European Education Area Progress Report 2021

Education and Training Monitor 2021


1. Key indicators

Figure 1 – Key indicators overview
Germany EU-27
2010 2020 2010 2020
EU-level targets 2030 target
Participation in early childhood education
(from age 3 to starting age of compulsory primary education)
≥ 96% 95.8%13 94.0%19 91.8%13 92.8%19
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills < 15% 29.2%13,† 33.2%18 : :
Low achieving 15-year-olds in: Reading < 15% 18.5%09,b 20.7%18 19.7%09,b 22.5%18
Maths < 15% 18.7%09 21.1%18 22.7%09 22.9%18
Science < 15% 14.8%09 19.6%18 17.8%09 22.3%18
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) < 9% 11.8%b 10.1%b,p 13.8% 9.9%
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning ≥ 60% : : : :
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) ≥ 45% (2025) 26.0%b 35.1%b,p 32.2% 40.5%
Participation of adults in learning (age 25-64) ≥ 47% (2025) : : : :
Other contextual indicators
Education investment Public expedienture on education as a percentage of GDP 4.4% 4.3%19 5.0% 4.7%19
Expenditure on public and private institutions per FTE/student in € PPS ISCED 1-2 €6 66412 €7 98618 €6 07212,d €6 35917,d
ISCED 3-4 €9 05812 €10 68618 €7 36613,d €7 76217,d
ISCED 5-8 €12 95612 €13 35018 €9 67912,d €9 99517,d
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) Native 10.2%b 7.8%b,p 12.4% 8.7%
EU-born : 24.0%b,p 26.9% 19.8%
Non EU-born : 26.0%b,p 32.4% 23.2%
Upper secondary level attainment (age 20-24, ISCED 3-8) 74.6%b 79.2%b,p 79.1% 84.3%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) Native 27.0%b 35.1%b,p 33.4% 41.3%
EU-born : 38.9%b,p 29.3% 40.4%
Non EU-born : 33.3%b,p 23.1% 34.4%

Sources: Eurostat (UOE, LFS, COFOG); OECD (PISA). 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; the indicator used (ECE) refers to early-childhood education and care programmes which are considered by the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to be ‘educational’ and therefore constitute the first level of education in education and training systems – ISCED level 0; FTE = full-time equivalent; b = break in time series, d = definition differs, p = provisional, := not available, 09 = 2009, 17 = 2017, 18 = 2018, 19 = 2019; † = Met guidelines for sampling participation rates only after replacement schools were included.

Figure 2 - Position in relation to strongest and weakest performers

Source: DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, based on data from Eurostat (LFS 2020, UOE 2019) and OECD (PISA 2018).

2. Highlights

  • Germany is increasing education spending to invest in digitalisation, early childhood education and care, and all-day schooling but investment needs remain.
  • Due to an increase in student numbers and an ageing teaching workforce, Germany faces an increasing shortage of teachers and needs to invest more in training and attracting enough teachers.
  • German schools, students and teachers were not well prepared for distance learning  during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Germany is investing in new teaching practices and teacher training.
  • Available places for dual vocational education and training (VET) dropped significantly in 2020, but central and regional governments support stakeholders in increasing supply as well as strengthening reskilling and upskilling.

3. A focus on well-being in education and training

Well-being is important in Germany, but it is an implicit concept grounded in the notion of ‘good education’. German education policies and measures aim to ensure ‘good education’, which is supposed to support the well-being of students. Improving the quality of education is monitored constantly. The Conference of Regional Education Ministers (KMK) already defined seven fields of intervention in 2002, ranging from improving language and reading skills to supporting disadvantaged students. Inclusion and well-being are strongly interlinked. While well-being is a precondition for successful inclusion, inclusive education in itself has been recognised as a key factor in the well-being of students1.

Attention to well-being differs by education level and is mainly the responsibility of the regions. While youth welfare is managed at federal level, well-being in education is the responsibility of the regions. They run a number of programmes on mental health and design policies to tackle bullying, discrimination and radicalisation. At the level of early childhood education and care (ECEC), well-being has long been the centre of attention. Introducing more structured curricula into early education has strengthened the focus on the mental and emotional development of young children2. In higher education, the student survey reports every four years on the social situation of students, including well-being, health impairments and study difficulties. In 2016, it found that 11% of students suffer health impairments that have a potentially negative effect on their studies3. Compensation for disadvantaged students should improve their opportunities, but its scope remains limited (Ennuschat, 2019). Local student services offer students psychological counselling to help overcome a range of psychological.

