Germany vs. the U.S on Education

By: Ryan, Elena, Stephanie, and Ta'Leah

Germany vs. U.S

"Each German state is responsible for the education of its residence, so educational qualities can vary from state to state like the U.S.A," (Robert, pg. 1). There are many differences between the German school system and the American school system. Comparing the German school system and the school system of the U.S will show there are many differences but there are also many similarities, so let's dive into the pool of comparisons!


The classes that Germans take don’t strongly contrast classes that Americans take. Physical Education, Biology, English, Geography, History, and Art are all classes Germans are required to take. Similarly, it is mandatory for Americans to take Physical Education, Science (Biology is a form of science), English, Social Studies (History is a form of Social Studies), and in most grade levels Art is also a required class. One class that challenges the similar required classes though is a religion class. German students are required to take a religion class where only in some private schools do Americans have to take a religion class. In public American schools, students never take a religion class. When comparing class size there isn’t a huge difference either. The average American class size is 18 students and the average German class size is 16 students. On that note, a German class is smaller than an American class but not by much. Also, in Germany the students stay in one classroom the entire day and wait for a different teacher to come in. Whereas in America, the students transfer classrooms. In conclusion, there are many differences and similarities in the way the classroom is run in both countries.

School Schedule and Vacations

The school schedule in Germany is very different than the school schedule in the U.S. One thing that is different is that in Germany, they have shorter school days. As a result, the students have more homework. Schools in Germany have shorter vacations than the U.S, however, Germany has more of them. “The official school year runs between the 1st of August and 31st of July, with start and finishing dates as well as half term and Christmas and Easter holidays staggered depending on the individual states” (The German School Schedule). In the U.S, however, the school year lasts from September 1st to around June 9th. Like the U.S. the German school schedule varies from state to state. All in all, the German school schedule is different in many ways.

School System

In America, children are required to first attend elementary school, followed by middle school, and then end with high school. In Germany though, there is a variety of schools they can choose to attend. Kids that are low achieving attend Hauptschule (An Overview of the German System of Education). At this school children receive slow paced instructions but they still learn the same criteria as children going to different schools do. Students that choose to attend Realschule want to focus on liberal education. Liberal education is learning about religion and/or politics. Another school called Gymnasium also teaches liberal education but one difference between Gymnasium and Realschule is that students who want to pursue their studies at a university will go to Gymnasium. Finally, the Gesamtschule school is known as a satisfactory school and they accept all students that want to go there. To conclude, when comparing the amount of schools the German system has to the number of schools the U.S system has, their is a large difference.
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Percentage of 14 year olds who enrolled in these schools the 1992-1993 school year

Clubs and After School Activities

The number of activities U.S. schools offer is larger than the amount of activities german schools offer. American schools offer activities like tennis, basketball, track, and football. Not to forget art club, musical, jazz band, forensics and the list could go on. On the other hand, German schools don't offer as many clubs. Two known clubs that they do offer, however, are theater and ping pong. To get involved in other clubs, ,german students have to explore their opportunities outside of school. As a final point, there a vast difference between the number of activities the two countries offer.

To sum up...

From unalike classes to dissimilar clubs, the differences of the American education system and the German education system are countless. Germany has a smaller class size, they have shorter school days, a large variety of schools, and a different way of promoting extra curricular activities. In addition, German schools set up their vacations differently than U.S schools do. Keeping these differences in mind there are also similarities between the U.S education system and the German education system. American schools, more or less, have similar subjects compared to German schools and both the U.S and Germany get vacation on Christmas and Easter. In the end, even though there are a numerous amount of differences and similarities between German Schools and American Schools, both education systems are effective on teaching students and helping them to learn.

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