At the federal level, the main governmental responsibility for art and cultural education lies with three ministries: the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the Federal Government Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth began implementing its National Youth Strategy Taking action for a youth-appropriate society in 2011. The area of cultural education in particular advanced into the field of inclusion of non-formal education and cooperation with formal education. In addition to an innovation fund for cultural education within the so-called Independent Youth Policy, the Ministry contributed approximately 8.5 million EUR in 2012 to improve the federal infrastructure and further education in schools and vocational training within the framework of cultural policy practice. In December 2019, the Federal Government adopted the Youth Strategy, which was developed with the participation of all federal ministries concerned with youth issues. It identifies interdepartmental youth policy needs for action and 161 new or further developed measures to address them. With this inter-ministerial coordinated agenda, the Federal Government intends to gear its actions in future more closely to the views and needs of young people.In 2013, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched the Federal Government’s largest funding programme for cultural education to date. The aim of the Kultur macht stark programme is to promote extracurricular educational opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people aged 3 to 18. In order to give them good educational opportunities and enable them to participate in society, the BMBF has been supporting local alliances for education in the implementation of extracurricular cultural education projects since 2013. Funding began in 2013 and extended in the first phase until 2017, the second project phase started in 2018 and will run until 2022. The BMBF will provide funds of up to 430 million EUR until the end of the project.
The BMBF is also funding another project, which has been implemented by the German Cultural Council since 2012: the Dialogue Platform for Cultural Education. It consists of an Internet portal Kultur bilden, a newspaper supplement Kultur bilden and dialogue forums.
In the current cultural policy debate, the view is gaining ground that cultural education for children and young people must be strengthened both inside and outside of school. The Enquete Commission Culture in Germany of the German Bundestag, for example, has placed this topic at the top of its agenda. Initiatives worth mentioning here are:
- In spring 2007, a programme titled An Instrument for Every Child (Jedem Kind ein Instrument – JeKi) was initiated in the Ruhr Area by the Federal Cultural Foundation, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Zukunftsstiftung Bildung (Future Foundation for Education) with the participation of the Ruhr Area municipalities, private sponsors and participating families as a cooperation project of the Capital of Culture RUHR.2010. Every primary school child in the Ruhr Area should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument of its own choice. The focus is on the children making music together – from the first to the fourth grade. The costs of around 35 million EUR are borne by the Federal Cultural Foundation, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and private sponsors, as well as a small contribution from parents. After the four-year introductory phase, the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Zukunftsstiftung Bildung withdrew their funding for the programme as planned. From the 2011/12 school year onwards, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia assumed sole sponsorship with approximately 8.7 million EUR annually. In the 2014/15 school year, around 40 municipalities, 50 music schools, 576 primary schools, 25 special schools with around 60,000 children took part in the JeKi programme. In order to make it possible for all communities in NRW to participate in the programme, it has been launched with a new concept under the name JeKits – Instruments, Dancing, Singing for Every Child in NRW from the 2015/16 school year.
- The youth culture and youth education initiative entitled Children to Olympus of the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States in cooperation with private sponsors. The concept is currently being revised; new event and funding formats will be announced in early 2020.
- Some federal states also have specific programmes such as Culture and School. This state programme, which was launched in 2006, aims to strengthen artistic-cultural education in schools through additional projects.
- The initiatives for the promotion of child and youth culture of the cities of Munich and Hamburg.
- Since 2009, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media has awarded an annual prize for cultural education worth EUR 60,000.
In order to present examples of good practice and cooperation between cultural education institutions and schools, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the Federal Association for Cultural Education for Children and Youth founded a competition called Mixed Up!. Since 2005, prizes have been awarded annually.
With the school year 2011/12, a new programme called Cultural Agents for Creative Schools was launched in 5 countries (North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin, Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg, Thuringia) at 138 schools with the aim of inspiring children and young people for art and culture in the long term and thus promoting their personal development. It is a model program of the non-profit forum K&B GmbH, initiated and supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Stiftung Mercator in cooperation with the responsible state ministries and other partners. Even after the end of the funding by the two foundations, there will still be cultural agents in the participating states
In 2012, the 4th Education Report was presented, this time with the main topic Cultural Education or Cultural / Musical-Aesthetic Education in the Life Course. As a result of this focus, the topic of Cultural Education has been brought more into focus than before. However, it is also pointed out that there is an unsatisfactory data situation for cultural education – by using the different datas of sector associations with different surveys or survey methods.
The Council for Cultural Education was founded in 2012. It is an independent advisory body that deals with the quality of cultural education in Germany. It has eleven members representing different areas of arts education: dance and theatre education, music and literature education, educational research, educational science, pedagogy, political education, media education, sociology, cultural education and the arts. The Council for Cultural Education is an initiative of various foundations in Germany. It publishes annual memoirs and studies, such as Jugend / YouTube / Kulturelle Bildung. Horizont 2019 – a study of 12 to 19-year-olds on the use of cultural education opportunities at digital cultural venues, and Libraries / Digitization / Cultural Education. Horizont 2018 – on the impact of digitisation in libraries, on cultural education in all-day schools.
The Council for Socio-Culture and Cultural Education brings together key players: 25 associations and institutions of cultural education, such as the Federal Association for Cultural Youth Education, the Federal Association of Youth Art Schools and Cultural Education Institutions, the Federal Association of Museum Education, the Federal Association of Socio-Cultural Centres, the Federal Academy for Cultural Education Wolfenbüttel and the Academy of Cultural Education Remscheid.
Since 2009, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media has awarded an annual prize for cultural education worth EUR 60,000.