How do Germany's federal states compare on quality of education?

How do Germany's federal states compare on quality of education?

Which federal state in Germany has the best education system? Which states are making improvements and where is there still need for change? These are the questions asked by the annual INSM “Education Monitor” (Bildungsmonitor). 

The INSM Bildungsmonitor 2021

Every year, the New Social Market Economy Initiative (INSM) publishes an assessment of teaching quality across Germany’s 16 federal states, looking at all stages of education, from kindergarten, through primary and secondary school, to higher education and beyond.

The comparative study uses 93 indicators across 12 different categories - such as average budget per pupil, the ratio between teachers and students, and the proportion of younger teachers - to assess the extent to which a federal state reduces educational poverty, contributes to securing skilled workers, and promotes growth - and ultimately ranks the federal states from best to worst, according to the quality of education they provide. 

Saxony comes out on top

As in previous years, the state of Saxony comes top in the 2021 INSM Education Monitor, followed by Bavaria and Hamburg. The eastern state is praised, among other things, for its high quota of full-day care, and the good performance of its students in maths and science subjects. Bavaria, on the other hand, scores highly on educational equality, the number of apprenticeships and the proportion of school leavers with qualifications. 

The bottom of the list is made up of Bremen in 16th place, followed by Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Berlin. Bremen’s relatively low score reflects the fact that students achieve comparatively poor results in competence tests, and that foreign students rarely get an Abitur, often leaving school without any qualifications at all. 

The German states with the best education systems

Overall, Germany’s federal states were ranked as follows:

For more details about the study, visit the INSM Education Monitor website (in German).



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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