 41.3%
Foreign-born 23.9% 34.2% 25.1% 35.3%
Employment rate of recent graduates by educational attainment (age 20-34 having left education 1-3 years before reference year) ISCED 3-4 81.0% 91.0% 72.2% 75.9%
ISCED 5-8 92.9% 94.7% 83.7% 85.0%

Sources: Eurostat; OECD (PISA); Learning mobility figures are calculated by DG EAC, based on UOE 2018 data. Further information can be found in Annex I and in Volume 1 ( Notes: The 2018 EU average on PISA reading performance does not include ES; b= break in time series; d = definition differs,:= not available, 12 = 2012, 16 = 2016, 17 = 2017, 18 = 2018.

Figure 2 - Position in relation to strongest and weakest performers

Source: DG EAC, based on data from Eurostat (LFS 2019, UOE 2018) and OECD (PISA 2018).

2. Highlights

  • Despite substantial investment under the Digital Pact, gaps remain in the digital infrastructure of schools and digital skills of teachers.
  • Germany is modernising vocational education and training (VET) and invests in upskilling and reskilling to prepare for future challenges.
  • Due to an increase of students and an ageing teaching workforce, Germany faces challenges in training and attracting enough teachers.
  • Young people from disadvantaged and/or migrant backgrounds continue to lag behind in educational attainment, potentially aggravated during the COVID-19 crisis.

3. A focus on digital education

Digital equipment and connectivity of German schools lag behind the EU average. This is particularly the case at primary level, where in 2017/2018 only 9% of pupils attended highly digitally equipped and connected schools, 26 pps behind the EU average (European Commission, 2019d); for upper secondary the figure is 48%, 24 pps behind. Three quarters of German students have access to digital learning resources (64% offline and 73% online), but 9% have no access to school internet, 50% to official education networks and 70% to school email accounts, all below International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) averages. Most teachers (90%) use notebooks in class, two thirds their private devices (Bitkom, 2015). The share of digitally supportive schools is low: at primary, lower secondary and upper secondary level, only 5%, 28% and 23% report a strong information and communications technology (ICT) policy and strong ICT support, compared to the respective EU averages of 20%, 33% and 51%.

Students have above-average ICT skills; ICT teacher education and continuing professional development (CPD) is not frequent. The share of students achieving at least basic computational thinking (CT)1 knowledge (level 2) in ICILS 2018 is, at 67%, 17 pps lower than e.g. Denmark and has stagnated since 2013 (Fraillon et al., 2018). There are differences in knowledge linked to students’ socio-economic and migrant background, in particular for those whose home language is not German. Older students’ self-perception is positive, with two thirds of 16-19 year-old German students assessing themselves as having above overall basic digital skills (65%, 8 pps above the EU-27 average) and 13% as having below overall basic skills (2 pps below the EU-27 average)2. In addition, the share of underperforming students in ICT is comparatively small. Data suggest that German teachers lag behind in ICT skills and in using ICT during lessons (only 20% report use ICT in daily teaching) but are comfortable using it to prepare lessons3. As reasons poor equipment, lack of learning materials, low incentives to use ICT and a lack of training are mentioned. In international comparison they receive little CPD on ICT. 89% believe that digital means can allow them to communicate better and are motivated to use them to enrich their teaching, but they lack the necessary equipment (Bitkom, 2015). The Bertelsmann Foundation showed that current teacher training does not guarantee minimum digital skills or a conceptual knowledge of digitalisation (Bertelsmann, 2018)4. Reforming initial ICT teacher training as agreed by a working group of the Conference of Regional Education Ministers (KMK) and the Rectors’ Conference in 2019 has not yet been implemented.

German federal and regional levels set digital strategies jointly. In 2016, regional Ministers of Education agreed on a detailed framework for digitalisation (‘Education push for the digital knowledge society’) and the federal government concluded the Digital Pact with them. Signed only in March 2019, it offers a federal contribution of EUR 5 billion over 5 years to equip schools with hardware. Regions promised to invest an additional EUR 550 million over these 5 years in learning materials, curriculum reform and teacher training and to support learning at home (Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy, 2020). Implementation of the Digital Pact has been slow due to lacking local capacity. The Bertelsmann Foundation calculated in 2017 that real investment needs are potentially up to three times the funding committed under the Pact (Bertelsmann, 2017). Monitoring and evaluation of digital initiatives has so far mostly taken place on an ad hoc basis (European Commission, 2019c).

