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Germany OECD – bad marks in education

The 2008 OECD Economic Survey of Germany states that the country has been enjoying a strong cyclical rebound in economic growth after a long period of stagnation. First positive effects of past reforms are already visible. However, for high economic growth to be more enduring, economic challenges remain, notably in the fields of labour markets, fiscal policy, healthcare and education policy.

With regard to higher education, the study points out that

  • the main problem to overcome in student achievement is that socio-economic and/or immigrant backgrounds still have a large impact on outcomes;
  • tertiary attainment is low among younger generations – it is 22% for the 25-34 age group, compared with an OECD average of 32%;
  • the move to the two-tier (Bachelors/Masters degree) Bologna system should help to increase internal rates of return on university education by shortening programmes, focusing them more on occupational qualification, and reducing dropout rates;
  • the move towards giving universities the right to select their students directly should also contribute to these goals.

The Survey suggests to further education reforms to improve student achievement and to reduce the impact of socio-economic and/or immigrant backgrounds as well as to make tertiary education more attractive and responsive to labour-market requirements.

An OECD Economic Survey is published every 1½-2 years for each OECD country and for some larger countries that are not members of the OECD, such as China, Russia and Brazil. It identifies the main economic challenges faced by the country and analyses policy options to meet them. You can find all Economic Surveys catalogued by country on the OECD website.

OECD Economic Survey of Germany