Offering children optimal opportunities for developing and reaching their full educational potential is a challenge that we must all face together. Inadequate education has grave consequences, both for individuals and society as a whole, which means that cost-saving measures can be expensive over the long term. Different living conditions lead to disadvantages and inequality, and investing in education at the earliest learning stages can thus provide better opportunities across the board. The Effective Investments in Education program is therefore dedicated to ensuring all children have access to high-quality education and to opportunities for participating proactively in society, regardless of their social or cultural background.
The program's Social Costs of Inadequate Education project, for example, makes clear how expensive cost-saving measures can be for society. It identifies the follow-on costs and reduced levels of public funding that result from inadequate education, while demonstrating the key role education plays in many areas of communal life.
In order to develop appropriate approaches to improving educational outcomes, all stakeholders must first be provided with a comprehensive overview of the current situation. The Bertelsmann Stiftung's print publication "Länderreport Frühkindliche Bildungssysteme" (State by State: Early Childhood Education Systems) and its "Ländermonitor" (State Monitor) Internet portal provide insight into the activities currently being carried out by Germany's early childhood education and childcare facilities. Both the publication and the portal offer facts, figures and other information on each of the country's 16 states, thereby allowing state-by-state comparisons.
The project KECK: Community Development -- Opportunities for Children provides information at the district level on the social, educational and health situation of children up to 10 years of age. In a second stage, the project will also be providing information at the community and sub-community levels. The project's online atlas provides users with a clear overview of the situation in each geographical area while also facilitating a comparison with other areas. The project supplies parents, educators and policymakers with background material for discussing and developing new approaches.
To ensure that educational activities can be geared toward each child's individual background, childcare facilities must have resources at their disposal commensurate to the situation at hand. The Financing Elementary Education project is testing innovative ways of funding education. The goal is to distribute financial resources in such a manner that all children can be assisted in accordance with their individual needs.