German Education System. If you’re relocating to Germany with children, you should be aware of the various school types and educational options. Germany has a high educational standard, but assessing the German education system can be difficult for international families.
- German Education System
- Kindergarten education in Germany
- German Education System – Primary education system
- German Education System – Secondary education system
- German Education System – Graduate studies in Germany
German Education System
Preschool, secondary, primary, and tertiary education are available in Germany. All children aged six to fifteen are required to attend full-time primary and secondary school. German education, on the other hand, typically lasts till the age of 18.
Most German schools are run by the state and are free to attend. Parents can, however, choose one of the many fee-paying private as well as international schools. With various kinds of schools to select from at the secondary level, it’s a good idea to think cautiously and weigh the various options before selecting a school in Germany.
In terms of education, Germany ranks first in the world. According to the 2018 OECD/PISA survey of 15-year-old educational standards, it ranks 16th in reading and mathematics and 12th in science. According to the PISA report, German students are generally happy. However, large disparities exist between the highest- as well as lowest-performing students, reflecting the country’s economic inequalities.
Kindergarten education in Germany
Children under the age of three may attend nursery, while those between the ages of three and six may attend preschool (Kindergarten/Kita). In some places, these are available in the mornings, throughout the day, and even on weekends and evenings.
German Education System – Primary education system
Germany’s primary school system
Germany’s public primary schools
Germany’s private primary schools
- Religious schools typically offer the same curriculum as public schools and are primarily state-subsidized, making them less expensive than fully private options.
- International, as well as bilingual schools, are completely private schools that generally provide bilingual education and have their own curriculum. They are one of the most expensive schools, but they are of high quality.
- Waldorf schools (Waldorfschulen) are state-funded alternative schools that use the Rudolf Steiner method of teaching.
- Montessori schools are alternative schools that use the Montessori method of hands-on development-led education. Typically state-funded.
German Education System – Secondary education system
Germany’s secondary school system
Secondary education in Germany is divided into two general phases, though this varies by state. The lower phase (sekundarstufe I) occurs in most states between the ages of 10 and 15/16. This is required of all students. The upper phase is optional and lasts until students reach the age of 18. This stage focuses on vocational education or getting ready students for higher education.
Germany’s public secondary schools
In terms of subjects and teaching objectives, the various secondary schools kinds in Germany are largely similar: to develop skills and subject knowledge, to aid emotional and intellectual development, and to foster independence as well as decision-making responsibility.
- Gymnasium – a high school equivalent. Students typically attend these schools till the age of 18 and then take the Abitur final exam required for admission to German universities.
- Realschule – a school for intermediate students that provides a more broad and vague education until the age of 15/16. The studies culminate in a diploma which allows students to pursue vocational qualifications, begin a trade apprenticeship, or transfer to a gymnasium for sekundarstufe II.
- Hauptschule – a general secondary school for students who are less academic, lasting till the age of 15/16. Students who attend these schools are more likely to pursue a trade apprenticeship or a vocational qualification.
- Gesamtschule – a general integrated and comprehensive school that provides mixed-level education to students aged 15/16. These have become more frequent in recent years across the states as part of an effort to generate a more inclusive system. In some states, they may be referred to as Mittelschule, Regelschule, or Regionalschule.
- Berufsschulen is a vocational school primarily for students from Realschule as well as hauptschulen who wish to continue their education for the sekundarstufe II period.
Germany’s private secondary schools
In Germany, approximately 9% of kids attend private secondary schools. They typically belong to two distinct school categories, which are:
- Substitute schools (ersatzschulen) – provide an education comparable to state schools. Religious, Waldorf, and Montessori schools, as well as totally autonomous international and bilingual schools, are examples of state-subsidized schools.
- Supplementary schools (ergänzungsschulen) – these schools focus on subjects not covered in public schools and provide alternative qualifications. The majority of them are private vocational schools.
- Many international families prefer to send their children to private international schools. These generally provide a high standard of education and allow students to study for the International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate. However, charges are generally higher than those charged by other private options.