the German school system

The German School System



attend practical federal government
up to regulate uniform (2)
state common curriculum
hire staff (2) complicate
dual individual enforcement
set (2) standard secondary school
exist figure (3) primary school
opt guideline vocational training
minister sound (2) theoretical
OECD third (2) high school
GDP represent by comparison






There are around eight-point-four (8.4) million students in Germany attending a total of thirty-three thousand five-hundred (33,500) schools.

Foreigners are often surprised to learn that the German federal government doesn’t regulate the school system; it’s up to education ministers in the country’s individual states to set the curriculum and hire staff.

This complicates the enforcement of uniform guidelines.

Nevertheless, common standards do exist: all children must attend four years of primary school.

After that students enter high schools or secondary schools.

After attending a secondary school for six years, they can opt for vocational training. This is organized into a dual system that includes both practical work at a company and theoretical study in a vocational school.

Students who want to attend university have to finish eight years of high school, completing a full twelve years of school in all.

Germany spends about one-hundred-thirty billion euros a year (€130) on education. This may sound like a lot, but the figure puts Germany in the bottom third of all OECD countries.

It represents only 4.3 percent of the country’s GDP. By comparison, Portugal spends 5.8 percent, and Norway spends 6.1 percent.

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1. Germany has a very large school system. Is this correct or incorrect?

2. Is there a standard, uniform national curriculum?

3. What is the general program or course for students?

4. Describe the dual system.

5. Germany values education. Is this entirely true, mostly true, in the middle, yes and no, both, partly true or entirely false?


A. Is your nation’s school system similar to the German or American model?

B. Describe you and your classmates’ experiences.

C. What do you think of the American vs. German system?

D. Has the school system changed over the decades?

E.What will happen in the future?

F. Is there a lot of debate and argument over education? What should the government or people do?


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