Educational equity: Poor Parents, Poor Opportunities?

Educational opportunities in Germany are unfairly distributed. In this video, our expert Dagmar Wolf explains how the education system can be made more equitable and the challenges involved.

Claudia Hagen
Steffen Kayser
January 30, 2024
Reading time
3 Min.
79percent of 20-year-olds from families with a high socio-economic status graduate from High School
31percent of 20-year-olds from families with a low socio-economic status graduate from High School

All children in Germany can graduate from high school and reach their full potential - at least in theory. In reality, many students are denied the opportunity to pursue higher education. After all, educational success depends on more than just hard work, talent and intelligence. There is also a strong social bias: Students' backgrounds still have a significant impact on their educational opportunities. In our education system, children from socially disadvantaged families or with an immigrant background are less likely to receive a good education than their peers from better-off families or without an immigrant background. Boys and girls also have different educational opportunities in different areas.

The problem of inadequate educational equity is not new and has been documented by academic studies for decades. However, issues of educational equity are becoming increasingly important because, in our highly developed society, education is a critical foundation for individual life planning, for training skilled workers, and for social participation.

What is educational equity?

How a society defines educational equity depends on its general understanding of equity. The question of whether an education system is fair has therefore been answered differently over time. In the past, for example, it was not considered unfair for girls to receive a poorer education than boys. Today, we understand educational equity to mean providing the best possible support to all students, regardless of their social or ethnic background, gender, or aptitude. To this end, each child should receive differentiated learning opportunities in school and in the classroom that meet his or her individual learning needs.

many people at a demonstration, a woman in the foreground holds up a cardboard sign
The Dossier of the topic


To the dossier

More justice in the world - but how? As a society, we are facing pressing issues related to the concept of justice: unequal distribution of wealth, lack of educational opportunities, and lack of climate justice. The more visible inequality becomes, the more important the discussion about justice becomes. The question is, how do we get there? As Robert Bosch Stiftung, we support projects that aim to create justice on different levels.

To the dossier
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