An analysis of the OECD 2018 PISA shows well-being to be high in German schools, but disadvantaged students suffer. 22.7% of 15-year-old Germans reported that they were bullied at least a few times a month; just above the 22.1% EU average. However, bullying was reported much more often among disadvantaged students compared to their advantaged peers (25.6% against 19.3%). A migrant background as such had a negligible effect (0.7 pps). Three quarters of German students indicate a strong sense of belonging to school, compared to 65.2% in the EU. However, the sense of belonging in disadvantaged schools is considerably worse compared to more advantaged ones (0.31, EU 0.2). Socio-economic background has a strong negative impact on reading performance when students miss school. These observations underpin the need for additional support to disadvantaged schools and students.

Students with a migrant background skip classes more often than their native peers; missing classes has a negative impact on education outcomes. 87% of German students report that they never skip a whole day of school, above the EU average (75%). However, they often arrive to school late like their European peers. Truancy and lateness worsened slightly in Germany between 2015 and 2018 compared to the EU (4.4 pps, EU 3.0 pps). While the differences in Germany between boys and girls and between advantaged and disadvantaged students in playing truant are similar to the EU average, pupils with a migrant background tend to skip class more frequently; the gap between them and their native peers is above the EU average (8, EU 4.9). German students are less often late comparatively, with boys late more often than girls (+9.7 pps). But students with a migrant background are late much more often (+17.6 pps), registering one of the biggest gaps in the EU. Students in Germany, even when they feel they belong strongly to school, report one of the biggest changes in reading performance when skipping class or arriving late at school; this is also significantly above the EU average4.

Figure 3 – Change in reading performance when students skipped class at least once a week, PISA 2018

Source: OECD, PISA 2018. NL and PT data did not meet the PISA technical standards but were accepted as largely comparable.

COVID-19 had a significant impact on teachers. Teachers at all levels of education have experienced lower well-being, and it has got worse as the pandemic drags on. In May 2021, teachers reported greater aggression caused by COVID measures (22% physical and 25% psychological, mostly from parents)5. Teachers and school heads suffered especially due to inadequate preparation and lack of technical and pedagogical support for distance learning (European Commission, 2020). Teacher shortages have made the already high workload even worse6.

COVID-19 has taken a toll on student well-being, causing even more problems over time. It also affected young people from disadvantaged and/or migrant backgrounds more. Up to now, there is only limited evidence available on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of young people. Preliminary results indicate lower well-being for the majority of young people, which has worsened over the course of the pandemic (second wave). While 17.6% of 7-17 year-olds reported mental health problems before the pandemic, their share increased to 30.4% during the first wave and remained stable at 30.7% during the second one7. According to the COPSY study8, which is based on interviews of 7-17 year-olds across Germany, 70.7% felt burdened in the first wave. Their share increased to 82.6% in the second wave. Around two thirds (64.4%) reported that attending school and learning was difficult in the first wave, and there was no improvement in the second (63.9%) even with more experience in online learning. Young people reported fewer social contacts, but here the situation improved slightly from wave one to wave two (down from 82.8% to 76.1%). Similarly, arguments within families became slightly less frequent between waves (down from 27.6% to 23.8%). Children and adolescents reported more frequent psychosomatic complaints such as irritability, problems falling asleep and headaches. Socially disadvantaged children were particularly burdened. Good family cohesion had a protective effect and was able to mitigate the burden caused by the pandemic9. The propensity to develop anxiety issues also doubled from every eighth to every fourth child polled before and during COVID-1910. A study identified in the summer semester 2002 systematically higher stress among higher education students especially for vulnerable groups (Zimmer 2021).

