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OECD: Education deficit threatens nation's future

The Local · 7 Sep 2010, 16:57

Published: 07 Sep 2010 16:57 GMT+02:00

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Just 25 percent of young people finish a university course in Germany, compared to an average of 38 percent among the world’s 30 major industrial countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development concluded.

Its 500-page report, “Education at a glance,” has highlighted the bleak situation Germany faces in maintaining its high-tech, export-driven economy without bringing in skilled immigrants.

Germany is also lagging in how much it spends on education: it invests just 4.7 percent of its GDP on education, compared with the OECD average of 6.2 percent.

Only Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Italy spend less.

The biggest spenders are the United States, South Korea and Denmark – all of whom spend more than 7 percent of the GDP.

Despite the world financial crisis, the need for graduates has climbed in Germany as it has for all industrial nations, said Heino von Meyer, the German OECD spokesman.

“There is no end to the demands for high qualifications on the worldwide job market,” he said.

Although Germany’s university attendance rate has actually improved in recent years, its youngsters are still the least likely to go to university of all the industrial nations other than Turkey, Belgium and Mexico.

A university degree is the best protection against unemployment and the best guarantee of a high income in all of the countries under investigation, the report said.

In Germany, a graduate earns on average 67 percent more than worker who had on-the-job training. Barely any other country has such a wide gulf.

In the face of falling birth rates in almost all industrial nations, qualification standards urgently needed to be raised to compensate, the report said. The baby-boomer generation that is now starting to retire could not be replaced with the current number of university students and graduates, Meyer warned.

Education Minister Annette Schavan pointed out that according to German figures, 43 percent of people in the age group studied by the OECD were in some kind of post-secondary school study, though that included foreign students from outside the European Union, whose residency prospects were not certain.

Without foreign students included, the OECD report said, 36 percent of young people in Germany were studying.

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Schavan stressed that since 2007 the federal and state governments between them had invested €1 billion to enable an extra 90,000 young people to study at university.

By 2015 a further €3.6 billion would be spent on creating places for a further 270,000 students.

“This money is well-spent,” she said.

DAPD/The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:35 September 7, 2010 by quantumsprung
This is so late. The German higher education system has been needing reform for at least 25 years, as it hasn't worked since then. Statistics revealed 10 YEARS AGO that the market had already fallen behind in graduating engineers ALONE. Can we get some management going here?? And then we need to get this management SKILL going in companies so that they are able to differentiate what an appropriate candidate is and hire the right people. So over this.
21:13 September 7, 2010 by NYsteve
@small town boy....

Exactly right! I graduated from college BUT learned more after! and still do!
00:28 September 8, 2010 by Z15
I feel that given time and opportunity to foreigners from different countries. Surely skilled workers world wide would be more then happy to support Germany in their growth to study and work harder. With the competition from else where this will stimulate the youngsters to "wake up" and generate more positive mindsets and pursue their dreams.


01:18 September 8, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, I have very simple and practical solutions.

Elect honest, moral, everyday people, not politicians, to lead the country.

And make non-emotionalism the primary focus of education.

With knowledege comes choices. Some things in life are easy.
08:26 September 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Logic Guy is a stunning example of what happens when educational opportunities are squandered.
09:13 September 8, 2010 by tallady

Why do you ridicule other peoples comments??,If you have something constructive to say then say it with out all the personnel abuse. I am tired of your self righteous, I know it better than anyone one else comments .
09:46 September 8, 2010 by catjones
First the germans need to learn how to use email. Second, the reply button. Third, the Reply All button.
12:00 September 8, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Use email? Didn't got the sarcasm?

The problem of germany is even if you have a good university degree from a reputable german institution and a excellent qualification, even if you can communicate well in german, they rather not hire (in some cases, not generalizing) cause you are an auslander.

And the other problem is that fees are so low and bafog is so comfy good there is no rush for german students to finish. They just go failing around, changing courses, etc... Barbecue and WoW everyone likes, people are always talking about university and how hard they have to study, their struggle in courses but I don't see them doing too much to finish quickly.

I think german university system is like the 2nd best in Europe after UK (talking in term of university ratings), but it seems that attracts less to people than UK one. Well I'm no expert in these topic, just my 2 cents...
15:46 September 8, 2010 by chimpansi
DinhoPilot, Do you realize you are making same comment twice!!
15:51 September 8, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Yeap... sorry ma bad!
17:05 September 8, 2010 by arjenkamphuis
I'm not sure what the OECD numbers are measuring but it would seem they measure easy-to-measure things like the amount of money a country spends. We only have to look at health-care expenditures in say, Costa Rica and the US to know that this is a bullshit way of determining anything important like the actual health, well being or life expectancy resulting from those expenditures.

The it stands this problem may be easily rectified by re-naming all schools to 'University'.
10:49 September 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
tallady --

Thanks for the gratuitous lecture. I sometimes ridicule Logic Guy's comments because they are inherently ridiculous. I usually just ignore them for the same reason.

I have posted many comments on these threads on many different subjects. If you object to my opinions, comments or tone, feel free to ignore them. If you want to debate an issue in a thoughtful way, I invite you to do so. It is not I who is "self-righteous," as righteousness doesn't enter the equation. I simply don't suffer fools gladly, and I strenuously resist the temptation to sink to the level of idiocy demonstrated by a few of the contributors to this forum. And, for the record, I don't give a damn what you're tired of.
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