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Jonathan Miles, Managing Editor, Open Access Government

Education For Germany’s Future

Promoting the policy areas of education, science and research are crucial for Germany’s future prosperity, according to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Germany’s current Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark- Watzinger, believes education and research are both hugely important for the development of the country. On education and research for the future of Germany’s people, Stark-Watzinger affirms that each person can be empowered, and the means to achieve this is simply education. She develops this point and adds that research and innovation both provide a basis for future progress and to tackle grand challenges.

“Education starts at day care centres and continues at school, in vocational training and higher education and, ideally, throughout our lives. This is how we create opportunities and enable individual careers for anyone, whatever their personal background. Better education provides for advancement and self-determination, as well as for growth and prosperity. Its twin is research and innovation. The two of them provide the basis for progress and are urgently required to address grand challenges such as COVID-19, digitalisation and climate change.”

Stark-Watzinger gives fascinating insights into her key plans for the coming years, stating that more progress is desired by the coalition and that education and research play a critical role here. “Education and research will play a key role in this regard. They are the most important drivers of progress in our country,” the Minister comments.

Better education provides for advancement and self-determination, as well as for growth and prosperity. Its twin is research and innovation. The two of them provide the basis for progress and are urgently required to address grand challenges such as COVID-19, digitalisation and climate change

COVID-19 underlines the need to give education a modernisation boost in Germany, so that’s why it is vital to make the Digital Pact speed up by reducing bureaucratic obstacles, Stark-Watzinger states. The Minister also details reforming BAföG training assistance and giving extra support to children and young people with special needs. It is worth explaining first that BAföG means training is funded by the public sector, so the state provides individual trainees with the finances required to cover training fees and living expenses.

“We want to reform BAföG training assistance and make it less dependent on parental income. And we want to provide additional support to children and young people who are in special need to give them a better educational start in life,” Stark-Watzinger says.

Stark-Watzinger also intends to do more for the multi-faceted research landscape that characterises Germany. As such, increasing government expenditure on research development is important for Stark Watzinger in her role as Federal Minister of Education and Research, but having said that she wants to remain curious when wearing her researcher’s hat. The latter is an interesting observation if we know something of Stark-Watzinger’s background, indeed, she worked in the management of two financial research institutions in Frankfurt for nearly ten years before being elected to the German Bundestag as a member responsible for the budget of the Ministry.

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