German education fails to boost social mobility | News | DW | 11.09.2012
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German education fails to boost social mobility

German teenagers are failing to secure a better education than their parents, a report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has said. Nevertheless youth unemployment is on the decline.

The report presented in Berlin on Tuesday revealed that young people in Germany are finding it harder to use education to move up the social mobility ladder than teenagers elsewhere within nations represented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

According to the annual "Education at a Glance" report, just 20 percent of 25-34 year-olds in Germany leave education with a higher educational qualification than their parents. That is compared to an average of 37 percent of young people across the 34 nations represented by the OECD. A further 22 percent of young people in Germany don't acquire the same level of education as their parents, compared to an OECD average of 13 percent.

"Education, employment and prosperity are closely linked," Barbara Ischinger, head of the OECD Directorate for Education said, when presenting her findings. In order to increase prosperity and tackle social inequality, education has to be improved, she added.

Britain, France, Italy and Poland stood out among the countries who rated highly on the so-called "education mobility rate."

Unaffected by economic crisis

But the OECD study didn't hold just bad news for Germany on Tuesday. While youth unemployment was found to have risen in across the board, most notably in Spain, in Germany the economic crisis appeared to have had little impact.

In 2010 the proportion of 15-29 year-olds who were not in employment, education or professional training stood at 12 percent, well below the OECD average of 15.8 percent. That amounts to some 1.7 million young people.

Indeed according to the report Germany was the only country in the OECD where the unemployment rate between 2008 and 2010 declined across all educational groups. Within the highly-skilled category, which encompasses University graduates, just 3.1 percent were unemployed in 2010. That is down from 3.3 percent in 2008.

Among the young people with a high school-level education that figure fell from 7.2 percent to 6.9 percent. Even within the low-skilled group, it dropped from 16.5 to 15.9 percent.

On average the unemployment rate rose across OECD countries, in particular among the low-skilled group, where it rose from 8.8 to 12.5 percent within the same period.

ccp/sej (dpa, dapd, AFP, Reuters)