1. Education

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

In der Schule

German Schools - Schularten

An annotated English-German Glossary
with a self-scoring quiz

In Germany, as in the United States, public education is the responsibilty of each state (the 16 Bundesländer). Therefore, the German school system and types of schools vary from state to state. Not all of the schools listed below will be found in every Bundesland. In Austria, the school system is a federal responsibility and much more centralized than in Germany and Switzerland (cantonal). As opposed to the U.S. and Britain, Germany has compulsory school attendance (Schulpflicht) rather than compulsory education. As a result, home schooling is not permitted. By law (since 1871), young people between the ages of 6 and 14 must attend school. German public education is free, including university study. (Although there is no tuition cost, German university students must pay for books and living expenses.)

German students usually attend a Grundschule (Volksschule in Austria) for the first four years (kindergarten is not mandatory, nor is it usually part of the public school system). At the age of ten in most Bundesländer, students and their parents must decide the next step in their education. That is, which type of school they will attend: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium (in that order of prestige and difficulty). The many school choices are listed below.

A-L | M-Z | Schools | Universities | Phrasebook

German Schools & Colleges (1)
Types of German Schools (K-13)
Schularten (Primar- und Sekundarschulen)
Deutsch English
das Abendgymnasium night school (secondary)
die Abendrealschule night school (secondary)
die Berufsfachschule vocational specialty school
das Berufskolleg vocational college/school
die Berufsoberschule vocational secondary school
die Berufsschule vocational school
das Fachgymnasium vocational secondary school
   Also called berufliches Gymnasium - 3-year and 6-year versions
die Fachoberschule technical secondary school
die Förderschule special school (for students with special needs)
die Ganztagsschule all-day school
die Gesamtschule comprehensive school
   The Gesamtschule, found in most Bundesländer, combines the Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium under one roof. In Bremen it is known as das Schulzentrum.
die Grundschule
in Austria
elementary/primary school (grades 1-4)
das Gymnasium academic secondary school
die Hauptschule secondary school (grades 5-9/10)
das Internat boarding school
der Kindergarten kindergarten
die Montessori-Schule Montessori school
   The Montessori-Schule movement is based on the ideas of the Italian physician and teacher Maria Montessori (1870-1952). There are Montessori schools all around the world.
die Realschule secondary school
die Regelschule (Thüringen) pre-vocational school
die Volkshochschule adult education school
die Volksschule primary school (Austria)
die (freie) Waldorfschule Waldorf school
   The Waldorfschule movement is based on the ideas of the Austrian-born philosopher, scientist and artist Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). There are Waldorf schools in Europe and America.
die Wirtschaftsschule business school

NEXT > Higher Education (Universitäten)

A-L | M-Z | Schools | Universities | Phrasebook

Related Pages

All of the English-German glossaries on this site.

German for Beginners
Our free online German course.

Online Dictionaries
Links for online and print dictionaries and glossaries for German.

Online Translation
Translate any text or Web page from German to English or vice versa, but don't expect perfection.

German Newsletters
Subscribe to a free newsletter!

German Chat


©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.