Germany launches largest-ever education program to tackle inequality

Germany launches largest-ever education program to tackle inequality

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Germany’s federal and state governments have agreed on a landmark €20 billion program to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged students, marking the largest education program in the country’s history.

The “Starting Opportunities” program, set to begin in August 2024, will target around 4,000 schools with high proportions of students from low-income families or immigrant backgrounds. These schools will receive significant funding to improve infrastructure, hire additional staff, and implement targeted learning support programs.

Germany Launches Largest-Ever Education Program To Tackle Inequality

Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger commented as follows:

“This is a turning point for educational policy in Germany. We are investing in the future of our children and the prosperity of our country.”

Key features of the program:

  • €20 billion investment over 10 years: Shared equally between the federal and state governments.
  • Focus on basic skills: Reading, writing, and arithmetic will be prioritized.
  • Multi-pronged approach: Funding for infrastructure, staff, and learning support programs.
  • Science-based design: Supported by research and evaluation to ensure effectiveness.
  • Targeted support: 60% of students supported will be in primary school.
  • Breaking the cycle: Aims to reduce the link between social background and educational success.


The program was developed after months of negotiations between the federal and state governments and is expected to benefit around 10% of all students in Germany.. It is designed to address declining student performance in basic skills and the strong link between social background and educational success.

This landmark program represents a significant step towards improving educational equity in Germany. By investing in disadvantaged schools and providing targeted support to students, the Starting Opportunities program has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of many young people.

Source: Ministry of Education Germany

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