The German Education System

Hi *insert smiley* I am Tom, and I will be a writer for this snazzy little blog. I may not be the most poetic writer. I tend to write from inside and outside of the box. I am one of those people who are stuck with half of my body hanging outside of the box, and the rest dangling inside. So my writings can come in some varying forms, but I do what I can with what I have.

Now onto the post:

I had a lengthy conversation the other day with my German friend about the American education system. Basically, he wanted to know how it works. He said it seems like every American that he knows goes to college, but in Germany only students who went to “Gymnasium” go to the Universities and such. I’ll cover Gymnasium shortly.

I gave him a brief run-down of the American education system. And yes, I am sorry that I am the one representing Americans. It could be much worse! If anything I enhance our image. Ha ha ha Actually, I seem to click quite well with foreigners.

Back to topic.

From what he told me, the German education system makes sense (to me). In the American education system we have everyone trying to obtain a High School diploma, and then we split-off for a bachelors in varying degrees and so forth. Their education system is broken down into much more than ours is.

They start off in primary (Grundshule) just as we do.  Then they go onto a middle school like setting, Hauptschule.

Once they finish Hauptschule most go to technical school. Basically, look at this like you are in high school. You have been given the option to go to a vocational/technical school to learn trades, or generalized job fields like administration. In the states most of us would paddle on through 11th and 12th grade and then onto college. Here, only a select few go onto Gymnasium, which is the highest level, what we might call in high school 11th and 12th grade.

Most Germans go on to learn trades. Only people who have excelled at school continue onto Gymnasium to receive the further education they need to go to the Universities. Here is the catch. You can go as far as you would like. You just need to pass to continue on to the next level. Also, education is 100% completely free from primary to university. As long as you can keep passing classes and going forward you can stay in school until you’re a doctor for all they care.

There is much much more to the German education system, but this above was the jist of it.

I was impressed by their education system. I felt a system like the German education system would better suit most Americans by giving them necessary job traits needed to make it in the capitalist world we live in.

It’s an interesting system, and it seems to work quite well from what he was telling me. Initially, I thought that placing students in classes and scooting them in certain directions was a bit, tribal? Everyone would be assigned their jobs, but what really caught my attention is when Derrick said he completed the 11th grade, and if he felt like it he could continue on and then go to the University if he wanted to. So you’re not stuck, but you are given opportunities to survive (trade skills), and then if you are unhappy with your education and/or job you can continue, FOR FREE!

Any thoughts on a system like the German one? Can it work in America? Is our public education system flawed (I mean……. I graduated without one ounce of effort)?

ElTigreTom is a contributing writer of Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.



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3 responses to “The German Education System

  1. This sounds, in theory, a good deal more sensible than our system. I personally went to a public high school (later referred to in an essay as a “cesspool of inadequacy.”) I met a number of excellent teacers, don’t doubt, and learned myriads of life-changing things; but I also spent an astonishing majority of my time snoozing while teachers repeated the same lecture for a third time (junior history), or dumbed a new one down for people who had no business in a class of the level in question (senior english.)

    Upon entering undergrad, I indulged in four years of sex, drugs, and martial arts, graduating with a 2.7. This was a mixed blessing – on the one hand, I was miles ahead of most peers in philosophic and social experience; on the other, I was about to enter grad school with no clue how to take notes or work outside of a caffeine induced, five in the morning rush.

    Now I am a master’s student, with all the rights, privileges, and debts granted thereto. Under the German system, that sentence would have been a lot prettier. But what can you expect – they’ve only given us the bulk of the world’s philosophic leaders for the last three hundred years, of course their education is fucking brilliant!

    The one “problem” with the system (as you’ve outlined it) is that we can’t pay for such an institution while flappin’ our big Texan gums at any nation we like; because war eats up the education budget. Then again, had we been better educated, someone may have thought of that.

    • shelly

      hi – i am new to this blog thing. however, it seems a great way to gather info – and have a titter at the same time. i wonder if you can help – i am considering moving to germany from england in the next 2 years. i have 3 kids – 1 @1 1@2 and 1@6. With all those mouths to feed i do not think we can afford an international school. Do you think that putting english speaking kids into a local school would be acceptable. Thanx very much

  2. Also, great post – thanks for steppin’ aboard!

    El Tigre Tom is the first in a wave of new authors to honor PGT with their contributions. Look for more fresh talent over the weekend, and returning PGT heavyweights Jakefunc and David on their scheduled days.

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