The Hessian School System
All people in Germany are provided with a good education. Therefore, school is compulsory in Germany, that means children between the age of 6 and 16 have to attend school. School attendance in Germany is free of charge.
School starts with primary school, usually when the children are 6 years old. Girls and boys study together in mixed classes for four years, mostly focusing on reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Also all students with impairments or disabilities have the right to attend school here. In Hesse, they can either attend a school for children with special needs or one of the other types of schools.
After primary school, the parents decide about their child's further educational path. Primary school teachers give advice on the choice of possible educational paths. In Hesse, there are different paths that young people can take to obtain a qualification.
The shortest educational path ends with the certificate of the "Hauptschule" in 9th grade. With this qualification, young people can start vocational training in many professional fields. However, they can also continue to attend school and obtain a further qualification.
The certificate of the "Realschule" can be obtained by successfully completing the final exams at the end of 10th grade. With this qualification, one can also start vocational training or achieve other qualifications.
The longest educational path after primary school is aimed at obtaining the A levels, the “Abitur”. It grants the permission to study at college or university. However, with this qualification, one can also start vocational training.
When choosing vocational training, learning in school does not stop. In this case, there are two places of learning: At the place of work, young people get to know everyday working life. In
vocational school, they acquire the necessary theoretical knowledge. Vocational training usually takes three years.
On the way to a future professional career, there are more educational offers at the vocational schools for young people from the age of 16. There, higher qualifications can also be subsequently obtained. In addition, the students receive a detailed insight into different vocational fields.
For young immigrants who do not have sufficient knowledge of German, there is a language support scheme in Hesse which offers courses from pre-school preparatory classes prior to enrolment as well as intensive German classes in special courses, or in the classes of the various types of schools.