Karliczek: "Pleasing trend in continuing education – even during the coronavirus pandemic"

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) presents figures for 2020. 60 per cent of adults participated in at least one continuing education course.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has published the report "Weiterbildungsverhalten in Deutschland 2020" (Continuing training behaviour in Germany 2020). Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek explained:

"Increasing numbers of people are completing continuing education and training. Pleasingly, this trend was also maintained over 2020, a year affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which would not necessarily have been expected. In the Adult Education Survey 2020, which compiles the population's continuing training behaviour, the key finding specified is that six out of ten adults aged between 18 and 64 attended at least one continuing training course over the past year. This means the rate has increased by ten percentage points within four years.

The majority of Germans are therefore aware of the need for lifelong learning. This applies in particular to adults with a high level of education who continue to participate most frequently in continuing education courses. However, a pronounced increase is also evident among those with lower levels of education. Over the last 10 years, the rate among adults with a lower-level school leaving certificate has risen from 27 percent to 44 percent. This shows that we are on the right path.

However we must become even better. Lower qualified individuals especially should be building on their qualifications in order to be successful in the job market. Continuing education and training is becoming increasingly difficult because the world of work is changing as a result of digitalisation. This is also evident in the fact that increasing numbers of employees are participating in company-based continuing education and training – in 2020 it was almost every other employee. This is an increase of eight percentage points compared to the previous survey two years ago. We want to continue to build on this pleasing trend together with our partners.

We are developing the culture of continuing education and training via the national continuing education and training strategy in Germany. In this way we are exploiting the opportunities that come with the digital transformation. At the same time, we need to be aware that this transformation creates insecurity for many people. It is therefore necessary to minimise this insecurity with good support and appropriate offers."


The Adult Education Survey has been conducted in Germany every two to three years since 2007. It replaced the reporting system for continuing education and training which had been collecting data on the continuing training behaviour of the population in Germany since the start of the 1970s. The survey takes place across Europe every four years and most recently in 2016. For the current study and on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Kantar Public conducted a total of around 5,800 interviews in the second half of 2020 with persons aged 18 and over.

Source: bmbf.bund.de (website of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), revised by iMOVE, October 2021

Editor's note: The federal government changed in December 2021. Since then, Bettina Stark-Watzinger has been Minister of Education and Research.