German-Chinese Meeting #8 Educational System

In today’s session, me and my team mates were talking about our respective educational system. I taught them about the process of going from kindergarten to university in Germany. They seemed especially surprised when I told them that there are three different types of schools one can go to after elemantary school that are all on different levels regarding their “difficulty”. E.g., you can finnish Main school (Hauptschule) in 4-5 years and start working but then you have the lowest degree possible and therefore only few options in jobs. However, when you attend high school (Gymansium) and make your Abitur, one can go to university but you will need 8-9 years to get to your final exam (Abitur). A High school’s schedule is also way more demanding and academic than a Main school’s schedule. Also, there are many special forms of schools and degrees in between these two “extrema” and they differ from state to state what surpised them as much as it surprises me even though I am German and went through that very system. However, the German schedules include a lot more breaks and puts probably less pressure on students than the Chinese system.

In Chinese High schools there are piles of bookes every students has to go through according to some pictures. Moreover, there are banners in class saying things along the lines of “when you study harder you will get a place at a good university [like Beijing]” to encourage the students to study more – I have never seen such banners or messages in German schools. A typical day in Chinese schools also includes dedicated nap-times, wearing uniforms and participating in some sports programme either just running or taking part in huge group dancing or gymnastics events with instructors. I knew about the high standards, the Chinese education system imposes on the students, however, I never really got why it is that demanding until today’s presentation: There is simply too much competition among students. With over 100 million students it makes sense that there need to be some (strict) measures to see who is worth going to a good university and who is not. Additionally, there are influences from the communist government being very demanding.

Overall, one of the most educating session I had with my Chinese peers and I am looking forward to the next one.


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