Education of Germany

Topics: Higher education, Education, Secondary education Pages: 6 (1860 words) Published: September 6, 2013
Education Germany Table of Contents Germany has one of the world's best and most extensive school and university systems. Although shortcomings exist, on the whole the country's varied and multifaceted education system addresses well the needs of a population with widely differing characteristics and abilities. Some young people are best served by a traditional classroom-based education that prepares them for study at a wide choice of institutions of higher learning. Others profit more from vocational training and education consisting of on-the-job training combined with classroom instruction. At the end of this kind of education, graduates enter the workforce with a useful skill or profession. Other students may choose one of many combinations of elements of these two paths, or decide later in life to embark on one of them by means of adult education and night school. Because education in Germany costs little compared with that in the United States, for example, and because educational support of various kinds is widely available, Germans are likely to receive education and training suited to their abilities and desires. But however well Germans have arranged their system of education, problems remain. The integration of two entirely different education systems within the country's highly federalized system had not been completed as of mid-1995. In addition, the country's vaunted system of higher education is beset by severe overcrowding despite its great expansion since the 1960s. Moreover, many who begin study at the university level are not adequately prepared to meet its demands. Many others who successfully complete their courses of study can find no suitable employment once they graduate. Solving these problems will engage the country's educators and public into the next century. Historical Background ---- The origins of the German education system date back to church schools in the Middle Ages. The first university was founded in 1386 in Heidelberg; others were subsequently established in Cologne, Leipzig, Freiburg, and a number of other cities. These universities, which trained only small intellectual elite of a few thousand, focused on the classics and religion. In the sixteenth century, the Reformation led to the founding of universities along sectarian lines. It was also in this century that cities promulgated the first regulations regarding elementary schools. By the eighteenth century, elementary schools had increasingly been separated from churches and had come under the direction of state authorities. Prussia, for example, made school attendance for all children between the ages of five and fourteen compulsory in 1763. A number of universities dedicated to science also came into being in the eighteenth century. The defeat of Prussia by France led to a reform of education by the Berlin scholar Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835). His reforms in secondary schools have shaped the German education system to the present day. He required university-level training for high school teachers and modernized the structure and curriculum of the Gymnasium, the preparatory school. He also proposed an orientation phase after the Gymnasium and a qualifying examination known as the Abitur for university admission. In 1810 Humboldt founded the university in Berlin that now bears his name. Humboldt also introduced the three principles that guided German universities until the 1960s: academic freedom, the unity of teaching and research, and self-government by the professors. Also of much influence in education, both within Germany and abroad, was Friedrich Froebel's development of the kindergarten in 1837. For much of the nineteenth century, Germany had two distinctive educational tracks: the Gymnasium, which provided a classical education for elites; and the Volksschule, which was attended for...
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