Germany:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

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Overview Germany

Contents

Germany:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Germany:Historical Development

Germany:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Germany:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Germany:Political and Economic Situation

Germany:Organisation and Governance

Germany:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Germany:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Germany:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Germany:Organisation of Private Education

Germany:National Qualifications Framework

Germany:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Germany:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Germany:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Germany:Funding in Education

Germany:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Germany:Higher Education Funding

Germany:Adult Education and Training Funding

Germany:Early Childhood Education and Care

Germany:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Germany:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Germany:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Germany:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Germany:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Germany:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Germany:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Germany:Primary Education

Germany:Organisation of Primary Education

Germany:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Germany:Assessment in Primary Education

Germany:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Germany:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Germany:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Germany:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Germany:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Germany:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Germany:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Germany:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Germany:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Germany:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Germany:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Germany:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Germany:Higher Education

Germany:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Germany:First Cycle Programmes

Germany:Bachelor

Germany:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Germany:Second Cycle Programmes

Germany:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Germany:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Germany:Adult Education and Training

Germany:Distribution of Responsibilities

Germany:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Germany:Main Providers

Germany:Main Types of Provision

Germany:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Germany:Teachers and Education Staff

Germany:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Germany:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Germany:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Germany:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Management and Other Education Staff

Germany:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Germany:Management Staff for Higher Education

Germany:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Germany:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Quality Assurance

Germany:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Germany:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Educational Support and Guidance

Germany:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Germany:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Germany:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Germany:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Germany:Mobility and Internationalisation

Germany:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Mobility in Higher Education

Germany:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Germany:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Germany:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Germany:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Germany:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Germany:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Germany:National Reforms in School Education

Germany:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Germany:National Reforms in Higher Education

Germany:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Germany:European Perspective

Germany:Legislation

Germany:Institutions

Germany:Bibliography

Germany:Glossary

Secondary education breaks down into lower secondary level (Sekundarstufe I), which comprises the courses of education from grades 5/7 to 9/10 of school, and upper secondary level (Sekundarstufe II), which comprises all the courses of education that build on the foundations laid in the lower secondary level.

The function of all the courses of education at lower secondary level is to prepare pupils for courses of education at upper secondary level, completion of which is required for vocational or university entrance qualification. Accordingly, lower secondary education is predominantly of a general nature whereas, apart from Gymnasien, vocational education predominates at upper secondary level.

Lower secondary level covers the age group of pupils between 10 and 15/16 years old and upper secondary level the pupils between 15/16 and 18/19 years old. Both age groups are required to attend school: the former full-time, the latter, 15- to 19-year-olds, generally part-time for three years or until they have reached the age of 18, unless they are attending a full-time school.

Secondary level educational institutions do differ in terms of duration and school-leaving qualifications, but they are so interrelated that they largely constitute an open system allowing transfer from one type of course to the other. The same qualifications can, as a rule, also be obtained subsequently in vocational education and training institutions as well as adult education institution or through an external examination.

General objectives

General objectives – lower secondary education

The organisation of lower secondary level schools and courses of education is based on the principle of basic general education, individual specialisation and encouraging pupils according to their abilities. The schools endeavour to achieve these goals by:

  • furthering the overall intellectual, emotional and physical development of pupils, teaching them to be independent, make decisions and bear their share of personal, social and political responsibility;
  • providing instruction based on the state of academic knowledge that takes the pupils' age-related conceptual faculties into account in its organisation and in the demands made on them;
  • gradually increasing the degree of specialisation in line with each pupil's abilities and inclinations;
  • maintaining an open system allowing transfer from one type of school to the other after an orientation stage.

General objectives – upper secondary education – general education schools

The courses of education provided at general education schools within the upper secondary level lead to a higher education entrance qualification.

