Saturday, 11 April 2015

The German School System

The German school system

Childhood Education

In Germany, early childhood education (Kindergarten) is voluntary and parents must pay. In some areas of western Germany, there are not enough places to meet demand. According to the long waiting lists, some parents enroll children at birth to ensure a place once the child is age appropriate.

Most children go to nursery school for two or three hours in the morning. If both parents work, you can increase the time until eight or nine hours (including evenings), in which case you will pay more. Children often go to kindergarten Monday through Friday, but some also offer services for children whose parents work shifts and weekends. In some cities, there are some Kinderkrippen for children under three years offering the same services.

Primary education

Primary education (Grundschule) begins between five and half years and six and a half, depending on the month in which the child is born. The first day at primary school is a very important event for German children. It is customary to give children a bag of candy (Schultüte) on your first day of school.

The number of hours in primary school is between 20 and 30, depending on the type and age of the child. Primary education lasts four years, after which parents receive a recommendation from teachers about what kind of school is best for the child to continue their education in high school. This recommendation is based on the assessment that teachers make of the results, level and interests of children. If a child has learning difficulties, the teacher may recommend to give a special school for children with these difficulties (Sonderschule).

Secondary education

After primary school, children often go to one of these three types of secondary schools:

Hauptschule (until age 16) - prepares pupils for vocational education and ends with a Hauptschulabschluss. The Hauptschule is designed for the less academically brilliant students. After graduating usually opt for apprenticeship (Lehre) in a manual occupation, sometimes combined with part-time study on a Berufsschule.
Realschule (until age 16) - offers more options for students in middle and ends with a Realschulabschuss. The Realschule is designed for those who are going to do practical training that require more academic, as nursing knowledge, and put more emphasis on math and language skills in the manual.

Gymnasium (until 18 or 19 years) - prepares students for higher education and ends with the Abitur (a prerequisite for entering college). This is the type of school that's required, with 32-40 hours per week and lots of homework.

In some regions of Germany, there are other schools called Gesamtschule. All children attend the same school, but within it are separated according to their level. At 16 years, depending on the results they have obtained until then, they can leave school for a Lehre, or stay another 3 years to the Abitur.