Schooling in Germany


Written by Germany Simplified

November 1, 2020

The German schooling system is very unique compared to the ones in other countries. The very fact that Germany produces one of the best students year after year is no con-incidence. Most of the kids in Germany are usually attending pubic schools. They do have facilities available for private and international schools which are upcoming at the moment.

Most of the lectures in schools are taken in the German language which helps German students understand their syllabus better. As and when they grow, they are introduced to new languages too. Schools and their teaching material differ from state to state in Germany.Once a child is six years old, they have to go to school.

School attendance is almost a mandatory thing in Germany. Schooling is giving a lot of importance and respect there. Most German schools are operated and run by the state. A child’s parents have to pay nothing at all in order to get their children educated from these state schools. If you are looking to get your child educated from a private or an international school, you will have to pay a fee.

Individual states are responsible of creating study curriculum for their students. Syllabus and curriculums of study are different in every state. Your child’s education depends on where you live and what school your child ends up going to. From different textbooks to different kinds of schools, everything differs in every state.

Children of age 3-6 may or may not attend kindergarten. It is not compulsory but it is the parent’s choice of whether they want their child to start studying that early or not. Post that, school is compulsory for 8 to 10 years. The first aspect of schooling is elementary school which goes on from grade 1 to grade 4.

Elementary school has a uniform syllabus everywhere. Once the child is done with elementary school, it depends upon their performance and parent’s preferences as to what field the child needs to choose to complete their education. Kids are separated after grade 4 according to their academic abilities.

Kids have three options available to them;

Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. Teachers are supposed to recommend the right stream of study to their students considering the academic performance, self confidence and their ability to work independently. These three parameters decide which school is best suited for the child after grade 4. However, in most states and schools, parents have the final call of where they want their kids to study.


Hauptschule is a school which a student has to attend from grade 5 to grade 9. They teach the same subjects here just like the realschule and gymnasium but the pace at what they teach is a little slower. The also have some vocational- oriented courses which help the students get a better understanding of the syllabus. Kids basically have a part time enrolment in vocational school until the age of 18 years if they have opted for Hauptschule kind of school study.


The Realschule kind of education in Germany starts at grade 5 and ends at grade 10 in most states. Students enrol in part time vocational schools and higher vocational school once they have chosen the Realschule kind of study. Students who perform extremely well in this school can be granted a switch to Gymnasium schools on graduating.


The Gymnasium school prepare students for a diploma called the Abitur which helps students get into god German universities. This school helps students get a dual academic and vocational credential. The study matter and syllabus changes from school to school but the subjects generally remain the same.German, mathematics, music, physics, chemistry, computer science, biology, geography, and art are a few subjects that are a part of this curriculum. In the past few year, the Government has taken the initiative to change the syllabus slightly. This has been done to let students get their “Abi” after grade 12 itself. Many states are trying to make this change but that may require a grade 13 too.

There are different kinds of schooling options available for children in Germany. They are: –


Public Schools

Majority of the kids in Germany go to public schools. These schools are state funded and are mandatory to attend. These schools charge no fee for child education. They are absolutely free because they are Government schools. The entire formulation of the schooling system is a little different from the rest of the world. Education policy in Germany is funded by the individual federal states.

This means that every state has a different educational policy and each state can take their own decisions in terms of education. There is a great regional variation in the study material of Germany. Even school types differ in different states. However, state authorities sit together and discuss a common and comparable education system. This is done to ensure some uniformity of education in the German education system.

Private Schools

Private schools in Germany are owned by public institutions. There is a fee system is such schools. A parent needs to pay these school every year in order to get their children enrolled. Private schools here are allowed to operate in the same environment of public schools. They just need to get authorised by the Government to start the school. The regional government has the authority to check whether the public schools are at par with public schools in terms of education. If that is not the case, the regional government will not let the private school go forward.


In this article, we have taken the initiative to give you a gist of how the German School System operates. If you are looking to enrol your child in a school, this article will help you to be fully informed and make the right choice.

Read here to know more about the Cost of Education in Germany so that you can find the best education for your child.

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