Education System in Germany



Germany offers a good standard of education not just to locals but also for the expat community as well. Though the implementation of regulations varies with each and every state, most of the structure and methodologies are pretty much the same across the whole country. 

All public schools in Germany are funded by the state where students are required to complete nine to ten years of compulsory education. A typical school day in the country starts at 7 or 8:30 in the morning and ends at noon or 1 pm from Mondays to Fridays. The academic year begins in mid-August or September and ends in the first week of July where students go on a two weeks break during summer. 

Levels of Study

Some parents in Germany start sending their kids to Kinderkrippen (Nursery) at the age of three while those who are between three and six years old attend kindergarten or Vorklassen (preschool) classes. One a child turns six he/she goes to Grundschule (primary school) which is composed of one to four years or even up to six years on some länders (states). 

At the end of primary school, students are assessed thru academic performance and teacher/parent feedback and are placed in one of the three tracks in the secondary level: 

  • Hauptschule – Is a vocational institution for less academic students aged ten to 16. It is considered to be the less demanding compared to the other two secondary school types and is best for students who are planning to do an apprenticeship in the industrial sector. 
  • Gymnasium – all children who are planning on continuing to tertiary/university level are required to attend in one of the country’s Gymnasium. Students in this type of secondary level spend 30-40 hours of lessons a week where they study a wide range of high standard subjects, music, arts and sports. They can also choose among English, Latin, French and Spanish for their two mandatory foreign language lesson. 
  • Realschule – Also called as the intermediate school, is attended by students who are aiming at landing middle-level jobs in the government or business sector. Realschule completes the grades 5-10 and includes lessons such as bookkeeping, word processing, computer skills and foreign language. 

After completing either one of three types at the secondary level, children will then consider their options for higher education which is either a vocational school or a university. Vocational training in Germany takes place at Berufsschulen (intermediate technical school) which is composed of two to three-year programmes. Students can also enrol in one of the specialist versions such as Fachoberschule (higher technical school) and Berufsaufbauschule (advanced vocational school). The average undergraduate course in a university Germany takes about seven years to be completed and can be followed either by advanced masters or doctorate degrees.