IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Demographic Change Necessitates Educational Reform and Lifelong Learning


  • Karl Brenke
  • Klaus F. Zimmermann


Even though the share of workers retiring prematurely is growing, the average age of the labor force is rising because the younger age groups are contracting and the length of time they spend in education is increasing. And yet the German higher education system is relatively unproductive. While the propensity to study at the college level has increased, for demographic reasons the number of German students studying in Germany is no higher than it was ten years ago. By contrast, the share of foreign students studying in Germany has doubled over the last decade, and more German students are studying abroad. The labor force potential of young people must be better exploited in the future in the sense that they should leave the education system earlier and with improved qualifications. In addition, the process of globalization demands that German universities open their doors even wider to foreign students: first, in the interests of exporting education and, second, as a means to attract highly qualified graduates to Germany. The speed with which knowledge changes, together with the need - and the possibility - to increasingly extend the working life of older workers, necessitates a broader provision of advanced training, within universities as well. There is certainly some degree of willingness to participate in ongoing training among the members of Germany's labor force, but there is also considerable scope for expansion in this regard. However, willingness to engage in continuing education is more prevalent among the younger than the older labor force. Only when the vocational prospects of older workers change will the members of this group show a greater interest in pursuing advanced training and continuing education.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl Brenke & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2005. "Demographic Change Necessitates Educational Reform and Lifelong Learning," Weekly Report, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 1(17), pages 213-220.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwrp:wr1-17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwwrp:wr1-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.