Schools shifted to distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis, but with some weaknesses. Schools were closed from mid-March and started to partially reopen at the end of April. Schools successfully moved to distance learning. The majority of students could cope well, but half considered it difficult and about 10% lost all contact with their teachers and peers. Nearly all missed their friends and school life. Teachers found the transition difficult initially: only a third of schools were well prepared (Vodafone, 2020b). All regions created or strengthened platforms facilitating access to teaching and learning tools and for communication, yet only 35% of teachers managed to have very regular contact with all their students and about 10% had very little or none, which meant an important loss also in social contact. Parental support was crucial during home schooling, but 43% of parents reported having not enough time (Vodafone, 2020a). A big concern is that distance learning might have increased already existing inequalities: regions are implementing a variety of measures, including summer camps, to prevent this from happening. A EUR 500 million 2-year emergency programme agreed on 15 May will allow regions to acquire mobile devices to be lent to students who need one. The government and regions agreed to speed up implementation of the Digital Pact, and to allow its funds to be used during 2020 also for learning and teaching material (EUR 100 million) alongside hardware. Teacher associations in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and in schools have proposed concepts for the use of blended learning in schools. All exit exams have been conducted as normal, allowing access to continued education.

4. Investing in education and training

General government expenditure on education as a proportion of GDP remained stable. It was 4.2% in 2018, below the EU average of 4.6%. The share of government expenditure on education in 2018 was 9.4%, slightly down from 2015 (-0.1 p.p.) and 0.5 p.p. below the EU average. Real education expenditure increased between 2017 and 2018 by 2.6%, most notably in pre-primary and primary education. However, over the longer 2010-2018 period, real education expenditure increased by 7.9%, but decreased most significantly in gross capital formation (-20%) and intermediate consumption (-2%), spending categories of importance for digital education. Germany spent a lower than average share of expenditure on employee compensation (58% v EU-27 65%) in 2018. The 2020 European Semester country-specific recommendation (CSR) invites Germany to ‘focus investment on education’.

The government announced various spending initiatives in the national reform programme 2020. The federal and regional levels have invested in programmes to improve the quality of education and to address issues identified in the CSRs. In 2017-2020, EUR 1 126 billion were invested in the expansion of ECEC. In 2020, a special investment fund of EUR 2 billion was established to help primary schools prepare better for all-day schooling until 2025. Municipalities received financial support in 2015-2020 of around EUR 175 million for infrastructure (particularly ECEC and greening of school buildings) and an additional EUR 3.5 billion in 2017-2022 to renovate school buildings. The perceived investment back log for education infrastructure at municipal level is estimated to be still over EUR 40 billion however (KfW, 2019).

5. Modernising early childhood and school education

While participation in ECEC for older children is high, it has barely progressed for under 3 year-olds. The participation rate in early childhood education (ECE) is 96.0% for children between 4 and the start of compulsory primary education in 2018 (EU-27 94.8%). Regional values vary by a comparatively small 5.9 pps. However, only 29.8% of children under 3 (EU SILC) were in formal childcare in 2018, a share that rose steadily until 2016, from 19% in 2009 to 31.7% in 2016, before dropping back. Children without a migrant background attended twice as often in this age group (40%) (Autorengruppe, 2018). Participation by children under 3 at risk of social exclusion is particularly low (European Commission 2019f). Overall, the number of children keeps increasing: there were 17% more children under 3 between 2013 and 2018. The German Education Report identifies a need for more than 370 000 additional ECEC places for under-threes by 2025, and an additional 225 000 in all age groups by 2030. At more than one third of ECEC centres, more than 11% of children speak another language at home (OECD 2019b).

Figure 3 - Participation in formal childcare of children below 3 years of age, 2018

Source: Eurostat, EU-SILC survey, [ilc_caindformal].

ECEC provision varies between regions. Regional authorities are responsible for setting minimum requirements, such as space, staff qualifications and child staff ratios: there are no national standards, evaluation or monitoring requirements. About two thirds of ECEC facilities are run by non-state providers5. This leads to divergences in attendance, provision and quality. Since 2008 the federal level has helped fund the expansion of ECEC6. The 2015 10-point ‘Communiqué’ between regions and the federal level focused cooperation particularly on quality improvement, leading to a federal law providing for this (Gute-KiTa-Gesetz in force since 1 January 2019). This provides federal funding of EUR 5.5 billion for 10 priorities and in particular to reduce or abolish participation costs. In their initial choices, regions prefer measures to improve access over quality improvement measures (Deutscher Bildungsserver, 2020b).

