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Germany's Education System

Essay by   •  May 4, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,882 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,668 Views

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Germany's Education System

We have decided to research the education system of Germany because my group members and I thought that it will be a great idea to research a place where we had no prior knowledge on. Germany's education system came a long way and had many transitions that they had to face throughout their education years. Schools in Germany started off only in churches, and by 1386 the first University was built. The state authorities decided to remove schools in churches by the 18th century so it can be under their direction and not the churches. In 1767- 1835 a man named William von Humboldt reformed secondary schools that began to shape the education system in Germany. Before World War 1, school was not easily accessible for children who came from poor families. Decades later, the national government reversed the tradition to impose its political and racist ideology on society. This was caused by the Hitler era with the Holocaust. This lasted for 12 years. After Hitler was defeated in 1945, the rebuilding of the education system began. There were two education systems that were implemented into the education system. They were West Germany, which consisted of the United States, Britain, and France, and the second was the Soviet Union in East Germany. Germany has worked their way up to become one of the world's best and most extensive school and university systems.

Religion plays a key part in the education system. It is considered a subject area, but everyone is not entitled to take it. Religion classes are taught by teachers who were appointed and certified to teach religion. Parents and guardians have the right to decide if their children receive religious instruction until the child is 12 years old. At that age, the child makes their own decision to continue taking the religious courses or taking secular courses. One-third of Muslims live in North Rhine Westphalia. 150 public schools offer Islamic studies to 13,000 children in Grades 1 through 10.

The federal government oversees vocational education and training and controls the financing of stipends and educational allowances. However, they have no power to reform higher education institutions. The Lander has power to reform higher education institutions and consist of 16 federal states. Lander funds 390 public universities and they are willing to view immigration as part of the country's identity.

There are quite a few differences among the German education system and the American education system. There are very few similarities between the education systems of these two countries. Other than the fact that students in both Germany and the U.S are required by law to go to school there are not much similarities between the education systems of the two countries. Compulsory Education begins at around the same age for both countries--5 or 6 in most states--but school begins at different levels. For Germany, kindergarten (which is their preschool) is not part of the school system and is not required by law. Kindergarten for Germany begins as early as age 3 and ends at age 6. For the U.S however, Kindergarten is part of the school system and is required by law. In addition to kindergarten the U.S has the option of preschool which is not required by law.

School officially starts in the German Education system with the Grundshulen (elementary school) at age 6 in grade one. The elementary school consists of four years, grades 1-4. School in the U.S however officially begins with kindergarten in most states or with Pre-k in other states. Elementary school in the U.S consists of 6-7 years, pre-k or kindergarten through the 5th grade. In Germany school from the age of 6-14 is compulsory but In the U.S School is compulsory from the ages of 5- 16 in most states. Another big difference among the states is that in the United States if a parent does not agree with what the public schools are teaching their children they can either place them in a private school or home school them. In the German Education system however, private schools are not as highly regarded as public schools (opposite the U.S) and homeschooling is illegal. Normal class times in Germany are from 7:30 or 8:15 until 12 noon or 1:30PM. German schools do not serve lunch as their students are out of school by lunch time. In the United States schools normally start by 7:30 or 8:00 and ends at 2:30 or 3. Also The German school system does not have afterschool activities like schools in the United States do, students normally try out for their local sports club or the community band.

Where the German education system and the U.S education system differ most is in its structure. The German education system has a tracking system of education whereas the United States is more of an equal opportunity system. The German public school divides students into three groups that are based on performance after they have finished elementary school:

 The Hauptschule (secondary general school)

 Realschule (intermediate school)

 Or the Gymnasien ( Grammar schools)

Also, the grading scale used in the German school system is unlike the one used in the United States. In Germany the grading scale is on a numbered scale from "1-6" with 1 being the desired grade. The United States grading scale is on a letter scale from "A-F" (excluding "E") with an "A" being the desired grade. So essentially, in Germany one would covet a GPA of 1.0 while a U.S student would loathe it.

German public education makes it possible for qualified kids to study up to university level, regardless of their families' financial status. However, Getting admitted to a German state university is a difficult process. Many programs are restricted regarding numbers of new students and start only once per year. Acceptance of foreign credentials is difficult and credit transfers rarely happen without losses.

In Germany once a student is 6year old it mandatory for a student to attend school until they are 15year old. Students are able to attend school in the states for free but it is necessary for all students to pay for their books and other school material.

The students in Germany all begin school in the Primary level. In the primary level student are usually 6years old, another world for the primary level in Germany is Grundschule. Once a student is done with the four year in the primary level the teacher and the parents decide on the future of the student base on the students' abilities.

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