In the last years, we had one record following another, with growing numbers of students who left school with a qualification to go to university. Accordingly, the number of students in HE reached a record high last year: 2,69 million students. Now, the journal Spiegel online reports that for the first time in years, there are now less students with HE qualification than before.
The increase had three important reasons:
- a higher percentage of young people gaining the general qualification for university (Abitur)
- a comparatively big age group and
- at the same time. a reduction of the school years necessary to gain the Abitur (from 13 to 12 years) in many Bundesländer (states), doubling the cohorts in the years that the change was effected.
The decrease is now due to the fact that the reduction has been implemented. However, the numbers of the cohorts from before this phase of increase have still not been reached.
As soon as the bigger age groups have gained their Abitur, Germany will probably face a consistent decrease in student numbers due to the demographic change. This is already affecting the Eastern part of Germany, in some regions very gravely, with now cohorts of 50% compared to just a few years before.