The German education system is well positioned in international comparison in the areas of early childhood education and higher degrees. On the other hand, there is a need to catch up in terms of basic education funding and gender equality, as shown by an annual comparison of countries by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report entitled "Education at a Glance" compares the education systems and expenditure of the 36 OECD countries and 10 other countries.
This year, the focus was on the so-called tertiary education, which includes technical schools, vocational colleges and universities such as universities or polytechnics. The authors of the study note that the area of higher degrees has developed positively in Germany: in 2018, one in three young adults in Germany had a university or technical college degree, ten years earlier, only one in four.
Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) pointed out that Germany is ahead in the subjects of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology (MINT). Just over every third graduate with a higher education degree has a MINT degree, according to the OECD report, compared to only one in four in the OECD. Germany invests 43% of its funds in research and development, which is the second largest share of all countries after Sweden.
More than half of all adults in Germany also participate in lifelong learning, Karliczek said. Striking in international comparison are the high participation rates across all age groups.
Still salary differences
But the report also shows problems: Although about the same number of men and women now achieve higher degrees, but the salary, there are still large differences. "The pay gap is higher in Germany at higher education levels than the average of the OECD countries, especially among the 35- to 44-year-olds," says the report.
In addition, the OECD criticizes the financing of elementary schools in Germany: Particularly where education disadvantages could be compensated, investments in Germany are comparatively low. On the other hand, for investments in early childhood education, care and education for those aged three to five, Germany is above the OECD average. According to the OECD, the rate rose from 88 percent to 95 percent between 2005 and 2017. The total expenditure for the offers amounts to 0.9 per cent of the German gross domestic product (GDP). This is slightly more than the average of all OECD members, which is 0.8 percent.
Overall, Germany invests 4.2 percent of its economic output in education, slightly below the OECD average of five percent.