4. Investing in education and training

General government expenditure on education as a proportion of GDP keeps slowly increasing in real terms. It was 4.3% in 2019, below the EU average of 4.7%. However, a real change of 2.8% between 2018 and 2019 (+1.5 pps on the previous year) hints at a potential increase but investment needs remain. Real investment increased in general much more than the EU average between 2010 and 2019 (+12.8%, EU 6.4%). It increased at all levels of education: pre-primary/primary (+33.0%), secondary (+4.1%), post-secondary (+13.4%) and higher education (+0.9%). The distribution of spending between the different education levels matched roughly the EU average in 2019, but differed on expenditure categories. Germany spent 7 pps less on employee compensation (57%), but more on intermediate consumption (+2 pps, 16%), investment (gross capital formation) (+1 pp., 8%) and other spending (+4 pps, 19 %). In 10 years, real investment dropped by 11% and intermediate consumption by 34%, whereas compensation increased by 12% and other expenditure by 22%. Due to its federal structure, the regions bear the highest share of expenditure with 3.3%, while local governments contribute 1.4% and the central government 0.4%. Compared to 2010, the share of GDP of regional governments remained stable (3.3%, -0.1 pps) in 2019, but doubled for the central government (0.4%, +0.2 pps) and strengthened for local governments (1.4%, +0.2 pps).

National statistics show a recent continuous increase in education spending at all governance levels. National public expenditure amounted to EUR150.1 billion in 2019, a 6.3% increase compared to 2018. Expenditure growth accelerated compared to the previous year (+4.5% in 2018 over 2017). Around half of the 2019 increase (49.2%) went to schools, 22.4% to ECEC and 21.4% to higher education. While 2019 federal spending compared to 2018 remained stable, the regions increased their expenditure by 7.3% and municipalities by 5.3% .Several federal initiatives support in particular the contribution of education and science to a productive and innovative economy. This includes investing EUR 1 billion in 2021 through the ‘Pact for the future’ (Zukunftspakt) and creating an additional 90 000 ECEC places while improving overall ECEC quality. This is on top of the ongoing EUR 5.5 billion ‘Good ECEC’ (Gute-KiTa) initiative, which runs until 2022. Federal support of up to EUR 3.5 billion allows further expansion of all-day schooling at primary level, to which all children will gain a right by 2025. In addition, the federal government continues to help municipalities rehabilitate schools with EUR 3.5 billion. It has also expanded the EUR 5 billion ‘Digital Pact for Schools’ (DigitalPakt Schule) with EUR 1.5 billion in additional support due to COVID-1911.

Box 1: The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP)

The plan contains grants to the tune of EUR 25.6 billion, around 9% of which is earmarked for investments related to education and training. This funding will support the ‘Digitalisation of education’ plan with expenditure on digital devices for teacher learning material and digital skills, a single digital educational platform for Germany. Under the heading ‘Strengthening social inclusion,’ 90 000 additional high-quality places in ECEC will be created, offer specific courses to close to narrow COVID-19 related learning gaps in schooling and support apprenticeships.

5. Modernising early childhood and school education

While participation in ECEC for older children is high, it has not progressed for under 3 year-olds. The participation rate in ECE was 94.0% for children between 3 and the start of compulsory primary education in 2019 (EU 92.8%). Regional values vary by 8.3 pps. However, only 31.3%12 of children under 3 (EU SILC) were in formal childcare in 2019. Children with a migrant background are underrepresented in ECEC. In the under-3 age group, they attended only half as often in 2019, and in the 3- to 6-year-old age group they trailed 19 pps behind (Autorengruppe, 2020). At more than one third of ECEC centres, more than 11% of children speak another language at home (OECD 2019). Overall, the number of children keeps increasing, and the German Education Report identifies a need for more than 370 000 additional ECEC places for under-3s by 2025, with another 225 000 places for the 3 year-old-to school age by 2030.

COVID-19 related lockdowns had a severe impact on ECEC. Facilities had to close during the three nationwide lockdowns (spring 2020, autumn/winter 2020-21 and spring 2021). However, municipalities organised emergency child care for children of critical workers. This experience fuelled public debate about the importance of ECEC, its quality, and the need of having well trained and motivated staff (European Commission 2020).

