85 percent of Germans dissatisfied with the education system, survey reveals

85 percent of Germans dissatisfied with the education system, survey reveals

A large majority of the population of Germany believes education in the federal republic doesn’t adequately prepare children and teenagers for leaving school. Coronavirus-related school closures are a major concern and centralisation of the education system is a solution, according to survey respondents.

People in Germany unhappy with schooling standards

A staggering 85 percent of people are dissatisfied with schools and educational policy in Germany, according to a recent representative survey by the Forsa Institute. 85 percent of survey respondents said that they believed the German education system did not sufficiently equip children and young adults for leaving school.

To remedy these shortcomings, 73 percent of respondents said that education policy in Germany should be more centralised. Currently, individual federal states are responsible for their own education policy.

Pupils’ delayed learning caused by school closures during the coronavirus pandemic was among the biggest concerns for respondents. Recent data from Destatis revealed that the number of children repeating an academic year increased by 67 percent between 2021 to 2022; the academic year 2021 / 22 saw 155.800 pupils retake a year. The survey results also come as Germany reckons with a debilitating teacher shortage, with between 32.000 and 40.000 posts unfilled.

Dissatisfaction with education transcends political alliances

Across the political spectrum people in Germany are dissatisfied with the quality of education in the federal republic to different extents, with the largest discrepancy being between SPD (79 percent) and AfD (91 percent) voters.

A geographical divide is also noticeable but slight, with an overwhelming 89 percent of people in eastern Germany reporting that they believe teenagers do not leave school with all the skills and knowledge required for adult life, compared to 85 percent in western Germany.

Respondents were also asked how they would measure the school system in Germany today with their own educational experience. To this, only 13 percent said that they believed children today were getting a better quality education than they had received 30 or 40 years ago. 

In this case, the geographical divide reappeared, with 69 percent of those who were educated in the GDR saying that their education was of a higher standard than is available today, compared to 55 percent of those taught in West Germany.

Thumb image credit: CL-Medien /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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