A high share7 of ECEC staff is trained but to varying levels of qualification, and CPD is not compulsory. According to TALIS Starting Strong, 65% of ECEC teachers report having a vocationally oriented bachelor’s degree, while 4% have an academic bachelor’s degree (OECD, 2019b). The qualifications of ECEC assistants vary widely between regions, ranging from courses of 30 to 300 hours (European Commission 2019e). A bachelor’s degree is required to manage an ECEC institution but only 35% of managers have received pedagogical leadership training. 93% of ECEC staff are satisfied with their job; 61% consider that there are too many children in a group; 26% are satisfied with their salary and only one third (36%) feel valued by society (OECD 2019b). CPD is not compulsory; nevertheless, 82% have participated in the past 12 months. The ongoing increase in ECEC provision, combined with the limited attractiveness of the profession, is already causing regional staff shortages that are expected to increase to 200 000 by 2030 (OECD, 2020). The ‘Skilled Labour Initiative’ (2019–2022) aims to attract new talent and retain ECEC professionals.

Performance on basic skills is above the EU average but has weakened somewhat over the years. Overall performance is above the EU average, particularly in science (OECD, 2019 Vol. I). Germany has persistently more top achievers than the EU average in 2018 in science (10%, +3.7 pps), reading (11.3%, +2.8 pps) and mathematics (13.3%, +2.3 pps). The share of low achievers remained below the EU average in 2018 in all three tested areas, between -1.8 and -2.7 pps.

Socio-economic and migrant backgrounds have a strong impact on education outcomes and disadvantaged pupils are more concentrated in certain schools. Advantaged students outperform their disadvantaged peers by 113 score points (EU 95 points), which corresponds to almost 3 years of schooling. The gap has increased by 20 score points since 2015. Moreover, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 shows that pupils from a disadvantaged background tend to be concentrated in the same schools and are less likely to be exposed to high-achieving students8. The impact of socio-economic status on reading performance is also above the EU average at 17.2% (EU-27 14.2%). Pupils from a low socio-economic backgrounds have one of the lowest rates of expectation of completing tertiary education (13.9%; EU 43.4%). The share of students with a migrant background has increased to 22.2%, with 15.7% native born with a migrant background and 6.6% foreign born. In reading, foreign-born pupils trail behind native-born by 114 score points and second-generation migrant pupils by 42 points. Comparing results to 2009, the second generation saw some improvement (+20 points) but the first generation did much worse (-46 points), diverging from the slightly positive EU trend (+7.7 points). 54.7% of foreign-born students are low achievers in reading, one of the highest shares in the EU; for the second generation, this falls to 27.7% and for native born to 14.3%.

Figure 4 - Underachievers in reading by migrant background, PISA 2018

Source: OECD (2019), PISA 2018. Note: EU Member States with a share of migrant pupils lower than 5% are not shown in the chart.

Well-being is important in German schools. Three quarters of German pupils report that they belong to their school (EU-27 65%) and only 15.9% that they feel like an outsider. This high level of self-reported well-being has remained stable since 2015. About 22.7% of 15 year-olds report being bullied at least few times a month (EU-27 22.1%). Bullying has a greater impact on reading performance in disadvantaged schools than in advantaged schools9.

The early school leaving (ESL) rate remains stable since 2015, just above the EU target, with an increasing gender gap. It is 10.3% in 2019, close to Germany’s national target of 10%. The gender gap has increased continually since 2015, from 0.6 p.p. to 3.5 pps in 2019, twice the EU average. Foreign-born pupils are three times more likely to be early school leavers (24.2%) than native born (8.1%). ESL rates vary regionally between 6.9% in Swabia and 16% in Bremen. In 2010-2019, rates fell by 2.4 pps in cities, but remained practically unchanged in rural areas and towns (both -0.2 p.p.).

Germany has an ageing teaching workforce and will face increasing teacher shortages. In 2019, the Bertelsmann Stiftung revised its estimates for the expected increase in the number of students in primary education in 2025 by up to 170 000 (Bertelsmann 2019). This translates into at least 26 000 additional required teachers by 2025 and a further 3 900 by 2030. The KMK has also updated its projections, confirming the challenge for the regions to recruit and train sufficient teachers. In addition to higher numbers of children of school age, the extension of all-day schools – to which each student will have a right from 2025 – will drive demand. The German Education Report 2018 identifies the risk of particular shortages in natural sciences10. The numbers participating in the ‘Quereinsteiger’ initiative to retrain as a teacher has tripled over the past 10 years. The German Youth Institute (Deutsches Jugendinstitut 2019) estimates the cost of the initiative to be higher than provided for, namely EUR 7.5 billion for investment plus EUR 4.5 billion annually.

