The future development of the education sector cannot be predicted in any clear, scientific way. There are just too many variables, including policy changes brought about as a result of elections. But, as scientists, what we can do is determine where the central areas of action should be on the basis of current conditions and developments. At this point, I would like to highlight two findings. The first is demographic change, which is leading to a steadily aging population, among other things. The education system has to react to this in a number of areas. For example, the total number of children in the school system and in the vocational training system will decrease, while the demand for life-long learning will rise. Secondly, in Germany there is still a very strong correlation between socioeconomic background and academic achievement. This pattern must be broken; we do not want great potential to go to waste. Scientists are called upon to identify opportunities and develop measures to achieve this. But these measures have to be put into practice by educational policy-makers, by schools and by teachers. Some promising areas include expanding early childhood education, providing high-quality all-day schooling, and establishing adaptive learning environments – and all this should be combined with liberalising the education system.
This question was answered by Prof. Dr Kai Maaz, head of the Educational Governance department at the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF).