German education system
First of all, Germany as a federal republic works a little differently in setting up education within the country. There is no ministry of education as in France itself. An effect Germany gives a lot of powers to its different regions called Länder. Thus, each Länder is responsible for the content of the school curriculum within the different school infrastructures.
In addition, the German education system has opted for a different distribution of school holidays. This translates mainly into 188 days/year of class in Germany compared to 144 days/year in France. In return, the Germans have adapted jobs, that is to say that school ends earlier. Classes end between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to give them free time for other activities (sports, culture, etc.).
It should also be noted that the public school course is free in Germany as in France. In German public universities, registration fees are to be taken into account just as in universities in France. Similarly, school is compulsory from ages 6 to 16 in our two countries. In the next few years, schooling could even become compulsory from the age of 3.
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School career Germany
The German school career is quite close to the French system in the structuring of the years. However, there are some small specifics.
First of all, the first level of German education is carried by the nursery school (Kindergarten) which brings together children from 3 to 6 years old. However, kindergarten is not compulsory. School attendance is compulsory from the age of 6.
Primary school (Grundschule)
As a continuation of the nursery school, the primary school integrates children from the age of 6 to 10 (classes 1 to 4). The role of the Grundschule in Germany is not just to transmit simple knowledge. One effect, the main objective is to form balanced children capable of living in society.
Then, at the end of primary school, students must choose a direction for their secondary studies with their parents. In Germany, student guidance takes place early in the schooling of students. At the age of 10, young Germans can choose 4 types of establishments:
Education: Classes: French equivalent:
Hautschule 5 to 9 Apprenticeship
Realschule 5 to 10 College and Vocational High School
Gymnasium 5 to 12 or 5 to 13 (depending on the Länder) Middle school and general high school
Gesamtschule 5 to 12 or 5 to 13 (depending on the Länder) Combines the 3 previous courses
Equivalence of Diplomas
Each structure delivers at the end of the training a diploma allowing access to the higher stages:
1) ABITUR: This diploma is the equivalent of the baccalaureate in France. It is obtained at the age of 18 or 19 depending on the Länder at the end of the Gymnasium or the Gesamtschhule. Obtaining the Abitur is necessary to access higher education and other vocational training.
2) REALSCHUL-ABSCHLUSS: This exam is a professional diploma obtained at the age of 16 for Realschule students. It opens the doors to professional training and further studies.
3) HAUTSCHUL-ABSCHLUSS: As for the hautschul-abschluss, it is the apprenticeship diploma which is obtained from the age of 15 following the Hautschule. It allows access to professional training only.
The German education system
In Germany, most demanding jobs require vocational training because these are very professionalizing. These courses are set up by a system of alternation after having obtained either the Abitur, the Realschul-Abschluss, the Hautschul-Abschluss. Ultimately, students spend half of their time in a company and the other half in a training center (Berufsschule). Note that the vast majority of these work-study programs last 2 or 3 years. However, there are also shorter courses. Just like in France, these professional trainings are remunerated by the company hosting you.
The German education system is very similar in French higher education. To allow comparisons and equivalences of courses and diplomas, the university system has been harmonized within the European Union. In Germany, all higher education institutions have aligned themselves with the traditional examinations of the LMD reform (Bachelor-Master-Doctorate). This course in higher education is accessible after