DIn 2022, the rate of school dropouts in Germany was once again the fourth highest in the European Union, over twelve percent. This is according to figures from Eurostat, the European statistical office, which were made available to the German editorial network on Monday. Therefore, there was no data for 2023 yet. With these figures in mind, Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) calls for a “turn in education policy”.

Romania had the highest dropout rate in 2022 at 15.6 percent, the statistics said. Spain was second with 13.9 percent, followed by Hungary with 12.4 percent. In Germany, the dropout rate was 12.2 percent.

Although the rate had improved by 0.3 percentage points compared to the previous year, the dropout rate in the Federal Republic was once again the fourth highest in the EU – as it will be in 2021. Federal and state governments must do this, Stark-Watzinger told newspapers from the Funke Media Group. “Each dropout is too many. Because it is not only about the future of children, but also about the prosperity of our country.

The minister called for a “turnaround in education policy” that starts with basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic. The Start Opportunities Program is designed to enable entry from the following academic 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 be stepped up, Stark-Watzinger stressed – “so that the quota falls and we don't lose these young people forever.”

The average early school leaving rate across the EU improved from 10.5% to 9.6% between 2018 and 2022. In 2018, Germany was even better than the EU average at 10.3 percent. However, this has been over since 2019.