Today, 28 June 2018, the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW) and the Verband Bildung und Erziehung (VBE), ETUCE member organisations in Germany, jointly released a call to increase education investment in Germany, as a reaction to the European Commission’s proposal on Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) 2018. The proposed CSRs encourage Germany “to use fiscal and structural policies to achieve an upward trend in public and private investment, and in particular on education, research and innovation”. They also recommend to “improve the educational outcomes and skills levels of disadvantaged groups”, thus acknowledging that socio-economic background still remains a considerable determinant of educational outcomes.

In their joint call, they echo the Commission’s concern that funding for education is still below the EU average and exposes the close link between socio-economic background of parents and educational outcomes of children. In the press-statement, VBE President Udo Beckmann affirms: “The recommendations acknowledge that we are still below the EU average and still spend significantly below 10% of our GDP on education, for a country so rich that's an indictment". Marlis Tepe, GEW President stresses: ”It is a socio-political scandal that until now the fundamental problem of the German education system – the tight coupling of social background and educational attainment- has not been solved”.

In total, eight countries received a proposal for CSRs regarding disparities in educational outcomes, in particular based on socio-economic background. These are: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Germany, Hungary Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

The CSRs proposed by the European Commission covering economic and fiscal as well as employment policies are to be referred to the European Council for endorsement at its meeting on 28 and 29 June. The Economy and Finance Council, gathering Finance Ministers of EU countries, is scheduled to adopt them on 13 July 2018.

Read the joint press-release in German

Read more on GEW and VBE websites