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News Overview 2015

Gauck Calls for Equal Opportunities Based on Merit

"Educational attainment in Germany still depends too strongly on students’ social backgrounds."

At an event in Hamburg, German President Joachim Gauck spoke about equality of opportunity in education: "We have been talking about equal opportunities in Germany for decades. It is the one great constant in German educational policy. Educational attainment in Germany still depends strongly – too strongly, in fact – on students’ social backgrounds." Gauck continued by saying, "Truly equal opportunities shouldn’t be limited to equality on paper. ... This is the key ambition, and we cannot afford to lag behind, especially as immigration plays such a key role in modern society. Everyone has to have the same opportunities for advancement based on merit."

Joachim Gauck was speaking at Chancengerecht.bilden: Herausforderungen für Staat und Zivilgesellschaft (Equal opportunities in education: challenges for government and civil society), a conference held in Hamburg by the ZEIT-Stiftung. The Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft, and the Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft also used the conference to outline their initiatives for greater equality of opportunity. The Robert Bosch Stiftung addresses the issue of school development with the annual German School Award, which honors and networks the country’s best schools. The focus was also on the School Turnaround program, with which the Foundation helps schools in disadvantaged areas make a fresh start.

Watch the president’s speech

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