German education system / Deutsches Bildungssystem

Das Bildungswesen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2002 – PDF-Datei(en) von der Kultusministerkonferenz.

Grundstruktur des Bildungswesens in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Diagramm). Stand: Dezember 2002. Bonn 2003

The Education System in the Federal Republic of Germany 2002 – PDF file(s) from the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Basic structure of the educational system in the Federal Republic of Germany (Diagram). As at December 2002. Bonn 2003

The English terms are accompanied by the German terms in brackets. I noticed that there was a lot of reference to Fachhochschulen, using the German term in italics, but at one point the dubious but ‘official’ university of applied sciences was put in brackets after it. Terms must be taken with caution, but at least there are many attempts. Handwerksordnung I would say is not Handicrafts Code (Bastelarbeitsgesetzbuch? – well, OK, handicrafts is not that bad) but perhaps Crafts Act. I see Berufsakademien have become professional academies, which is better than universities of cooperative education, although the latter may be a later term, which would be unfortunate.

Here’s a sample:

bq. Apart from Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium, almost all Länder have Gesamtschulen (comprehensive schools), albeit in some Länder in only very limited numbers as a special type of school. Several Länder introduced types of school, with particular names which differ from one Land to another, in which, however, the traditional courses available at the Hauptschule and the Realschule are brought under one organisational umbrella – these include
Mittelschule, Sekundarschule, Regelschule, Erweiterte Realschule, Verbundene Haupt- und Realschule, Integrierte Haupt- und Realschule and Regionale Schule. Grades 5 and 6 at all secondary schools can be organised as a phase of orientation (Orientierungsstufe/Förderstufe) with the choice of school career being left open until the end of grade 6. In 2002 in some Länder the orientation stage is a separate organisational unit independent of the standard school types. In this case the secondary schools subsequently attended will begin with the 7th grade.
The various types of school will be described in more detail in chapter 5.3.1. as part of the description of secondary education.

Via the website of BDÜ-Bayern (members’ area) and Sprachrohr, the periodical of the Rhineland-Palatinate section of the BDÜ, edited by the well-named Karin Marx.

3 thoughts on “German education system / Deutsches Bildungssystem

  1. I think I’ll still call “Berufsakademien” “Universities of Cooperative Education” Margaret. The client of mine who didn’t like “vocational academy” circulated lots of nasty rumours here in Ehningen that I was “not a good translator” simply because I did not use his “pet term”. He can go stick his head down a sewer as far as I’m concerned but I would rather not tempt providence and use a more descriptive and, in my view, more correct term if it’s going to damage my “street cred”. When you say “official”, how do you define the term? Indeed, are there any official terms at all?


  2. Hi Margaret,

    I’m afraid I may be the culprit. Back in 1999-2000, I did some work for the BA Lörrach. The boss there wanted the BA to be translated as University, although Stuttgart would not allow Universität in German. Anyway, Stuttgart gave the go-ahead for University in English, and we came up with Cooperative Education together, if I remember correctly.

    It is basically all part of that German condescension towards Anglo higher education. I am told that a Magister is much more than a mere Master’s, etc. So obviously, an Universität is much more than a mere University. There is an argument for the latter, of course, since there is no degree here short of Magister/Diplom.

    I have a double major, an honor’s thesis for my Bachelor’s, and probably took more courses for my Master’s and Bachelor’s than a German is required to take for a Magister. So there are cases in which our degrees are more demanding, though it is also possible to get a Master’s in just 5 years in the US after only 12 years of school, i.e. 2-3 years earlier than in Germany.

    Incendentally, is it true that you get your Master’s from Oxford mailed to you automatically one year after your Bachelor’s, or was my acquiantance pulling my leg?

    CiaoA friend of mine (a scientist now at ESA who got his BS at MIT) studied lit in Freiburg. He finished the program that Germans get through in 12-13 semeters in just 8.

  3. Well, you seem to have been the thin end of a willing wedge. I will have to tell Paul Thomas about you.

    Yes, British Ph.D.s are more demanding than German, but there was a time when I would have had to pay about 200 DM to the Bavarian authorities even to put ‘Ph.D.’ after my name (although I occasionally did so and waited for them to sue me). Now I could call myself ‘Dr.’, if I make clear it was at London.

    Oxbridge MAs have indeed traditionally been automatic. There used also to be a time when a list of staff qualifications, at a school for example, would put ‘(Oxon.)’ or ‘(Cantab.)’ after them, but other universities were not named.

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