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Germany
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Diagram of the education system



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Key

- Diagram of education system in country language

- Old diagram using ISCED 1997 classification

- General methodological notes for ISCED diagrams

Education system in Germany

Germany
Overview of the education system (EAG 2017)
  • Upper secondary vocational education plays a key role in Germany’s economy. Half of 25-34 year-olds (49%) have an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary vocational qualification as their highest attainment. Their employment rate (86%) is as high as for those with tertiary education (87%).
  • Upward mobility to tertiary education has not improved over the generations. The share of tertiary-educated adults who did not have tertiary-educated parents is similar among 45-59 and 30-44 year-olds. This is partly due to the successful German vocational education system which offers a solid alternative to tertiary education.
  • The share of recent tertiary graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is 37%, the highest of all OECD and partner countries, reflecting Germany’s strong technological focus. However, women are under-represented in most of the STEM fields, making up only 28% of new entrants.
  • Despite a 6% decline in the number of students enrolled in primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education between 2010 and 2014, expenditure on educational institutions at these levels has only reduced by 2%. However, at tertiary level, funding has not kept up with the increasing number of students.
  • Teachers’ salaries have increased in the past decade, and the teaching workforce has been getting younger, although it is still among the oldest across OECD countries.
  • Germany has near universal enrolment of 3-5 year-olds in early childhood education (over 90%) and above the average of OECD countries.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Educational outcomes

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (85.8 %, rank 8/45 ) Download Indicator

    Germany has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from short tertiary education programmes during their lifetime. (0 %, rank 32/32 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Germany has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to complete a doctorate or an equivalent education during their lifetime. (2.3 %, rank 3/27 ) Download Indicator

    Among OECD countries and partner economies with available data, Germany has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education during their lifetime. (37.8 %, rank 23/30 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Germany has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education during their lifetimes. (36.5 %, rank 20/24 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    In Germany, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from upper secondary education during their lifetimes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (90.7 %, rank 10/37 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Germany has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education before the age of 30. (26.9 %, rank 18/20 ) Download Indicator

    Among OECD and partner countries with available data, Germany has one of the lowest percentages of female graduates from tertiary programmes. (51.1 %, rank 26/31 ) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among 20-29 year-olds in Germany is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (34.7 %, rank 3/39 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Germany is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (93.3 %, rank 8/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood and primary education in Germany is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (96.7 %, rank 9/42 ) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11.97 Ratio, rank 28/32 ) Download Indicator

    The number of pupils per teacher in pre-primary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9.75 Ratio, rank 29/33 ) Download Indicator

    The theoretical duration of primary and lower secondary education, in years, is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9 Years, rank 7/39 ) Download Indicator

    The number of grades that are part of compulsory primary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4 Years, rank 33/39 ) Download Indicator

    Classes in lower secondary private institutions are comparatively large in Germany. (24 Students, rank 8/34 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff in post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low in Germany. (13.41 Ratio, rank 14/18 ) Download Indicator

    In Germany, the ratio of students to teaching staff in bachelor's and tertiary advanced research programmes is one of the lowest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (11.97 Ratio, rank 23/27 ) Download Indicator

    Resources for education

    Annual expenditure per pupil at the pre-primary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9569 USD Equivalent, rank 10/31 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12.7 %, rank 10/38 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of hours per year lower secondary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively large in Germany. (750 Hours, rank 9/35 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary teachers younger than 40 is especially low. (29.5 %, rank 32/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of lower secondary teachers younger than 40 is especially low. (26.7 %, rank 29/35 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of upper secondary teachers younger than 40 is especially low. (26.2 %, rank 28/34 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of secondary teachers younger than 40 is especially low. (26.6 %, rank 31/36 ) Download Indicator

