Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Education – Continuously improving education and vocational training

Indicator 4.1.a: Early school leavers

(Evaluation of the development of Germany in the reporting year 2019 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

Selection

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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The indicator shows the percentage of all people in the 18 to 24 age group who neither possess a university entrance qualification, such as an Abitur or Fachhochschulreife (entrance qualification for universities of applied sciences), nor have completed a course of vocational training and who are not currently undergoing training or continuing education.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The state education system and the dual system of vocational training are the cornerstones of a forward-looking qualifications regime for young people in Germany. The absence of educational and vocational training certificates implies an increased risk of poverty and hence a greater strain on social welfare systems. The target for 2030 is to lower the percentage of early school leavers to 9.5%.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

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Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-10: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

The term “early school leavers” does not refer to young “high-flyers” who achieve a school leaving certificate before the end of the normal period of schooling. Nor should the term be confused with school drop-outs. On the contrary, it refers to people between 18 and 24 years of age who neither possess a university entrance qualification, such as an Abitur or Fachhochschulreife, nor have completed a course of vocational training and who are not currently undergoing training or continuing education. This means that even those young people who, for example, have successfully completed lower secondary education at a Hauptschule or intermediate secondary education at a Realschule but are no longer in the education process are counted as early school leavers.

The data for this indicator originate from the microcensus, which is based on an annual sample survey covering 1% of the population. It cannot be elicited from the indicator when respondents last attended an educational establishment or what type of establishment it was. Additional information is provided by the annual school statistic, coordinated by the Länder that are published by the Federal Statistical Office.

In 2019, the indicator value was 10.3%. This corresponds to a total of 625,000 young people who had not successfully completed upper secondary school and who were not, or were no longer, undergoing education or training. The indicator value had risen slightly since 2014, when it was 9.5%, and so the trend had moved in the wrong direction. If the current trend were to continue, the target of 9.5% for 2030 would not be met.

As for gender-specific indicator rates, there were no systematic differences between men and women for the period between 1999 and 2005. Since 2006, the rate for women has been lower than that for men. The values in 2019, for instance, were 8.7% for women and 11.8% for men.

According to the school statistics, a total of some 53,000 young people, or 7% of the resident population in the relevant age group, left school in 2019 without a certificate of lower secondary education. Compared with 1999, this equates to a reduction by more than a third. By this measure too, the proportion remains markedly lower among young women (5.0%) than among young men (9.0%).

By contrast, 17.4% (132,429) of the resident population of the same age obtained a certificate of lower secondary education from a Hauptschule in 2019, 44.5% (337,578) obtained a certificate of intermediate secondary education, 32.1% (227,308) obtained a general university entrance qualification, and 0.1% (624) obtained a certificate qualifying them to enter a university of applied sciences. The period from 1999 to 2019 saw particularly significant changes for two types of certificate. One was the Hauptschule certificate of lower secondary education, the share of which fell by 8.7 percentage points, while the proportion of school leavers obtaining the general university entrance qualification rose by 7.4 percentage points (each figure relates to the population of the same age).

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)

Indicator

4.1.a Early school leavers

Target

Reduce the proportion to 9.5% by 2030

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019

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 Federal Statistical Office

Organisation

Federal Statistical Office