Thursday, September 14, 2006


(click on the excerpt to read the whole article at Deutsche Welle)

"A new international study shows Germany's education system has dropped behind those of other industrialized nations. In response, the German teachers' union called for a new education strategy."

Yada yada yada. What makes them think they're going to get it right this time around?


At September 14, 2006 6:08 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

interesting! Last night we were watching some special about kids not going to school, doing poorly etc etc etc.

But both of us thought this report was from Ontario somewhere and in fact, it was from aboriginals of North Van!!! We were shocked!

At September 14, 2006 7:00 p.m., Blogger Betty said...

We have lots of foreign university students working for the summer and they all seem to come from countries that test kids every few years and direct them to a certain school based on that. These kids are very very smart and think that's a good system. I wonder what those directed away from the universities think. (The best educational system is one where an adult constantly monitors what's going on with their child and demands that other adults comply with their decisions.)

At September 14, 2006 8:41 p.m., Blogger J said...

I completely agree. The system here is crap!

At September 15, 2006 12:15 a.m., Blogger Dixie said...

But isn't recognizing where the problems lie and forming a way to solve them the first step in getting better education here? It sounds to me that's what they're attempting to do.

At September 15, 2006 3:38 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

It was strange to read this on the same day that an article in the LA Times said there were more deaths in Germany in 2005 than births. Hmm. Do you suppose there's any connection?

At September 15, 2006 1:46 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Expat - Oh yeah, the First Nations issues have been going in for a long time but I don't think the problem is the Canadian school system because it rates up very high in comparison to others.

Betty - Well the thing is here that with the kids being divided up into the three different school forms at 10 yrs old, alot of them are just left to vegetate in mediocre schools and never even have a chance to find out if they would have been university material. No room for late bloomers in Germany. At least in our state parents can still make the final decision about which secondary school to send the kids too. In other states they aren't so lucky and the elementary school "decides" for them, thus basially deciding the child's future. Pretty scary.

J- Yup, it doesn't seem to be getting better at all . I'm sure you have a lot of students coming from all three school forms and can see the difference.

Dixie You're absolutely right, BUT identifying these problems isn't a recent thing - it's been going on for years. After Germany scored so poorly (21st place among 41 industrialized nations - 22% of 15 yr olds in Germany had only reached an elementary school level in reading and math!) in the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) study back in 2001, they started talking about educational reforms and visiting countries with the top scores (Finland, Japan, South Korea, Canada for example)to see what they were doing right, and STILL nothing has happened. My kids are 10 and 13 now and I honestly haven't seen one bit of change, in fact things seem to be getting worse. It's all talk and no action.

Ginnie - It may indeed have something to do with it. Germany has had a negative birthrate for some time now and many factors seem to be involved - difficulty in finding daycare for working mothers, poor education system and the low value placed on children in general. People in Gemany are kind of afraid to have kids these days, I think.

At September 15, 2006 7:12 p.m., Anonymous Fusion said...

Hi, first time poster speaking. I've been a quiet reader for several weeks now, but I just feel that I might add something here. (Especially since I have some experience, having gone through the whole system in the last few years, and now attending university [Fachhochschule, to be honest])...

Actually, Christina, quite a lot has been changed (at least in Niedersachsen) - though most of the changes have been not completely thought through ("Schnellschüsse";)).

For example, children were divided at the age of 12 until 2003 or 2004, after visiting a "Orientierungsstufe" for 2 years (a school mostly with the goal of deciding which school to send the child to afterwards).
Also the Abitur is now to be reached after 12 years, the possibility to choose most of your own classes in years 12 and 13 has been abolished (instead you have some ridiculously stupid "profiles"). And of course the centralised Abitur, highly debated - which has changed about nothing... ;)

On the other hand, several good ideas being used from the "winning countries" have been abolished completely. The "Integrierte Gesamtschulen", (schools for all children, effectively combining the three german types into one) which were highly debated from the late '70s to the late 90's, and are in use in several top-scoring countries, have been declared "bad" by several leading politicians...

And of course, nobody has changed anything about the more problematic types of schools, Real- and Hauptschule. If you read the original PISA-Report - the German Gymnasien weren't even that bad. But this probably is due to the fact, that almost no politician ever speaks of Students not reaching their Abitur, unless it is some right-winged guy complaining about Immigrants. ;)

Oh, and I do have some problems with the new study (not questioning it's outcome though), mostly about the fact that not enough germans have higher degrees (compared to other countries). There are quite a lot of jobs, which in other countries you'd need some college education for (i.e. a nurse), that in Germany are covered in the "Duales Ausbildungssystem" (meaning going to school at special Berufsbildende Schulen, and working at some firm at the same time for about 3 years).
I have not completely read the new study, but I think that this System might have something to do with the quite low number of German college graduates. (Though the new university fees won't do much to help ;)).

Hmm, that comment has gotten way longer than I wanted it to. Well, just my 2 cents. :)

At September 17, 2006 10:27 a.m., Blogger Haddock said...

I know everyone knocks the German school system, but I think its quite good. It's definitely better than the UK and quite probably the USA. From what I understand a lot depends on the particular school that one attends :)

At September 19, 2006 8:26 a.m., Blogger Ms Mac said...

You know I'm with you on this.


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