The federal government is investing heavily in improving access, provision and quality of ECEC. The most important instrument for improving ECEC is a federal law (Gute-KiTA-Gesetz) providing EUR 5.5 billion until 2022 to expand the number of ECEC places and upgrade their quality. The 2020 Gute KiTa Report13 highlighted uneven implementation in the regions. At the beginning of 2021, the government extended two programmes – ‘Kita-Einstieg: Brücken bauen in frühe Bildung’ (Day care entry: building bridges into early education) and ‘Sprach-Kitas: Weil Sprache der Schlüssel zur Welt ist’ (Language day care centres: because language is the key to the world) – making another EUR 420 million available until 2022 to improve quality. Parents increasingly see ECEC as an educational institution and demand quality institutions14.

Performance on basic skills is above the EU average but has weakened over time, with disadvantaged students showing no improvement. Overall, performance in 2018 PISA is above the EU average, particularly in science (OECD, 2019 Vol. I). In 2018, Germany had persistently more top achievers than the EU average 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 areas tested. While PISA uses a standard questionnaire across countries, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) approach compares the achievement of pupils in relation to the national curriculum. TIMSS 2019 confirms that German pupils meet their curriculum requirements to almost the same extent as other young people in the EU. Overall, they score better in mathematics than in science. Nevertheless, also according to TIMSS, German students fall 2 school years behind the best countries taking part. While the competences of German students remained relatively stable compared with 2015, they weakened significantly compared to 201115. Results also confirm the continued importance of socio-economic background. Socially disadvantaged and/or migrant students trail 1 year in mathematics and even up to 2 years in science. There has been no improvement over the years16. One fourth of students do not acquire more than basic knowledge in mathematics17, although the share has increased in science to 27.6% (Schwippert, 2020). While the competence gap between boys and girls remains stable in mathematics, it deceased in natural sciences between 2007 and 2019, to 4 points only (-11) in 201918. Many regions have reformed upper secondary education in recent years, also following financial considerations. However, early tracking continues to exist, combined with the limited ambition to reduce the impact of social disadvantage. Teachers and parents continue to influence school path preferences, perpetuating educational inequality19. Digital competences are lagging behind and depend equally on social or migrant background and around one fifth of students leaving school do not achieve basic digital competence levels required in higher education (Autorengruppe, 2020).

The rate of early leavers from education and training has stagnated, with foreign-born people most affected, and the trend to aim for higher education levels has slowed. The rate has not evolved in recent years, and was 10.1% in 2020. This is close to the EU average, and below the new EU-level target of less than 9% by 2030. More worrying is that foreign-born people (18-24) are over three times more likely to leave education and training early (25.5%) than native-born people (7.8 %). Early school leaver rates vary by region in 2019 – from 7.6% in Baden-Württemberg to 16.0% in Bremen. The upper secondary completion rate (20-24 year old), 69.4%, is just above the EU average (66.8%)20. The trend in Germany towards continuous higher qualification continues.

Demographic changes might affect the structure and distribution of schools in the future. While the overall school population remained fairly stable in 2015-2019, but is likely to grow in the future. While the number of pupils in primary school increased, student numbers in lower secondary schools and even more so in upper secondary schools fell. The KMK predicts that the total number of pupils will increase by 986 700 (9.2%), from 10.8 million in 2019 to 11.7 million by 2030. In the east part of the country, numbers will remain stable, whereas a significant increase is expected in western regions and in particular in regions formed by a single city – Bremen, Berlin and Hamburg (+15%).

Giving a right to all children to all-day primary schooling by 2025 will further increase the shortage of teachers; focus on quality of teacher education is continued. The KMK expects an additional 32 000 teachers will be needed each year until 2030. The share of teachers over 60 has increased from 8% in 2006 to 14% in 2016. Uneven teacher supply caused the share of career changers without regular teaching qualifications (‘Quereinsteiger’, see below) to quadruple from 3.2% in 2012 to 13.3% in 2018. Regional differences are substantial, ranging from 0% to 51% (Autorengruppe, 2020). The 2018 German Education Report suggests to expand teacher training capabilities, increasing the attractiveness of the profession and employing lateral entry more effectively to bridge gaps. (Autorengruppe, 2018). 13% of the 36 000 newly recruited teachers in 2018 had not completed initial teacher training (51% in Saxony, 40% in Berlin and one quarter in several other regions). Lateral entry is frequently allocated to schools or classes with particular challenging backgrounds, without the teachers necessarily being sufficiently trained for this. Since 2015, both regions and the federal level engage in ‘quality offensive teacher training’ to increase the quality and attractiveness of teacher training (Autorengruppe, 2020). Until 2023 140 projects in 131 universities will be supported21. The decision of the KMK adopted on 12 March 2020 on continued professional development partly responds to these challenges. It aims to create a ‘good teaching’ climate and help students meet educational outcomes.22

