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Switching to high school: Unequal opportunities for children in Hesse |

Equal opportunities in the transition to high school? According to an ifo study, Hesse performs worse than other countries. Culture Minister Schwarz still speaks of an “opportunity school system”.

In Hesse, the probability of attending high school is more than twice as high if a child comes from an educationally-oriented and financially well-off household – in contrast to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

One comes to this conclusion Investigation of the ifo Institute. According to this, almost 26.5 percent of children in Hesse with parents who neither have a high school diploma nor those in the upper quarter of income go to high school. In families with at least one parent with a high school diploma and/or a household income in the upper quarter, the figure is 62.9 percent.

Hesse ranks 13th among the 16 federal states

“The inequality of educational opportunities is very pronounced in all federal states,” says the study, which was presented in Berlin on Monday. But in Hesse it is larger than in other federal states. When it comes to the relative difference – the opportunity ratio between children “with a lower background” and those with a “higher background” – Hesse ranks 13th among the 16 federal states.

Only in Bavaria, Saxony and Bremen do children from precarious backgrounds have a chance of going to high school even worse than in Hesse. According to the study, these children have the best chances in Berlin, Brandenburg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Berlin and Brandenburg: Change only after sixth grade

Equality of opportunity would be achieved at 100 percent. Nationwide this value is 44.6 percent, in Hesse it is 42.1 percent. In Berlin it is 53.8 percent and in Brandenburg it is 52.8 percent.

“Interestingly, Berlin and Brandenburg are the only states in which children only switch to high school from the seventh grade onwards,” explained the head of the ifo Center for the Economics of Education, Ludger Wößmann.

Schwarz: “Federal states are relatively close to each other”

Hesse’s Education Minister Armin Schwarz (CDU) told the hr: “The values ​​of the federal states are relatively close to one another.” When asked whether the school system in Hesse had failed, Schwarz said: “The Hessian school system is a school system with opportunities.”

Many children do well after primary school Secondary or secondary school on, he emphasized. These educational qualifications would “also make great careers possible”.

The study has a major weakness, said Schwarz: “The connection between the gross domestic product in the countries is not taken into account and, beyond that, the question of the proportion of migration in the population.” He referred to the German funding with mandatory preliminary courses in Hesse.

8,201 cases investigated in Hesse

According to the information, the basis for the ifo study was the microcensus with data from 2018 and 2019. Households with at least one child between the ages of 10 and 18 were analyzed with a view to whether the children studied at high schools or universities.

The second factor taken into account was the household’s net income and whether it was in the top quarter with at least 5,000 euros per month. According to the study, a total of 102,005 children were examined; for Hesse there were 8,201 cases.

GEW for shared learning up to the 10th grade

The authors of the study call, among other things, for early childhood education offerings to be expanded for disadvantaged children and for distribution to be postponed between different secondary schools.

The Education and Science Union (GEW) even advocates for even longer shared learning than the seventh grade. “Equality of opportunity in education increases when students learn together at least up to the 10th grade. This is shown by the example of the Scandinavian countries. The less selection, the better each child can develop their educational potential,” said GEW board member Anja Bensinger-Stolze said in a statement from the union on Monday.

Further information

Editorial staff: Clarice Wolter

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