Education justice – we have in Germany! Or? Unfortunately, a recent study by UNICEF proves the opposite. What this means for communities that want to create the same educational opportunities for their inhabitants, you will find out below.
What is fair? This question is currently until 17 November, a whole theme week of the ARD after. Reason enough in the light of the day of education to raise the issue of educational justice in Germany. Do all people in Germany really have the same opportunity to obtain education and to participate in the education system – regardless of their ethnic or social origin, their economic performance or their religious or political views?
The first impulse may be to answer this question with a courageous “Of course!”. On closer examination, however, educational justice in Germany has been an illusion for many years. Again and again, international studies show a significant educational disadvantage due to the social status and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research must state that in Germany, the dependence of student performance on the socioeconomic background of the parents is still higher than in many other countries.
Educational inequalities in early childhood, primary and secondary education
Very recently, a study by the Innocenti Research Institute of UNICEF confirms this finding impressively: In the study “An unfair start to life”, educational inequalities were identified in 41 countries of the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) early childhood education, primary and secondary education. The focus was on the extent to which factors such as the parents’ profession, migration background, gender and the different types of schools in the respective countries influence these inequalities. The sad result: Germany achieved in comparison with the other countries studied ranked 23 only one rank in the lower midfield. With the discrepancy in the reading competence between the highest-performing and under performing children at the age of ten years, Germany is even only in the lower third of the international ranking list. Overall, 19 percent of ten-year-old students in Germany do not achieve the basic level of competence for their age group. And about 16 percent of students aged fifteen do not attain a level of reading literacy in Germany that is a prerequisite for effective and productive participation in society. Overall, 19 percent of ten-year-old students in Germany do not achieve the basic level of competence for their age group. And about 16 percent of students aged fifteen do not attain a level of reading literacy in Germany that is a prerequisite for effective and productive participation in society. Overall, 19 percent of ten-year-old students in Germany do not achieve the basic level of competence for their age group. And about 16 percent of students aged fifteen do not attain a level of reading literacy in Germany that is a prerequisite for effective and productive participation in society.
An indictment of the German education system. In the truest sense of the word, because this study also shows, among other things, a direct correlation between the educational level and the economic situation of the parents and the educational success of their children. A vicious circle, because the educational success of the children, in turn, depends on their career opportunities and thus their income level: Under certain circumstances, poverty is passed on from one generation to the next and thus perpetuated.
Successful educational planning only together with poverty prevention approaches
Who wants to turn on the screw “education” in society and create equal opportunities, so cannot help but consider the intersections of other social factors: If education depends on such a degree of socioeconomic status, successful education planning can actually only together with poverty-preventive Succeed approaches. And the erosion of traditional socialization and integration mechanisms, such as family and neighborhood, means that the existing educational institutions have to evolve into central places of learning and integration: Educational planning can therefore not ignore aspects of social and youth welfare planning.
In short, integrated strategic planning is needed above all in counties and independent cities (“municipalities”), which (in addition to the federal and state governments), as bearers of kindergartens, schools, and youth welfare institutions, are largely responsible for the on-site education and, for example through museums and theaters also provide comprehensive life-related cultural and non-formal education experiences.
Interdisciplinary approach of municipal education planning, school development, and youth welfare planning
The goal must be a multidisciplinary approach of municipal education planning, school development, and youth welfare planning, which brings together municipal school and youth and social administration in a common office or department. The existing social infrastructure, life situations, and social structure data in the community must be analyzed and described as small as possible in order to derive the need for action and the resulting measures. This creates new opportunities for networking and exchanging municipal (internal and external) actors and establishing effective care structures.
Due to the highly individual requirements in the municipalities, it cannot be universally answered here how best to build and implement such integrated social planning. So, if you work in a county or county-level city and you are interested in implementing integrated strategic planning, it is best to contact the local transfer agency, where you will find contact persons, municipalities, within the Transfer Initiative Municipal Education Management “Advice and support in the introduction of a municipal education management – completely free.
And maybe the next study on educational justice in Germany looks a bit better.