6. Modernising vocational education and training and adult learning

In 2020, the number of entrants to apprenticeships dropped by 5.6% and the number of new apprenticeship contracts by 11%23. Occupational imbalances continue to cause supply and demand bottlenecks for apprenticeships (late September 2020: 59 900 vacancies and 29 300 applicants without apprenticeships)24. There are many reasons for this, but they also relate to unattractive working conditions and pay as well as to regional differences.

Several measures have secured apprenticeships and improved the training capacity. The federal government funding programme ʻSecuring apprenticeship placementsʼ from June 2020 allocates 500 million in 2021 and EUR 200 million in 2022 to support small businesses that are willing to keep or even extend their training levels of apprentices2526. The RRP will also support the provision of training opportunities in the context of COVID-19. COVID support for upper secondary education also covers VET in part27.

Guidance has been developed further and digitalised, including on the web. The German Association for Career Guidance Training and the National Guidance Forum Germany launched various offers for guidance counsellors and the regional qualification centres. Manuals and webinars cover subjects such as data protection, new skill requirements and guidelines for crisis counselling28.The Federal Employment Agency created a user-friendly information section on its website to direct visitors to its online communication channels29.

Box 2: European structural and investment funds project – insights into sustainable careers

The ‘Green view project’ (Grünblick Projekt) helps young people with the transition from school to work in 2020-2021 by providing workshops on professional and personal development in renewable energy, food, agriculture, city and municipality, media, consumption, water, forestry, economic and financial affairs.

During the workshops, young people aged 16-25 work on their career aspirations in order to develop an understanding of which occupational fields fit their interests and are within reach. The focus is on raising awareness of the sustainability aspects of the relevant occupational fields to provide long-term career guidance for young people for a future-oriented and sustainable life. Participants will also better understand how occupations might change in view of global challenges and to contribute to a green world of work. In addition, young people learn green skills required to contribute to a sustainable future as prospective employees or entrepreneurs.

Career guidance in the project is cliché-free and gender-sensitive and aims to provide young people with long-term access to sustainability issues.

Despite promising reforms to improve upskilling and reskilling in 2019, the participation rate in adult learning and education remains a challenge. In 2020, 7.7% of adults aged 25-64 participated in learning measures in the 4 weeks before being surveyed (Labour Force Survey). Although the EU average decreased to 9.2% in 2020, Germany remains below average. The participation of low-skilled adults in adult learning also remained slightly below the EU average in 2019. In contrast, the share of unemployed adults participating in adult learning increased sharply from 8.2% in 2019 to 12.1% in 202030.

Together with the education sector as a whole, adult learning in general has suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic31. While public as well as private adult learning centres received financial support in some federal states, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research announced in April 2021 to increase its support to adult learning centres32. Increasing the number of educational staff through this short-term support should strengthen the digital learning portal to respond to the sudden increase in demand for online adult education. Resilience and well-being are not a major focus of adult learning in Germany33 that continues to focus on input and teacher-oriented education34. This leaves room for developing new innovative approaches that address individual motivation and learning interests.

7. Modernising higher education

The tertiary education attainment rate is increasing slowly, but remains below the EU average. Since 2010, the rate has increased by 9.1 pps to 35.1% in 2020. Germany trails 5.4 pps behind the EU average, and would need to further step up its efforts to meet the 45% EU-level target by 2030. It continues to have the smallest gender gap (2.5 pps), 8.3 pps below the EU average. Between 2014 and 2019, Germany increased the number of enrolled students by 13.2% while it decreased by 1% in the EU. 85% of them study in public higher education institutions and 15% in private ones. 5.6% of students finish their studies with a doctoral degree. While Germany has the highest share of doctoral degrees in Europe, numbers are declining. The share of foreign students starting at German universities continues to rise, reaching 24.4% in 2019. Foreign students coming from within the EU (less than 30%) outnumber those from outside the EU by 6.6 pps. The attainment levels of cities are almost twice as high (43%) compared to rural areas (25.4%). The participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds has remained stable for over a decade at around 30% (Autorengruppe 2018).

