Germany, Education

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Summary

Germany (; ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (, ), is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe consisting of 16 constituent states, which retain limited sovereignty. Its capital city and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 80.6 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is a major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many cultural, theoretical and technical fields.

Details

Over 99% of Germans age 15 and above are estimated to be able to read and write. Responsibility for educational supervision in Germany is primarily organised within the individual federal states. Since the 1960s, a reform movement attempted to unify secondary education in a Gesamtschule (comprehensive school); several West German states later simplified their school system to two or three tiers. A system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung ("dual education") allows pupils in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run vocational school. This successful model is highly regarded and reproduced all around the world.

Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least nine years. Primary education usually lasts for four to six years and public schools are not stratified at this stage. In contrast, secondary education includes three traditional types of schools focused on different levels of academic ability: the Gymnasium enrols the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies; the Realschule for intermediate students lasts six years; the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education.

The general entrance requirement for university is Abitur, a qualification normally based on continuous assessment during the last few years at school and final examinations; however there are a number of exceptions, and precise requirements vary, depending on the state, the university and the subject. Germany's universities are recognised internationally; in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) for 2008, six of the top 100 universities in the world are in Germany, and 18 of the top 200.

Most of the German universities are public institutions, funded by the Länder governments, and students have traditionally undertaken study without fee payment. In 2005 the public universities introduced tuition fees of around €60 per semester (and up to €500 in the state of Niedersachsen) for each student for a trial period; however, the German public was not amenable to the experiment and the temporary fee-based system was mostly abolished, with two remaining universities to cease the fee requirement by the end of 2014.

Academic education is open to most citizens and studying is increasingly common in Germany. The dual education system that combines practical and theoretical learning, but does not lead to an academic degree, is typical for Germany and is recognised as an exemplary model for other countries.

The established universities in Germany are among the oldest in the world, with Heidelberg University being the oldest in Germany (established in 1386 and in continuous operation since then). Heidelberg is followed by Leipzig University (1409), Rostock University (1419), Greifswald University (1456), Freiburg University (1457), LMU Munich (1472) and the University of Tübingen (1477).

Academic research is also performed at independent non-university research institutions, such as the Max Planck, Fraunhofer, Leibniz and Helmholtz institutes. Many of these institutions have close connections with nearby universities.

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External Links

  • WikipediaGermany profilewww.deutschland.deDeutsche WelleGermanyFacts about GermanyDestatis.de

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