Education System in Germany: How Does It Work?

Across the world, each country has its own way of dispensing constructive knowledge. What then is the education system in Germany and how does it work? Well, Germany is a land that is known for its own history of development, both by means of political wisdom or by means of radicalism among political gladiators and revolutionaries!

A short peep into the European world will tell us that Germany is a Western European country with a landscape of forests, rivers, mountain ranges and North Sea beaches. It has over 2 millennia of history. Berlin, its capital, is home to art and nightlife scenes, the Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to WWII.

Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and beer halls, including the 16th-century Hofbräuhaus.

Germany has a social market economy with a highly skilled labor force, a low level of corruption, and a high level of innovation.

Read Also: University of Trier Scholarship in Germany

It is the world’s third-largest exporter and third-largest importer, and has the largest economy in Europe, which is also the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the fifth-largest by PPP.

By record, most of the German universities are public institutions, and students traditionally study without fee payment. The general requirement for attending university is the Abitur. According to an OECD report in 2014, Germany is the world’s third leading destination for international study.

What is the Education System in Germany?

Responsibility for educational supervision in Germany is primarily organized within the individual states. Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least nine years depending on the state. Primary education usually lasts for four to six years.

In this educative content, you will be brought to the light of recognizing the education system in Germany: how it does work so efficiently for the country to have successfully attained such a height in statistics of literacy. Hence, we have the step by step insight to how the education system of Germany works:

Grundschule (Primary School)

Normally, six-year-olds begin their school careers at primary school, which covers the first four grades. Only in Berlin and Brandenburg does primary school continue up to sixth grade. At the end of primary school, you and your child’s teachers will decide which secondary school your child will attend, considering your child’s academic performance.

Weiterführende Schulen (Secondary Schools)

The most common types are:

  • Hauptschule (secondary general school for grades 5 through 9 or 10)
  • Realschule (more practical secondary school for grades 5 through 10)
  • Gymnasium (more academic secondary school for grades 5 through 12 or 13)
  • Gesamtschule (comprehensive school for grades 5 through 12 or 13)

Hauptschule and Realschule

Young people who have successfully completed the Hauptschule or Realschule are eligible for vocational training, or can transfer to the Sekundarstufe II/Oberstufe (≈ sixth form) at a Gymnasium or Gesamtschule.


Combines the Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium and offers an alternative to the tripartite school system.


At the end of the 12th or 13th grade, students take examinations known as the Abitur and if successful graduate from secondary school with a certificate of advanced secondary education, entitling them to study at a university or at a university of applied sciences. However, they may also choose to undergo vocational training and enter the job market directly.

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