Grundstruktur des Bildungswesens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland by 0N4nG1Kh


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 Basic Structures of the Education System in the
 Federal Republic of Germany

 General Overview of the Basic Structure of the Education System

 Fig. 1

                       Structure of the German Education System

Minimum Age

 3   4    5           6   7    8    9       10 11 12 13 14 15                 16 17 18             19 20 21 22 23 24 25

                                                Grammar School            Grammar Stage/                    Research University
                                                                         Secondary II Level

                                        e    Comprehensive School
                                        t                                                                  Fachhochschule
                                        a             School
                                                                                                     University of Applied Sciences
                                        t                                       Full-time
                                            Intermediate Secondary
 Pre-School                             i                                      Vocational
                          Primary                   School
                                        o                                        School
                          School        n             School types
                                                       with courses
                                        S            from lower and
                                        t              intermediate
                                        a               secondary
                                        g                schools:
                                        e                                     Dual System
                                                                               Part-time                  Continuing Education and
                                                                               Vocational                         Training
                                                     secondary and
                                                    regional schools

                                                Lower Secondary

                                            Special Needs School

Years in Education

                      1   2    3    4       5   6     7   8    9 10           11 12 13             14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Elementary           Primary                               Secondary I                     Secondary II
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Source:         Arbeitsgruppe Bildungsbericht am Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung:
          Das Bildungswesen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Rowohlt: Hamburg 1994;
          Abb. 1.1 (own revision)

 Fig. 1 provides an overview of the basic structure of the education system in the Federal
 Republic of Germany.

 The tertiary sector includes higher education institutions and other educational
 institutions offering study programmes leading to professional qualifications.

 Types of tertiary education institutions

 The core of the higher education system is formed, on the one hand, by the research
 universities (universities, technical universities) and, on the other, by the
 Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences, universities of applied public
 administration). Differences between these two types of higher education institutions
 exist as far as entry requirements are concerned (general higher education entrance
 qualification vs. Fachhochschule entrance qualification), the study programmes and
 degrees, as well as the respective status is higher education acts/legislation and their
 responsibilities in the field of academic research (basic research vs. applied research).

 The winter semester 2001/02 saw a total of around 1.38m students - including 237,000
 study entrants - matriculated for studies at the research universities (universities,
 comprehensive universities, colleges of theology/church colleges, universities of
 education, colleges of art/music, universities of the Federal Armed Forces). At the same
 time, a total of 486,000 students, including 108,000 study entrants, were enrolled at the
 universities of applied sciences and universities of applied public administration.

 Higher education entrance qualifications

 Enrolment in a degree course at a research university is possible for secondary II school
 leavers who hold a general higher education entrance qualification (eg, Abitur, degree
 awarded by a Fachhochschule (FH) or, in special cases, an aptitude test) or a subject-
 specific higher education entrance qualification (entry qualification for study in specific
 subject areas only).

 The Fachhochschulreife (qualification for admission to study at a universities of applied
 sciences) counts only for admission to a course of study at a Fachhochschule.

 Admission to studies may be made subject to further conditions, such as the completion
 of pre-study internships, practical training or work placements.

 Since the mid 1990s, it has also been possible to take up a course of academic study
 without one of the above-mentioned higher education entrance qualifications. Applicants
 then qualify by having completed their vocational training and having gained appropriate
 career experience.

 37% of an age group hold either a higher education or Fachhochschule entrance
 qualification and so are entitled to take up a degree course at a university or
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Fachhochschule (university of applied sciences) (28% holding a general higher
education entrance qualification, 9% a Fachhochschule entrance qualification).

Access routes

For the majority of students, the path to academic study leads via attendance of a
grammar school or comprehensive school. This involves eight or nine years of
secondary education, from grade 5 through to grade 12 or 13. This is the main route to
the higher education entrance qualification in Germany. In the winter semester
2000/2001, more than three quarters of all study entrants had gained their higher
education entrance qualification at one of these types of schools.

Six per cent of all new entrants into higher education had gained their university
entrance qualification via a specialised grammar or secondary II school. All in all, the
number of those who had gained their higher education entrance qualification via the
second chance route - evening school, college, adult education centres (3%) or via
another route, eg, an aptitude test (3%) - is low.

The route to higher education study via a higher technical school or another vocational
school is chosen only by one in ten study entrants. This route leads to a
Fachhochschule entrance qualification.

Age on transition into the tertiary sector

In the winter semester 2000/2001, the average age of study entrants was 21.6 years.
Men are older than women when they commence their studies as a result of the time
spent in compulsory military or non-military service (men 22 years, women 21.2 years).

Duration of tertiary education

In most cases, the standard time to degree (Regelstudienzeit) in a university degree
course is four and a half years (9 semesters). Some disciplines are exceptions to this
rule (eg, medicine).

However, the actual mean time spent studying up to successful graduation often
exceeds the standard time to degree substantially. In most cases, the average time to
degree is more than 12 semesters. The average age of graduates is correspondingly
high, namely 28.1 years at universities at present and 28.6 years at Fachhochschule
universities of applied sciences.

