DDigitization, the energy transition and climate protection, the transformation of industry – Germany, which has so far been spoiled for success as a location for business and innovation, is currently being put to the test. And there are already doubts as to whether he will survive them without major injuries. But now a report from the Federal Statistical Office marks a new setback: fewer and fewer young people are studying in the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology, the so-called MINT subjects. The lack of such specialists, which is already slowing down technological progress, threatens to worsen further. In addition, the next generation of students do not have the right conditions to quickly reverse the trend.
As the official statisticians announced on Monday, a total of 307,059 people began studying MINT subjects at German universities in 2021. That was 6.5 percent less than in 2020 and even 12.5 percent less than in 2017. At that time, the number of STEM students had peaked at 351,000. The recent decline can also be partly explained by the consequences of the corona pandemic: In times of lockdown and contact restrictions, fewer people started studying. But the decline was particularly strong in the MINT subjects. Their share of the total number of first-year students has fallen from significantly more than 40 percent at times to less than 38 percent; moreover, the crumbling had already begun before the pandemic.