Another reason for the lack of skilled labour in Germany is the reluctance of school-leavers to take advantage of the admirable dual-education system, and instead enroll at a university (“Opening up a crack”, May 18th). The problem is that every pupil who has passed the school-leaving exam, the Abitur, has the constitutional right to a place at university, even if he or she has to wait some semesters and has no real academic inclinations or talents. The result is a proliferation of abstruse and socially irrelevant courses, a drop-out rate of about 30% (a shocking waste of human and financial resources) and the lack of skilled workers you mentioned.
Having spent 20 years as a lecturer, I can testify to the often poor quality of students at hopelessly overcrowded public universities and the high quality of those at private institutions, which have strict admission requirements. But in our modern, democratic society everybody is at least a manager and selection is frowned upon. That attitude is leading to big problems for the German economy.