In Germany, the Länders (States) and the Federation share the responsibility for education. The Federation has a minor role while the Länders (States) have a high degree of autonomy in education policy. Therefore, the system is different from one Länd (State) to another: different school calendar, types of schools, curriculum, textbooks, number of lessons per subjects, courses and extracurricular activities.

Children start the compulsory education at the age of 6 and attend classes until they complete a 9 or 10-year full-time schooling. 

  • Elementary School covers the first years of study, from grades 1 to 4 (grades 1 to 6 in Berlin and Brandenburg);
  • The Lower Secondary Level it is addressed to students aged 10 to 15/16 in grades 5/7 to 9/10;
  • The Upper Secondary Level it is addressed to students aged 15/16 to 18, who completed the Lower Secondary Level and want to continue their studies at university or want a vocational qualification.

The grading system is from 1 to 6, where 1 = very good, 2 = good, 3 = satisfactory, 4 = adequate, 5 = poor and 6 = very poor.

German education system