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National and international study results show: In Germany, educational success still depends heavily on social background. A large proportion of young people leave school without the necessary skills for a successful start to their careers. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is therefore aware that skills development urgently needs a turnaround in order to avoid wasting the potential of the younger generation. With the Startchancen program that has now been launched, the federal and state governments want to decouple educational success from social background and ensure greater equality of opportunity. This is not just about financial support from the federal government, but also about systemic changes and strengthening the performance of the education system.

Federal government provides one billion per year

The program is set to start in the 2024/25 school year and will run for ten years. The federal government will provide up to an additional one billion euros per year for the Startchancen program. The federal states will contribute the same amount. This means that a total of 20 billion euros will be invested over ten years. The aim is to provide support where the challenges are greatest. The funds are therefore to be distributed to schools with a high proportion of socially disadvantaged pupils according to need.

Selection of schools

Around 4,000 schools in Germany are to become Startchancen schools. The schools to receive funding are to be selected by the respective state on the basis of suitable and transparent criteria. These are science-based and are oriented towards the objectives of the Startchancen program. The amount of funding that a state receives from the federal government for the Startchancen program takes into account the social conditions. In particular, the proportion of young people living in poverty and with a history of migration should be decisive here. The federal states distribute the funding specifically to the Startchancen schools within the respective federal state.

Staggered over two years

The Startchancen schools can be phased into the program over two years. In the first year, at least 1,000 schools are to start throughout Germany. By the 2026/27 school year at the latest, all selected schools will participate in the Startchancen program. As the first few years of school in particular set the course for educational success, around 60 percent of the pupils receiving support will be primary school pupils. In addition to elementary school, secondary and vocational schools will also benefit from the Startchancen program.

Strengthening basic and future skills

A particular focus of the support is on strengthening basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic. The aim is to halve the number of pupils who fail to meet the minimum standards in mathematics and German at the Startchancen schools by the end of the program. The support also focuses on the pupils' personal development. The program aims to support young people in acquiring the necessary skills for the future, such as the ability to participate in democracy.

Support for school development

In order to achieve the goals of the Startchancen programme, the structures in the classroom and in the teaching staff at the Startchancen schools are professionalized and further developed accordingly. This includes, among other things, stronger networking between teachers, pupils, parents, educational staff and extracurricular stakeholders such as training companies or school networks. Investments are also being made in better infrastructure and equipment for schools. In addition, the federal states are establishing corresponding structures in the education administration with regard to target definition, process support and target achievement of the Startchancen program.