Despite comparatively high salaries, the teaching profession remains unattractive. Primary school teachers earn 91% and lower secondary teachers 100% of the average earnings of full-time tertiary educated workers, while upper secondary teachers earn 106% on average. While the starting salary is comparatively high, there is only moderate career progression (21% after 15 years, substantially below the EU average of 40%)11. Teaching career prospects have improved due to teacher shortages, leading to higher salaries and the re-introduction of civil servant status, particularly in the eastern regions. However, the perception of an unattractive profession and the increasingly complex teaching environment have made it difficult to fill vacancies. Several regions have campaigns to encourage young people to choose a career in teaching, notably North Rhine Westphalia (NRW, 2018) and Baden-Württemberg.

6. Modernising vocational education and training

Although the number of VET learners rose by 0.9%, the number of new apprenticeship contracts dropped by 1.2% in 2019. In terms of supply and demand, bottlenecks remain for apprenticeships, notably due to occupational imbalances (late September 2019: 53 100 vacancies and 24 500 applicants without apprenticeships12).

Several new pieces of legislation came into force in 2020. In January 2020, a new law was adopted to align dual VET with future requirements in five areas, by introducing a minimum training wage for apprentices, emphasising equivalence to academic qualifications by introducing new terms for advanced vocational training programmes13, expanding part-time vocational training to new target groups such as people with learning disabilities or people needing to work alongside their training, facilitating recognition of prior VET learning and reducing administrative burdens14. A Law to reform the care and nursing occupations) came into force in early 2020 with measures to increase quality and attractiveness of occupations in the sector. As part of the ‘skilled workers strategy’, the Skilled Immigration Act came into force in March 2020 granting applicants with a recognised full vocational or higher general education qualification the possibility to live and work in Germany. The new version of the law on advanced training programmes to become a master craftsman or technician, aiming to increase outreach, was approved15.

Box 1: Qualification of skilled workers in the future digitalised world of work (FachWerk)

This project (EUR 1.3 million) is co-financed (45%) by the European Social Fund and aims to establish multimedia teaching and learning arrangements for the use of ICT technologies in skilled trades, including construction. Project duration was February 2017-March 2020. Digitalisation in VET is still not very widespread. The developed method allows individualised upskilling in the form of blended learning. A variety of local partners should ensure the sustainability of this initiative.

Several measures were taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, the Federal Cabinet adopted the Law on the promotion of continuing vocational training during times of structural changes and further development of funding of vocational training assistance16. It also further developed labour market support instruments, including facilitating access to short-time work benefits and employee qualification. The Federal Education Ministry published a new funding guideline for ‘Innovation Competition INVITE (Digital Platform for Continuing Education and Training)’, which aims to develop concrete innovations for continuing vocational training, particularly in relation to digitally driven systems for information, advice and guidance17.

7. Modernising higher education

At 35.5% in 2019, the tertiary education attainment rate is increasing slowly, by 6.1 pps since 2009. Germany is the only EU country with practically no gender gap (0.8 p.p.). Tertiary attainment varies widely between regions, from 51.3% in Berlin to 21.1% in Brandenburg. The number of new entrants to higher education at bachelor level is broadly unchanged since 2015. The participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds remained stable at around 30% for over a decade (Autorengruppe, 2018). In contrast did foreign-born students increase their participation in ten years by over 10 pps to 34.2% in 2019, very close to the average and a much lower gap than throughout the EU. At 35%, Germany continues to have the highest proportion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates in the EU: 40.1% at bachelor, 30.1% at master and 47.3% at PhD level. The share of female graduates in STEM subjects amounts to 28% compared to 51% in all subjects, with a STEM gender gap around the EU average18. The number of annual new STEM entrants decreased slightly in 2013-2018, particularly in engineering, but increased in ICT19. Recent tertiary graduates integrate very well into the labour market (94.7% in 2019), marginally higher than recent VET graduates (ISCED 3-4) at 93.4%20, both well above the EU average employment rates.

Box 2: Germany is well integrated into international education, with a high share of outgoing and incoming students

In 2018, 19.9% of tertiary graduates either obtained their degree abroad or spent a short time abroad during their studies. Most mobility is at master level (25.3%). The highest share of full degree mobility is for short-cycle tertiary education, followed by doctorate education (10.7%). Regarding inward degree mobility, Germany attracts students from abroad, particularly at doctorate (21.0%) and master levels (14.6%). While a high proportion of foreign graduates come from the EU (25.6%) and non-EU European countries (13.7%), a significant share comes from Asia (37.0%) and, to a lesser extent, Africa (6.7%) and the Americas21.