Student funding

Responsibility for financing the living expenses of students is initially a maintenance
obligation on the parents. The great majority of students (86%) are financially supported
by their parents.

Where parental income falls below an assessment ceiling, the Federal Republic of
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Germany operates a system of general student support financed from public funds. This
provides each needy student with a statutory entitlement to state educational assistance
(BaföG). Between one-in-four and one-in-five students receive financial support from the
state educational assistance system.

The length of support is calculated on the basis of the standard time to degree
(Regelstudienzeit) for the individual degree course plus one or two further semesters.
Students who exceed the maximum support period generally take up gainful
employment, besides their studies, to cover their living expenses. One-in-four students
studying in their first degree course are engaged in such gainful employment throughout
the lecture period (term time).

In total, just under one third of all students contribute to part of their living expenses
through such gainful employment.

Most students typically draw their income from several sources: Parental home,
personal earnings and state educational assistance (BaföG) form the three main pillars
of this student funding.

Tuition fees have no longer been charged in Germany since the beginning of the 1970s.
In recent times, however, a political debate has arisen on whether it may be appropriate
to introduce tuition fees. One of the first results of this debate is that some few federal
states have passed statutory regulations which allow them - in special cases, such as
long-term students - to charge semester fees. These fees amount to €511 per semester
in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, for example.

Social origin and access to education

Social origin continues to be of decisive significance to the transition into higher
education. Of those children whose father holds a higher education entrance
qualification, three quarters take up a course of higher education. By contrast, only one
third of those children whose father holds a 10th grade school-leaving certificate
(intermediate secondary - mittlere Reife) matriculate at a higher education institution,
while only one in six of those children whose father only holds an 8th or 9th grade school
leaving certificate (lower secondary - Hauptschulabschluss) do so.

Fig. 2 (see attached document)

The social group specific selection found in educational participation and in access to
the tertiary education sector can be read from the occupational status of the student's
father. Almost three quarters of the children whose father is a civil servant begin a
course of academic study. 60% of the children of independent professionals or
freelancers take up university studies. In white collar households the rate is 37%, while
in working-class (blue collar households) it is just 12%.

Students with disabilities

The proportion of students with disabilities amounts to 2%, and of those with longer-term
or chronic illnesses to 13%. The disability rate lies under that of around 8% for the
German population as a whole and also under the proportion of under-25's with
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disabilities, which is a more appropriate group for comparison with students (4%).

Most students with health impairments do not think that this has hampered their studies.
However, one in twelve of all health-impaired students find that the disability or chronic
illness has hampered their studies substantially.


The following statements do not relate to all groups of immigrants, but rather only to
those foreigners who completed their schooling in Germany. They are called
Bildungsinländer (foreigners holding a German school leaving certificate). They account
for around 10% of all pupils in general education schools.

Children from immigrant families gain lower educational certificates on average than do
German children. In the 2000/2001 school year, 24% of the German but 40% of the
foreign pupils ended their schooling with an 8th or 9th grade certificate
(Hauptschulabschluss). Around 42% of the German but only 29% of the foreign pupils
gained a 10th grade school leaving certificate (Realschulabschluss). 24% of the German
but only 9% of the foreign pupils gained a 12th or 13th grade school leaving certificate,
the general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur). As a consequence of the
lower rate of academic entrance qualification holders, foreigners are also under-
represented in the tertiary sector.

The majority of Bildungsinländer come from countries from which workers were
recruited for the Federal Republic of Germany, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s
(58%). The remaining immigrants largely came either from neighbouring countries
(13%) or from areas of political conflict.

A disproportionately high number of Bildungsinländer from the worker recruitment
countries come from parental homes with a low level of schooling. The parents of
students from the other countries have, compared to the parents of German students, a
higher level of educational qualification : For 74% of these Bildungsinländer, at least one
parent holds a higher education entrance qualification, compared with 52% for German

Bildungsinländer from the worker recruitment countries decide more often than German
students to study at a Fachhochschule university of applied sciences (30% vs. 25%). A
disproportionately high number will study for a degree in engineering, law or
economics/business administration.

A number of differences exist between foreign and German students as far as the
financing situation is concerned: For example, Bildungsinländer are less likely to be
financially supported by their parents (54% vs. 72%). On the other hand, the proportion
of Bildungsinländer who cover their living expenses from gainful employment is higher
than among German students (72% vs. 68%). The proportion of BaföG supported
students is also clearly higher among Bildungsinländer than among German students
(30% vs. 20%). Of the Bildungsinländer from worker recruitment countries, one third
receive BaföG and of the other Bildungsinländer one quarter.
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Hannelore Faulstich-Wieland, University of Hamburg (Equality of the sexes as a core
responsibility in all fields of education)

Rainer Geißler, Comprehensive University Siegen.

Petra Hölscher, State Institute for School Education and Educational Research, Munich
(Education and training for immigrants)

Stefan Hradil, Institut of Sociology, Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz

Richard Münchmeier, Free University Berlin (Education and social inequality)

Klaus Schnitzer; HIS Hochschul-Informations-System, Hannover

Ulrich Teichler, Scientific Centre for Vocational and Higher Educational Research,
Comprehensive University Kassel

Wolfgang Zapf, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin
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