American Education vs. German Education Research Paper

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American Education vs. German Education Research Paper

In a rapidly changing world, it is important to keep up with the ever increasing demands of potential students and the companies seeking to employ them. Young educated people with the skill-sets necessary to be a valued are the biggest contributors to the workforce. As the market becomes more saturated with graduates possessing the tools required of employers, it is vital to maintain a competitive and modernized education system in order to train the best possible young adults to meet employer demands. The most important reason for this, given the fast pace things change in the world, is that if action is not taken in sufficient time it is possible for our youth to be left behind. German System

Germany is a federation of 16 sovereign states. According to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz), Article 7 states that the entire school system is under the supervision of the state. Each state is for the most part, accountable for their education system, and each has a different system (Organization of the German school system). The foundation of each German state’s school system is similar as they each have three levels: elementary, secondary, and higher education (Hainmuller vol. 60). Most German schools are state institutions, with the only exceptions being the religious or academic private schools. The last three years of secondary schooling, referred to as upper level secondary schooling, or Oberstufe, is where a very clear distinction is made in which direction the student will take. These distinctions are the “practical, skill-based education and the liberal, theory-based education” (Hainmuller vol. 61). As is shown in the illustration above, the Gymnasium and the Gesamtschule are the two primary means by which students can advance to the University. Although two ways exist, the Gymnasium is a much more common route for students to take in order to advance to the university. As many as 89% of students chose this route to further their education in 1991 (Hainmüller vol. 60). At the end of this education, students must take a comprehensive university qualifying examination (Description of German schools). This can be a very stressful time for students, and rightly so. Depending on how they perform on their qualifying examination, they may or may not continue be allowed to their education.

Germany is known to have a long history of higher education. This is evidence by the fact that Germany has some of the oldest universities in Europe. The University in Heidelberg was founded in 1386 (Daudet) and remains one of the leading universities in Germany. Commenting on German university systems, Dr. J.P. said that “[t]his nation [Germany] has produced famous scientists, musicians, theologians, military leaders, artists, engineers, and writers” (Hüfner, 148). Today, there are well over 300 institutions of higher, postsecondary education, 96 of which are universities and the rest consisting mainly of Fachhochschulen, which are “now officially called ‘universities of applied sciences” (Hüfner, 145).

Over the past several years, German, as well as American, universities have seen a huge increase in the number of students seeking attendance. According to Michael Heyman, the reasons are numerous due to “demographic, political change and demands of our economies.” This increase in the numbers of students attending higher education institutions gives a boost to the economic standings in comparison to the rest of the world.

American System
The American education system is simpler when compared to the German system. All students must undergo twelve years of basic schooling, whether they attend a public or private school. The US government estimates that 47.6 million students attend public schools and 5.9 million students attend private schools (Digest of Education Statistics). This includes elementary and primary schools,...
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