According to the German Constitution, the responsibility of education and decision about its funding lies with the 16 states of the federation of Germany. The policies of all forms of schooling are subject to the educational laws of these 16 federal states. Each school has an autonomous power to describe its own aims, 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 in public-sector primary and secondary schools is available to every resident child or for his/her expat parents without any charge or fees. Nobody is charged for enrollment or for report cards.
German education system consists of three tiers. It comprises 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 cases, teachers suggest schools for the children but the parents always have a say in deciding about the enrollment into a school before proceeding to the level of secondary schools. Hauptschule primarily consists of grades 5 to 10 which are compulsory for every child to attend. Realschule which is sometimes called intermediate school covers grades 5 to 10 and is halfway in terms of the levels of difficulty between a Hauptschule and a Gymnasium. In this tier children try their hands on additional foreign languages, writing shorthand, word power, accounts and acquire some computer application skills. Graduates earn a Mittlere Reife certificate which enables them to take admission in a higher level of schooling.
Gymnasium which is sometimes called high school or grammar school, consists of both the lower and upper secondary level education level. This is the most important part in the education system of all secondary schools in Germany. After attending eight to nine years of secondary education, students take an exam called Abitur or allgemeine Hochschulreife which serves as a preparation for higher education. In most cases, after passing the Abitur, a student is entitled to attend a 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; students have to switch to a Gymnasium after passing four years of primary school. Upon graduating from Gymnasium the students receive a certificate (Abitur) which allows them to enter 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 a mixture of practical and theoretical aspects of education. The lectures are not only taught theoretically to the students, but they also get an opportunity to perform practicals related to their respective fields of study. 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 through 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 first graduate degree can be obtained after six to eight terms and is called Bachelor.
Afterwards it is followed by a Masters degree after another two to four terms. It is mandatory to pass the exams for both the degrees and also a specific graduate thesis is required. For subjects such as medicine, dentistry, law and pharmaceutics, teaching degree and another degree is required, which is called Staatsexamen. After the Masters degree, students can also do their PhD to get their Doctoral degree. Academic education in Germany not only gives firm and basic knowledge, but also theoretical background and practical application about a particular field of study. After successful completion of studies an alumni becomes much able to succeed in his/her working environment.