Student numbers have increased faster than funding in higher education, causing regional disparities. Student numbers keep increasing22, by +37% over 10 years. Student teacher ratios vary considerably by region: Mecklenburg Vorpommern has 9 students per fulltime teacher equivalent,, and North Rhine-Westphalia and Bremen 18. While public expenditure has increased by 35.9% in nominal terms over the last decade, an investment gap remains. Two important funding instruments were signed between the regions and the federal level in 2019 (‘Future contract for strengthening study and training’, ‘Agreement on innovation in higher education teaching’) (Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy, 2020). Opportunities for part-time study are generally lacking, making it difficult to combine studying with work, and also representing an impediment to upskilling23. Even though the Federal Constitutional Court has declared the system unconstitutional and accepts only differentiation according to the ‘suitability’ of students, 40% of study courses still have managed admission.

Higher education institutions dealt successfully with COVID-19. The higher education vacation period in Germany is usually from mid-February to mid-April. This limited the immediate COVID-19 impact and gave German universities nearly a month to prepare. The Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, a think tank platform, played an important role24; 90% of participating institutions considered themselves well prepared in a survey conducted in early April25. Higher education during the summer semester was digital, ensuring access for foreign students who may lack full credentials.

8. Promoting adult learning

In 2019, Germany launched some promising reforms to improve upskilling and reskilling, yet there is potential to do more. Participation in adult learning, at 8.2%, is below the EU average of 10.8%. In addition, on average only 4.1% of the low-skilled participated in training (in the 4 weeks before being surveyed), just short of the EU average of 4.3%26. Recent reform initiatives include the ‘Qualifications Opportunities Act’ (Qualifizierungschancengesetz), which improves access to and financial support for further education of employees whose jobs are at risk of being replaced by new technologies. The national skills strategy (Nationale Weiterbildungsstrategie), adopted in 2019, combines federal with regional programmes. It is expected to improve transparency and accessibility, better recognise informal skills and guide the low-skilled to formal qualifications, including through partial qualifications27.

9. References

Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung (2018), Bildung in Deutschland 2018.

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2017), IT-Ausstattung an Schulen: Kommunen brauchen Unterstützung für milliardenschwere Daueraufgabe. November 2017.

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2018). Monitor Lehrerbildung Lehramtsstudium in der digitalen Welt – Professionelle Vorbereitung auf den Unterricht mit digitalen Medien, May 2018.

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2019). Steigende Schülerzahlen im Primarbereich: Lehrkräftemangel deutlich stärker als von der KMK erwartet. September 2019.

Bitkom (2015), Digitale Schule – vernetztes Lernen. February 2015.

Cedefop ReferNet (2020), Germany: 2020 update of VET policy developments in the deliverables agreed in the 2015 Riga conclusions. Unpublished, BMBF Berufsbildungsbericht. 2020, %202020 %20final %20ohne %20Vorwort_Sperrfrist %2006-05-2020 %2010.15 %20Uhr_.pdf

Deutscher Bildungsserver (2020a). Lehrerbedarf und Lehrerbedarfsprognosen: Welche Lehrer werden in den Bundesländern gebraucht? 17 January 2020.

Deutscher Bildungsserver (2020b). Das ‘Gute-Kita-Gesetz’ und seine Umsetzung in den Ländern.

Deutscher Bildungsserver (2020c). Quereinsteiger / Seiteneinsteiger. 18 February 2020.

DJI (2019). Deutsches Jugendinstitut. Kosten des Ausbaus der Ganztagsgrundschulangebote. 11 October 2019.

European Commission (2019a), Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).

European Commission (2019b), Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), 2019 Country Report, Germany

European Commission (2019c), Digital Education at School in Europe, Eurydice.

European Commission (2019d), 2nd Survey of Schools: ICT in Education.

European Commission/ECEA/Eurydice (2019e), Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care (2019).

European Commission (2019f), PISA 2018 and the EU. Striving for fairness through education.

European Commission (2020g), European Semester Country Report Germany.

European Commission (2020f), Education and Training Monitor 2019 - Germany 2019.

Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy (2020), National Reform Programme.

Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (2020), Digital Masterplan.

Fraillon J. et al. (2018), Preparing for Life in a Digital World, IEA International Literacy Study 2018 – International Report.

Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) (2019a), KfW-Kommunalpanel 2019, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Frankfurt am Main,

OECD (2018): Engaging Young Children – Lessons from Research about Quality in Early Childhood Education. and Care.

OECD (2019 Vol. I), PISA 2018 Results (Volume I): What Students Know and Can Do, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2019 Vol II), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2019 Vol III), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS,

OECD (2019a), Working and Learning Together: Rethinking Human Resource Policy for Schools, OECD Reviews of School Resources, OECD Publishing, Paris.

OECD (2019b). Starting strong 2018, Paris: OECD Publishing.

OECD (2019c), Education at a Glance 2019: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2020), Education Policy Outlook Germany, June 2020,

Schulbarometer (2020). COVID-19 –aktuelle Herausforderungen in Schule und Bildung. 15 May 2020.

Stifterverband (2016). Investitionslücke von 26 Milliarden Euro an deutschen Hochschulen. 12 October 2016.

Vodafone Stiftung Deutschland (2020a). Umfrage: Eltern während Schulschließungen unter Druck.

Vodafone Stiftung Deutschland (2020b). Schule auf Distanz – Perspektiven und Empfehlungen für den neuen Schulalltag. 5 May 2020.

Annex I: Key indicators sources

Indicator Eurostat online data code
Early leavers from education and training edat_lfse_14 + edat_lfse_02
Tertiary educational attainment edat_lfse_03 + edat_lfs_9912
Early childhood education educ_uoe_enra10
Underachievement in reading, maths and science OECD (PISA)
Employment rate of recent graduates edat_lfse_24
Adult participation in learning trng_lfse_03
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP gov_10a_exp
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student educ_uoe_fini04
Learning mobility:
- Degree-mobile graduates
- Credit-mobile graduates
DG EAC computation based on Eurostat / UIS / OECD data

Annex II: Structure of the education system

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2020. The Structure of the European Education Systems 2019/2020: Schematic Diagrams. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Comments and questions on this report are welcome and can be sent by email to:



1 CT is defined as an individual’s ability to recognise aspects of real-world problems which are appropriate for computational formulation and to evaluate and develop algorithmic solutions to those problems so that the solution could be operationalised with a computer.

2 Eurostat: [isoc_sk_dskl_i].

3 ICILS T6.1/6.2. Only 23% use ICT every day v 72% in Denmark and 48% on average, but 70% prepare lessons (5 pps below average and 9 pps below Denmark).

4 For instance, only 5 of 16 regions had included digital media in their exam framework for teacher education.

5 In 2017 69% of under-3s and 65% of 3-5-year-olds. Eurydice, TALIS Strong 71%.

6 Childcare Funding Act 2008.

7 89% of pedagogical staff in Autorengruppe 2018.

8 PISA isolation index: DE (0.72) compared to the EU average (0.68). The isolation index is derived from the exposure index, and ranges from 0 to 1. The lowest value (0) is observed when the two subgroups are clustered in the same schools; the highest value (1) is observed when they are clustered in different schools.

9 The difference amounts to –69 score points. 12 EU countries perform better and 14 worse, the OECD average is -48.

10 The share of over-60s increased in 10 years from 8% to 14% in 2016.

11 OECD at a Glance 2019 compares USD figures on PPP basis and contains an EU average of the 23 participating countries.

12 BMBF Berufsbildungsbericht 2020.

13 Examples include: Certified Professional Specialist (EQF level 5), ‘Bachelor professional’ (EQF level 6) and ‘Master professional’ (EQF level 7).

14 Cedefop VET report Germany 2020.

15 BMBF (2020): Weiterkommen mit dem Aufstiegs-BAföG.

16 Deutscher Bundesrat (2020): Gesetz zur Förderung der beruflichen Weiterbildung im Strukturwandel und zur Weiterentwicklung der Ausbildungsförderung. Drucksache 197/20.

17 Report on national developments in adult learning for Germany, 2020.

18 Eurostat, [educ_uoe_grad02].

19 Eurostat, [educ_uoe_ent02].

20 Eurostat, Labour Force Survey, [edat_lfse_24].

21 Calculations by DG EAC, based on UOE data.

22 2 897 300 students are enrolled in the winter semester 2019/2020.

23 The share of part-time students amounts to 7.1%.It has slightly decreased since 2000. It is much higher in some regions, e.g. 20.7% in Hamburg and 14% in North Rhine-Westphalia (Expert, 2020).



26 Eurostat, 2019.

27 EU Semester Country Report Germany 2020,