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Merkel hits the road for German education offensive

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07:54 CEST+02:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a national education offensive beginning with a fact-finding tour the length and breadth of the country.

She said on Thursday her trip would take her from "kindergartens to night schools for seniors, from technical schools to private parent initiatives, talking to experts and citizens."

Germany, which likes to tout itself as the land of poets and thinkers, must once again "become the republic of education," she said in a speech. "Prosperity for all means education for all."

The German engineering sector has helped Europe's biggest economy hold its own against cutthroat competition from Asia and remain the world's top exporter.

But firms have begun to complain of a lack of qualified young employees and the country's schools came in for heavy criticism in April in a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Merkel, in power since 2005 and up for re-election next year, said a national education summit would take place in October together with representatives of Germany's 16 states, which are responsible for the country's schools.

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