German Education System
According to the German Constitution, the responsibility of education and decision on its funding lies with 16 states of the federation of Germany. The policies of all forms of schooling remain with the educational laws of these 16 federal states. Each school has the autonomous power to describe its own aims, focuses and types of policies for its education, based on its educational order and existing frames and curriculum in a school program. The differences in the educational policies of different states are mainly because of their arbitrary traditions and political/ideological orientations. Universal access to education is a law enforced uniformly in Germany. Education into public-sector primary and secondary schools is available for every resident child or for their expat parents without any charge or fees. Nobody is charged for enrolment or for report cards.
German education system consists of three tiers. It consists of nine years of compulsory education. Children generally start schooling at the age of six and attend primary school (Grundschule) according to their ability for four years, in most of the cases teachers suggest school for the children but the parents always have a say in deciding about the enrolment into a school before proceeding to a variety of secondary schools. Hauptschule is primarily consists of grades 5 to 10 which is compulsory for every child to attend. Realschule which is sometimes called intermediate school covers grades 5 through 10 and is with halfway in difficulty between a Hauptschule and a Gymnasium. In this tier children try their hands on additional foreign languages, writing shorthand, word power, little about accounts and acquire some computer application skills. Graduates earn a Mittlere Reife certificate which enables them to take admission in higher level of schooling.
Gymnasium which is sometimes called high school or grammar school consists of both the lower and upper secondary education level. This is the most important part in the schooling of all secondary schools in Germany. After attending to eight or nine years of secondary education, students take the exam called Abitur or allgemeine Hochschulreife which serves as a preparation for higher education in most of the cases, after passing the Abitur it entitles a student to attend university but according to final grades many German universities restrict admission to some degree courses, like medicine or architecture if they fail to clear a pre decided cut off. The Gymnasium is an intensive general education programme as a standard; students have to switch to a Gymnasium after passing four years of primary school. Upon graduating from Gymnasium they receive a certificate (Abitur) which allows them to entre all higher level academic studies Allgemeine Hochschulreife according to their choice. Grade 11 prepares the students to enter in the Gymnasiale Oberstufe which is a two-year preparatory phase for their final exams after this it allows them to take admission in certain programme of study according to their individual preferences. After attending to the Gymnasium students can choose from the options of the Fachoberschule or Fachyoberschule which allows its students to decide their preference whether they want to study technology or the social sciences.
The studies in Germany are in some aspects more theoretical than in other countries and they consist of many lectures from the professor. In the lecture there are all students of one year and there are just a few exercise lessons in which the theoretical part can be practiced and proofed in reality. At the end of every term the students get grades for their final examination and for speeches, assignments and practical projects. Depending on the subject the composition of these parts can differ. Practical education can also be offered in internships which are an obligation in some subjects. For some weeks or months the students have to work in a company and use their theoretical knowledge in real life situations to gain experience. This is also a good chance to find a job for the working life after university. The graduate degrees from university are accepted and estimated worldwide. The education at German universities is considered as a good one. The first graduate degree can be obtained after six to eight terms and is called Bachelor.
Afterwards it is followed by the Master degree after another two to four terms. Both degrees require passing the exams and writing a specific graduate thesis. For the subjects medicine, dentistry, law and pharmaceutics as well as the teaching degree another degree is required which is called Staatsexamen. After the Master degree students can also do their graduation to get their doctor’s degree. Academic education in Germany should give firm basic knowledge and theoretical background as well as specific details and practical application. After successful studies the alumni should be able to work successful in every part of the working environment.