Speaking to radio station Deutschlandfunk, Schavan admitted there were “weak points” to recent reforms to universities and schools, but said students were being unrealistic.
“These protests are partially outdated looking at the demands,” she told the broadcaster, adding that students had to realise that Germany had become part of a European education system.
German university students are particularly unhappy about the country's decision to model its degrees on more internationally recognised bachelor and master degrees, which many argue does not allow for in-depth exploration of a subject.
Before Germany moved to implement the EU's so-called Bologna reform ten years ago, it was not uncommon for German students to spend a decade at university before finishing with a degree.
Wednesday will see the high point of the education strikes this week, the anniversary of the Bologna reform. Student organisers hope some 150,000 people will take part in demonstrations across Germany.