Between Elite and Mass Education

Education in the Federal Republic of Germany

Edited by Max Planck Institute

Paperback : 9780873957083, 348 pages, June 1984
Hardcover : 9780873957090, 348 pages, June 1984

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Table of contents

Translators' Comments
Foreword by James S. Coleman

1. Transatlantic Influences: History of Mutual Interactions between American and German Education

2. Before and after the 'Wirtschaftswunder': Changes in Overall Educational Policies and Their Settingbr
3. The Legacy of the Prussian Enlightenment: The State as Trustee of Education
4. Modernizing the School System: The Challenge of Equality and Excellence

5. Setting Out: Preschool and Primary School

6. Integration or Segregation? Children in Need of Special Attention

7. Losing the Modernization Race: Reform and Decline of the Hauptschule
8. Upgrading the Norm: The Success of the Realschule

9. Democratizing the Elite Education: The Emergence of the New Gymnasium

10. The Mighty Midget: The Comprehensive School

11. Learning a Trade: Initial Vocational Education and the Dual System

12. The Core of the Cognitive System: University Expansion and Growing Professionalization
13. Going Back to School: Further Education

About the Authors
Anglo-German List of Selected Terminology


Major changes in education have taken place in West Germany over the past three decades. The experience of the Federal Republic differs from that of its European neighbors, since it was conditioned by postwar efforts of the occupying powers to impose a new model of education: the American comprehensive secondary school. Yet the traditional American educational system is at the extreme of what could be called "mass education," whereas that of West Germany is more nearly "class education" that is, more structurally differentiated and keeping a much smaller proportion of pupils in school until age 18. Moreover, as in every developed country, West Germany has experienced increased consumer demand from an expanding middle class for more extended secondary education that does not foreclose post- secondary options.

This study shows the structure that has emerged from this unique experiment with elite and mass education. Discussed at length are the four secondary routes: the Gymnasium, the Realschule, the Hauptschule, and the Volksschule. Also featured are the German answers to questions that have occupied the center of attention in American education for some years: education of ethnic minorities, education- ally disadvantaged, and handicapped children.

Prepared by a team of researchers associated with the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education, the study provides the only comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the pre- sent educational system in the Federal Republic of Germany. Its abundance of statistical data make it a valuable resource for the educator, political scientist, and European Studies specialist. Its clarity renders it accessible to the non-specialist as well.

The panoramic and yet detailed view that this book gives of German education goes a long way toward providing the base upon which comparison of education in the United States and the Federal Republic can begin.