    Among 25-64 year-old teachers (teaching both pre-primary and primary school, primary and secondary levels), Germany has one of the highest percentages of those with good ICT (information and communication technologies) and problem-solving skills. (47.9 %, rank 9/15 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-64 year-old teachers (teaching both pre-primary and primary school, primary and secondary levels) who report that moderate or complex ICT(information and communication technologies) skills are required at work is relatively low. (65.9 %, rank 11/15 ) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (59 %, rank 8/17 ) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in short-cycle tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (21.7 %, rank 24/25 ) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in tertiary education (bachelor's, master's, doctorate or equivalent education) is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (38.2 %, rank 25/31 ) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (38.2 %, rank 29/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (65.9 %, rank 21/29 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    After 15 years of experience, a lower secondary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (74078 USD Equivalent, rank 2/33 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, an upper secondary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (78579 USD Equivalent, rank 2/33 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a primary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (68266 USD Equivalent, rank 2/33 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of primary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.9 Ratio, rank 8/26 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.98 Ratio, rank 6/26 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of upper secondary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.06 Ratio, rank 6/26 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of primary teachers' salaries at the top of scale to their starting salary is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.33 Ratio, rank 28/33 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of upper secondary teachers' salaries at the top of scale to their starting salary is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.45 Ratio, rank 25/33 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (134 Index, rank 3/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 20-24 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively small in Germany. (10.8 %, rank 29/35 ) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    • In most OECD countries, the most popular tertiary degrees held by adults are in business, administration or law. However, interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grows with higher levels of education, with almost double the share of students graduating from these fields at doctoral level than at bachelor’s level in 2015.
    • STEM-related fields tend to benefit from higher employment rates on average across OECD countries though inequities persist: natural sciences, mathematics and statistics graduates are more likely to have similar employment rates as arts and humanities graduates – both lower than the rates enjoyed by engineers or ICT specialists.
    • Gender parity is still a distant dream for some fields of study. At the tertiary level, women still represent approximately only one in four entrants to engineering, manufacturing and construction, but three out of four entrants in health and welfare on average across OECD countries.
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    • On average across OECD countries, expenditure has been increasing at a much higher rate than student enrolments at all levels, particularly tertiary. Total expenditure on tertiary educational institutions increased by more than twice the rate of students over the same period, reflecting the priority given by government and society to higher education.
    • While public expenditure on educational institutions has clearly been rising, it did not keep up with the increase in GDP between 2010 and 2014 on average across OECD countries. This has led to a decrease of 2% in public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP over the same period.
    • The share of public funding is significantly higher at lower levels of education than for tertiary education on average across OECD countries. While the public sector still provides 91% of the funds at primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary levels, it only provides for 70% of total expenditure at tertiary level.
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    • The teaching profession is getting older, particularly at higher levels of education. On average across OECD countries, 35% of primary to secondary teachers were at least 50 years old in 2015, up 3 percentage points from 2005.
    • The profession is still largely dominated by women, who make up seven out of ten teachers on average across OECD countries. However gender parity improves at higher levels of education – while 97% of teachers at the pre-primary level are women, they make up 43% at the tertiary level.
    • Primary and secondary teachers’ salaries are low compared to other similarly educated full-time workers. While salaries increase with the level of education taught, they still range between 78% and 94% of the salaries of full-time workers with tertiary education on average across OECD countries.
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    • In a majority of OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are five years old – 78% of three-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education on average across OECD countries.
    • The proportion of children enrolled in private early childhood education programmes is considerably greater than the private enrolment shares at primary and secondary levels. On average, 55% of children in early childhood educational development programmes and 33% in pre-primary programmes attend private institutions.
    • Public expenditure accounts for 83% of all resources allocated for pre-primary education and 71% of funding for early childhood educational development.
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    • Based on current patterns, it is estimated that on average across OECD countries, 80% of today’s young people will graduate from upper secondary education before the age of 25.
    • General upper secondary education programmes are more popular than vocational programmes: 57% of 15-19 year-old students are enrolled in general programmes, compared to 43% in vocational programmes.
    • Adults with upper secondary as highest attainment level have lower employment advantages and are least likely to recover from economic downturns that those that have attained tertiary education.
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    • Based on current patterns of graduation, an average of 49% of today’s young people across OECD countries are expected to graduate from tertiary education at least once in their lifetime.
    • People’s relative earning advantage increases with their level of tertiary education. On average across OECD countries, those with a short-cycle tertiary degree earn only about 22% more than those with upper secondary education, while those with a master’s, doctoral or equivalent degree earn about twice as much.
    • Students become more mobile as they reach higher tertiary education levels. International students account for only 5.6% of total enrolment in tertiary programmes, but over a quarter of enrolments at doctoral level across OECD countries.
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    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2017 for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.