The aim of learning and work within the upper level of the Gymnasium is to obtain the Allgemeine Hochschulreife, which entitles the holder to enter any study course at any institution of higher education and also enables them to commence a comparable course of vocational education and training. The instruction at the gymnasiale Oberstufe provides an in-depth general education, general capacity for academic study and the propaedeutics of scientific work. Of particular importance are in-depth knowledge, skills and competences in the subjects German, foreign language and mathematics. The instruction is organised along specialist, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary lines. It offers an introduction by example to academic issues, categories and methods, and provides an education which facilitates the development and strengthening of personality, the shaping of a socially responsible life, and participation in democratic society. Instruction at the gymnasiale Oberstufe includes appropriate information on higher education institutions, on vocational fields and on structures and requirements of higher education and of the professional and working world.

General objectives – upper secondary education – vocational schools and vocational training in the duales System

The courses of education provided at vocational schools within the upper secondary level lead to a vocational qualification for skilled work as qualified staff, e.g. in an anerkannter Ausbildungsberuf (recognised occupation requiring formal training) or in an occupation for which individuals can only qualify by attending school. Resolutions of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz – KMK) ensure, moreover, that many professional qualification training courses can lead to the acquisition of a higher education entrance qualification.

Starting on the basis of a Mittlerer Schulabschluss satisfying the requirements for admittance to the gymnasiale Oberstufe or an equivalent qualification, the Berufliches Gymnasium leads, as a rule, to the Allgemeine Hochschulreife (a general entrance qualification for higher education). The Berufsfachschulen serve to provide an introduction to one or several occupations, provide part of the vocational training in one or several recognised occupations requiring formal training or lead to a vocational training qualification in a specific occupation. At the same time, they expand the level of general education previously acquired. In the Berufsoberschule, the knowledge, capabilities and skills acquired by pupils during their initial vocational training are taken as the basis for an extended general and in-depth subject-related theoretical education, which shall enable pupils to pursue a course in higher education. The three- to four-year courses of education for double qualification provide both vocational qualification (e.g. the assistant occupations or vocational qualifications in a number of recognised occupations requiring formal training) and a higher education entrance qualification. The Berufsoberschule provides two years of full-time education and leads to the Fachgebundene Hochschulreife. Pupils can obtain the Allgemeine Hochschulreife by proving their proficiency in a second foreign language. The Fachoberschule requires a Mittlerer Schulabschluss and leads as a rule in a two-year course of study up to the Fachhochschulreife, i.e. the higher education entrance qualification for the Fachhochschule. It equips its pupils with general and specialised theoretical and practical knowledge and skills. The Länder may also establish a grade 13, after successful completion of which pupils can obtain the Fachgebundene Hochschulreife and, under certain conditions, the Allgemeine Hochschulreife.

Within the framework of vocational education and training within the duales system, the task of the Berufsschule is to teach practically-oriented and interdisciplinary competences with special consideration for the requirements of vocational education and training and at the same time to provide an educational programme that prepares pupils for vocational education and training or accompanies the professional activity. The Berufsschule can cooperate in tasks of further vocational and continuing education.

Specific legislative framework

Secondary schools providing general and vocational education

Based on the Education Acts and Compulsory Schooling Acts of the German Länder the school regulations known as Schulordnungen for schools providing general and vocational education contain detailed regulations covering the content of the courses as well as the leaving certificates and entitlements obtainable on completion of lower and upper secondary education.

Vocational training

The legal provisions for in-company vocational training and in handicrafts are contained and supplemented in the Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz) of 1969 and the Handicrafts Act (Gesetz zur Ordnung des Handwerks) of 1953, respectively. Among other issues, these two laws govern fundamental matters of the relationship between young people and companies that provide training (e.g. contracts, certificates, pay), in other words the rights and obligations of trainees and trainers. They also govern the regulatory aspects of vocational training (e.g. the suitability of training providers and instructors, the terms of the training regulations known as Ausbildungsordnungen, the examination system and supervision of training) and the organisation of vocational training (e.g. the function of the various chambers of industry and commerce as the competent bodies and of their vocational training committees).

The Protection of Young Persons at Work Act (Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz) lays down special provisions for the protection of young trainees.