Once lauded, Germany’s education system flounders

| October 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

Germany has been viewed for centuries as a country with a stellar education system. But things are changing – for the worse – in the birthplace of kindergarten and the modern university.

The German government’s education report for 2010 has revealed that in general, the country’s 15-year-olds can’t read proficiently. Just 29.8% of young adults have a higher education degree, below the European Union average of 33.6%. Many students who attend what are known as lower-tier high schools don’t leave with the skills they need to get additional training in a trade.

Analysts fear that large swathes of the future work force may soon be too uneducated to maintain Germany’s export-driven economy, much less support its fast-ageing population.

Many policy makers believe Germany’s early-selection school system is the problem. After four years of primary school, top-scoring 10-year-olds go on to Gymnasien – high schools for university-bound students. Average students go to Realschulen to be prepared for technical trades. Those with the lowest grades go to Hauptschulen – schools to prepare students for lowerlevel vocational training.

The country’s growing immigrant population fares worst, says the report. Some 20% of Germany’s school children come from Turkish or other immigrant families.

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Category: Spring 2011

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