OECD Report Confirms Solid German Educational System
Enlarge image (© picture alliance / JOKER) In a recent report on education from the Organization for Economic Coordination and Development (OECD), Germany fared very well among other OECD countries, not to mention in its own right. Ultimately the 2012 iteration of the OECD's annual “Education at a Glance 2012” revealed unambiguous differences across the globe in categories as disparate as early childhood education, education spending and graduation rates.
“The current report exhibits the effectiveness of the German educational system,” said Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. From early childhood instruction through higher education, the fluid cooperation within the German system reveals itself to be very efficient, according to Secreatry Quennet-Thielen. “This is a fundamental precondition for the economic success of our country,” said the state secretary. “Low unemployment … is the best proof that our strategy of investing in education is the correct one. This is particularly evident now, during the euro-zone crisis.”
Indeed, while the worldwide slowdown of 2008 hit many young people particularly hard in OECD countries, Germany's youth have found something beyond idleness for their hands. On the so-called NEET, the OECD's yardstick measuring the amount of 15-29 year-olds not involved in education, employment or training, Germany weighs in at a slight 12 percent, compared to the OECD average of 15.8 percent. And it is not only the young that have been working: From 2008 to 2010, unemployment in Germany dropped in every educational attainment level measured by the OECD.
From the perspective of money, German public and private spending on education increased by 4.9 percent between 2008 and 2009, whereas the public budget for education distended over the same period to 10.5 percent. Neither of these increases is incredibly large, but they demonstrate Germany's continued commitment to funding educational endeavors. Moreover, German teachers' salaries are demonstrably higher than in most OECD countries, something that is perhaps a deeper measurement of the overall quality of a teaching corps – one which churns out youth unprepared for idleness and ripe for work.
- Ninety-six percent of German four-year-olds go to school, according to the OECD report, far above the 79 percent averaged by other countries. Among children of three, the gap between Germany and other OECD countries was closer to a gorge: Germany recorded 89 percent in school, in stark contrast to the 66-percent OECD mean.
- The amount of German first-year students, at 517,000 in 2011, reached a high-water mark.
- The college graduation rate in Germany continued to rise, from 14 percent in 1995 to 30 percent in 2010.
- Some 86 percent of Germans aged 25-64 have finished upper-secondary education, compared to a 74-percent OECD average and a 75-percent showing within the European Union.
- A full 42 percent of German youth is expected to enroll in what the OECD calls tertiary-type A (thoroughgoing, academically oriented) programs during their lifetime, an increase from 1995's 26 percent. In a complementary fashion, 21 percent are expected to start a tertiary-type B (shorter, more vocational) course of study, up just slightly from 1995's 13 percent.
These numbers indicate the consistently effective approach Germany has implemented to educate her citizens. The best example of this Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/ dpa) continued excellence may be the dual-track vocational institution in Germany, which continually serves as a model to other countries of how to unite vocational training with on-the-job skills. Especially in states that lack this link between the classroom and the workplace, the dual-track vocational system is instructive.
In sum, the multi-pronged German approach to education bears its own success throughout the OECD report. Especially during these down-sloping years of economic contraction, Germany has maintained education investment and quality, thereby driving a prepared workforce, which itself vouchsafes the ultimate claim to educational success: results afterward. Indeed, Germany can boast of a Europe-low, 7.9-percent youth unemployment rate in June 2012 and of being the only country in the OECD report to enjoy a falling away in the jobless rate at every level of educational attainment.