Enjoying few natural resources, Germany is particularly reliant on ideas. The government’s primary task must therefore be to invest in minds, in other words, to create an innovative and internationally competitive education system.

Germany is still a long way from achieving this aim. Its schools and universities are not turning out enough suitably qualified workers. The problem is aggravated by a birth rate which has for decades been too low and a correspondingly declining number of schoolchildren and university students. The resulting lack of trained workers has already led to high losses in value added. It is therefore more important than ever that those children and young people there are receive the best possible education. The money which the state saves as a result of demographic change - by paying out less in child benefit, for example - should be reinvested in better education. There is a particular need to expand pre-school education since in future it will become increasingly important to start teaching children essential knowledge and skills at a very early age.

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