A sizeable share of German students continue to choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, boosting innovation and competitiveness. More than a third of German students opt for STEM subjects (37.3%). Most of them aim for a Bachelor’s degree (40.4%). At Master’s level, figures are significantly lower (29.9%) and trail Sweden for instance (34.0%). 47.3% of graduates at doctoral level help keep science and industry competitive. The share of female STEM graduates, at 25.8%, is still below the EU average (32.3%). To boost digitalisation and innovation, university buildings and facilities have to be adapted or built. Experts have identified a EUR 35 billion backlog until 2025.

Figure 4- Tertiary educational attainment (25-34) by sex, 2020

Source: Labour Force Survey, edat_lfse_03.

8. References

Autorengruppe (2018), Bildung in Deutschland 2018, Ein indikatorengestützter Bericht mit einer Analyse zu Wirkungen und Erträgen von Bildung. Bildung in Deutschland 2018. Ein indikatorengestützter Bericht mit einer Analyse zu Wirkungen und Erträgen von Bildung (

Autorengruppe (2020), Bildung in Deutschland 2020, Ein indikatorengestützter Bericht mit einer Analyse zu Bildung in einer digitalisierten Welt. wbv. Bildung in Deutschland 2020 — Bildungsbericht - DE

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2021a), ElternZOOM. Eltern ergreifen das Wort. Bedarfe und Wünsche von Eltern zur Kindertagesbetreuung in Deutschland. Bielefeld 2021.

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2021b), KiTa-Qualität aus der Perspektive von Eltern. Bielefeld 2021.

Cedefop, European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training ReferNet (2018a), Lithuania: reforming vocational education and training.  

Cedefop ReferNet (2018b), Lithuania: 2018 update of VET policy developments in the deliverables agreed in the 2015 Riga conclusions. Unpublished.

Dohmen D., Cordes M. (2021), Adult Learning – Status Report (2021). Report on National Developments in Adult Learning.

Ennuschat (2019), Nachteilsausgleiche für Studierende mit Behinderungen – Prüfungsrechtliche Bausteine einer inklusiven Hochschule. Rechtsgutachten; Deutsches Studentenwerk.

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

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

European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2021), Teachers in Europe: Careers, Development and Well-being.

Federal Ministry of Finance (2021), German Recovery and Resilience Plan. ‘Deutschen Aufbau- und Resilienzplan (DARP)’.

NESET (2021) (forthcoming), A systemic, whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing in schools in the EU. Analytical report.

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

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

OECD (2020), Education at a Glance 2020. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Reiss, K.,Weiss, M., Klieme, E. and Köller, O. (2019), (Hrsg.). PISA 2018. Grundbildung im internationalen Vergleich. Zusammenfassung.

Schwippert, K. et al. (2020), TIMSS 2019, Mathematische und naturwissenschaftliche Kompetenzen von Grundschulkindern in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich. TIMSS 2019 (

Zimmer, L., Lörz, M., Marczuk, A. (2021) Studieren in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie: Vulnerable Studierendengruppen im Fokus, DZHW BRIEF 02/2021

Annex I: Key indicators sources

Indicator Eurostat online data code
Early leavers from education and training educ_uoe_enra21
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills IEA, ICILS.
Low achieving 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science OECD (PISA)
Early leavers from education and training Main data: edat_lfse_14.
Data by country of birth:edat_lfse_02.
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2021. Source: EU LFS.
Tertiary educational attainment Main data: edat_lfse_03.
Data by country of birth: edat_lfse_9912.
Participation of adults in learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2022. Source: EU LFS.
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP gov_10a_exp
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student educ_uoe_fini04
Upper secondary level attainment edat_lfse_03

Annex II: Structure of the education system

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2021. The Structure of the European Education Systems 2021/2022: Schematic Diagrams. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Any comments and questions on this report can be sent to:


1 The KMK laid the grounds for a reorientation of school pedagogy towards inclusion with its policy paper Inclusive education of children and youth with disabilities in schools (Inklusive Bildung von Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Behinderungen in Schulen, KMK 2011). The 2014 National Education Report (Nationaler Bildungsbericht) contained a special chapter on persons with disabilities in the education system, with a detailed analysis of their needs and how Germany is responding (Nationaler Bildungsbericht 2014). 

