In 2022, Germany once again recorded the fourth highest school dropout rate in the European Union at more than twelve percent. This emerges from figures from the European statistics authority Eurostat, which were available to the Germany editorial network on Monday. There was therefore no data for 2023 yet. In view of the figures, Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) is calling for “a turnaround in educational policy”.

Romania had the highest rate of “early school and training leavers”, as school dropouts are called in statistics, in 2022 at 15.6 percent. Spain followed in second place with 13.9 percent, followed by Hungary with 12.4 percent. In Germany the school dropout rate was 12.2 percent.

Although the rate had improved by 0.3 percentage points compared to the previous year, the Federal Republic once again recorded the fourth highest school dropout rate in the EU - as in 2021. This is what the federal and state governments have to do, Stark-Watzinger told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Every school dropout is one too many. Because this is not just about the future of the children, but also the prosperity of our country.”

The minister called for “a turnaround in educational policy” that starts with basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic. The starting opportunities program is intended to provide entry for this from the next school year.

The federal and state governments agreed on the program at the beginning of February: They want to strengthen schools in socially disadvantaged areas with 20 billion euros over the next ten years. But efforts should also be increased beyond that, emphasized Stark-Watzinger – “so that the quota falls and we don’t lose these young people permanently.”

The EU-wide average school dropout rate improved from 10.5 to 9.6 percent from 2018 to 2022. In 2018, Germany was even better off than the EU average at 10.3 percent. However, this has been over since 2019.