According to a study by the Ifo Institute, children from families with less money and without a high school diploma go to grammar school far less often than children from better-off households with parents who themselves have a high school diploma. Only about every fifth child (21 percent) with two parents without a high school diploma and a household net income of less than 2600 per month attends a high school. In contrast, four out of five children (80 percent) of parents who both have a high school diploma and together have more than 5,500 euros net are high school students.

The results show a “striking extent” of the inequality of educational opportunities in Germany, depending on the family background a child comes from, according to the “Chancenmonitor” presented on Tuesday by the Ifo Institute and the association “Ein Herz für Kinder”. “Picture”.

“Social background and educational success are still far too closely related,” said Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP). Children, for example, from parents with a low level of education would have a harder time at school. One should not accept that. No child chooses the environment in which it is born. Earlier studies had already shown that there is a strong connection between origin and educational opportunities in Germany.

The basis for the study is the microcensus

According to the “Chancenmonitor”, it is of course not the best educational decision for every child to go to a grammar school. However, reference is made to the fact that the Abitur opens up all further educational paths and career prospects, and to studies that establish a connection between higher education and later income, life satisfaction and life expectancy.

The basis for the investigation is the microcensus with data from 2019. Specifically, the proportion of children between the ages of 10 and 18 years at grammar schools was determined depending on what the parents earn, whether they themselves have a high school diploma, are single parents or have a migration background. According to the results, the factors immigrant background and single parent have less influence on whether children go to high school. Accordingly, whether the parents themselves have a high school diploma and how much money is available in the household has more influence.

If both parents have a high school diploma, 75 percent of the children also attend high school, with one parent with a high school diploma still 58 percent and with no parent only 28 percent. Income also plays a major role: 60 percent of children from households with more than 5,500 euros net per month are high school students, with falling income the proportion falls. With a household income of 2,600 euros per month and below, only 26 percent of the children are still in high school.

Around 810,000 people surveyed

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the microcensus – the “small population census” – is the largest annual household survey of official statistics in Germany. Around 810,000 people are questioned about their working and living conditions.

In view of the inequalities, the authors of the “Chancenmonitor” recommended targeted support for children from “disadvantaged backgrounds” at an early age. In her view, a day-care center “opt-out regulation” would be conceivable: children are automatically registered in the day-care center and parents can only apply for an exception in justified cases.

They also spoke out in favor of not separating children after fourth grade in secondary schools, but rather letting them study together for a longer period of time because of a “balancing effect” before deciding which school to go to.