2 For example, the KOMPIK project, developed in Bavaria, is used to observe and document the development of children between the ages of 3.5 and 6 in daycare centres (IFP 2021).

3 Studentenwerk, Sozialerhebung (social survey), Deutsches Studentenwerk 2017, p. 36.

4 Table III.B1.4.9, Student truancy and lateness, and reading performance, based on students’ reports. For skipping school, DE -75, EU -56, SE-85, SI -78.

5 Forsa, Gewalt gegen Lehrkräfte im Zusammenhang mit der Durchsetzung von Corona-Schutzmaßnahmen an der Schule,  Ergebnisse einer bundesweiten Repräsentativbefragung von Lehrerinnen und Lehrern (6.05.2021).

6 Deutsches Schulbarometer: Sind Lehrer jetzt besser auf den Fernunterricht vorbereitet? (13. Januar 2021), VBE-Umfrage zur Lage der Schulen vor und nach der Corona-Krise: Berufsunzufriedenheit im Sinkflug, technische Ausstattung miserabel (15.Mai 2020).

7 Ravens-Sieberer U. et al., Quality of Life and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of a Two-Wave Nationwide Population-Based Study.

8 COPSY study

9 Burden and mental health problems of children and adolescents in Hamburg during the COVID-19 pandemic  

10 HAG COPSY Studie Hamburg

11 National reform programme 2021, pp. 51-52.

12 Comparing 2016/2017/2018 and 2019 data reveals the following: 31.7%/30.3%/29.8% and 31.3%.

13        Gute KiTa Bericht 2020,

14 Expert, Bertelsmann Stiftung 2021a and Bertelsmann Stiftung 2021b.

15 Schwippert et al, (2020), p. 84.

16 Schwippert et al, p. 20.

17 Das Deutsche Schulportal,

18 Schwippert et al., p. 19.

19 Elter et al., p. 22.

20 Population by educational attainment level, sex and age (%) – main indicators (edat_lfse_03).

21 Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung,

22 KMK, Ländergemeinsame Eckpunkte zur Fortbildung von Lehrkräften als ein Bestandteil ihrer Professionalisierung in der dritten Phase der Lehrerbildung (Beschluss der Kultusministerkonferenz vom 12.03.2020).

23 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (2021). Vorläufiger Berufsbildungsbericht 2021.

24 Ibid.

25 Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (2020). Erste Förderrichtlinie für das Bundesprogramm „Ausbildungsplätze sichern“. (last access 04.06.2021).

26 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (2021a). Bekanntmachung zur Änderung der Zweiten Förderrichtlinie für das Bundesprogramm „Ausbildungsplätze sichern“. (last access 04.06.2021).

27 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (2021c). Corona-Hilfe I: Sofortausstattung, Corona-Hilfe II: Administration, Corona-Hilfe III: Ausstattung für Lehrkräfte.,, (last access 04.06.2021). 

28 Cedefop (2020). Note on lifelong guidance and the COVID-19 pandemic: Responses from Cedefop’s CareersNet. (last access 04.06.2021).

29 (last access 04.06.2021)

30 Eurostat (2021). European Training Monitor data 2020 – Adult Learning.

31 Dieter Dohmen & Michael Cordes (2021). Adult Learning – Status Report (2021). Report on National Developments in Adult Learning.

32 BMBF (2021). Pressemitteilung 02.04.2020 | Nr. 040/2020. Retrieved from: (15.07.2021).

33 Dieter Dohmen & Michael Cordes (2021). Adult Learning – Status Report (2021). Report on National Developments in Adult Learning.

34 Ibid.