The German states decide for themselves on
educational issues, with the exception of practical
vocational training. The school system therefore
exhibits major regional differences in curricula,
degrees and forms of schooling. There are few private
School duty begins at the age of six and comprises
twelve years. The first four years of school are the
same for everyone. Then the grades, possibly together
with the parents' wishes, determine which of three
alternatives to choose: a five-year general school (Hauptschule)
with a focus on basic knowledge, followed by three years
at a vocational school interspersed with apprenticeships
at companies; a six-year realschule (Realschule),
which provides qualification for further studies in,
among other things, technology and administration, or a
college preparatory high school. The high school
students, and students with good results in the Haupt-
and Realschule, who want to continue to higher education
then undergo written and oral exams for the student
degree (das Abitur). A fourth educational
alternative has existed since the 1980s, especially in
states governed by social democrats; a cohesive unit
school (Gesamtschule) with elements from all
three educational lines. In these schools going vanli
g of a teaching all day, unlike in many other
schools that only have classes in the morning. Students
who do not reach the goals of teaching may have to go
through a school year.
Country facts of Germany, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Nearly half of all students choose a vocational
preparation course that combines school and work
practice. In Germany there is also a long tradition of
an apprenticeship system and it is possible, for
example, to learn health care and physiotherapy by doing
internships instead of obtaining a formal education.
Higher studies are conducted at universities and
colleges focused on technology, commerce and more. Even
young people with degrees from Hauptschule and
Realschule can apply to certain colleges. Germany's
oldest university was founded in Heidelberg in 1386.
Topschoolsintheusa: Offers a full list of testing locations for SAT exam in Germany. Also covers test dates of 2020 and 2021 for Scholastic Assessment Test within this country.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
98.8 percent (2016)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
11.0 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
11.0 percent (2015)
AKK succeeds Merkel as CDU leader
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer becomes new party leader for the Christian
Democrats (CDU) after Angela Merkel. That is clear since Kramp-Karrenbauer, who
is called AKK because of his long, hard-to-pronounce name, defeated the more
conservatively oriented lawyer Friedrich Merz. AKK wins by barely a margin in a
party vote with 517 of 999 votes against 482 for Merz. Kramp-Karrenbauer stands
close to Merkel politically and is the one Merkel advocated as his successor.
Until now, AKK has been CDU's party secretary - a post to which she was hand
picked by Merkel this spring. Before that, AKK was head of government in the
state of Saarland.
Demonstrations against coal power
Demonstrations against Germany's use of coal power are being held in various
parts of the country before the opening of the UN Climate Summit in the Polish
city of Katowice. In Cologne, 10,000–20000 people demonstrate, and in Berlin,
16,000 are reported to have participated in marches, while the police estimate
the figure to be 5000. Coal still accounts for close to 40 percent of energy
production in the country.
Merkel plans to retire
Angela Merkel announces she will not run as party leader for the Christian
Democrats in the party congress in early December. She is withdrawing her
candidacy as a result of the Christian Democrats' decline in the Hesse state
election. On the other hand, she is prepared to remain as Chancellor until the
next election in 2021.
New election defeat for CDU and SPD in Hesse
Both the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats go back sharply in the
state elections in Hesse. Both parties are returning by about eleven percentage
points compared to the 2013 election. CDU will remain the largest party with 27
percent of the vote and 40 seats. The SPD and the Greens both receive 29 seats.
The AFD is sitting in the state parliament for the first time with 19 seats.
Germany slows arms exports to Saudi Arabia
Germany is suspending its planned arms exports to Saudi Arabia for the time
being. The reason is the death of Saudi regime critic Jamal Khashoggi - he died
under unclear circumstances at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul. Recently,
Germany approved exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia worth € 416
million in 2018, about SEK 4.5 billion. Exports from Germany to Saudi Arabia
have mainly included patrol boats.
CSU backs big in Bavaria
The CDU's sister party in Bavaria, CSU, is making a historic loss in the
state election. The party loses more than 10 percentage points compared to 2013,
but still becomes the largest party with 85 out of 205 seats in the state
parliament. CSU is losing its absolute majority and the dominance it has had in
Parliament since the 1960s. But it will be able to continue in office if it
finds a partner. The SPD also declines sharply and slides down from second to
fifth place with 22 seats. The AFD also receives 22 seats and thus takes its
seat in its fifteenth state parliament.
Germany extends border controls
The German government extends border controls at the borders with Austria and
Denmark for another six months. Germany was one of the EU countries that
introduced controls in 2015 in the passport-free Schengen area as a result of
the EU refugee crisis. According to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the reason
for the decision was that many migrants still managed to cross the borders
Merkel and Erdoğan try to heal open wounds
Demonstrations are held both for and against Turkey's President Erdoğan as he
inaugurates one of Europe's largest mosques in Cologne as a round-up on a state
visit. Turkey, whose economy has deteriorated, wants better relations with
Europe's strongest business community. Germany, for its part, is interested in
Turkey being able and willing to keep its agreement with the EU on restricting
refugee flows. Chancellor Angela Merkel says when they have been hit that "deep
disagreement" remains in issues such as human rights. Germany has criticized
mass arrests in Turkey, while Erdoğan is unhappy that Germany does not release
terror-accused Kurds and supporters of the Gülen movement, which he accuses of a
German police chief kidnapped murder suspect
A criminal investigation is underway against Germany's national police chief
Dieter Romann, after he personally retrieved a murder suspect in Iraq from
Kurdistan. The Iraqi, who has been seeking asylum in Germany, has admitted the
murder of a 14-year-old girl and is also suspected of raping an 11-year-old. He
was arrested in northern Iraq in June by Kurdish forces, who handed him over to
Romann at Erbil's airport. No extradition request had then been made to the
Button on Merkel's nose
Chancellor Merkel faces a setback when the CDU and CSU will vote for group
leaders in the Bundestag. Instead of appointing Merkel's candidate and trusted
Volker Kauder, who led both parties in the Bundestag for 13 years, the rather
unknown member Ralph Brinkhaus is elected new group leader. The vote is seen as
a sign that the Christian Democrats no longer have full confidence in Merkel,
whose reputation has also been marred by the trips surrounding the dismissal of
the former intelligence chief.
The Catholic Church apologizes for sexual abuse
A research report on behalf of the German Bishops' Conference shows that over
3,600 children, mainly boys, have been sexually abused and exploited by German
Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014. According to the information, the German
Catholic Church apologizes to the victims and promises that the perpetrators
will be made to answer.
The intelligence chief is dismissed after a government dispute
The head of the country's intelligence service BFV Hans-Georg Maassen leaves
his post after being caught in blustery weather after questioning the
authenticity of video footage from the public showing right-wing extremists
attacking and chasing immigrants in the city of Chemniz. Maassen was also
criticized for having had meetings with right-wing extremist groups and
representatives of the AFD. SPD leader Andrea Nahles demanded that Maassen be
fired, which however, the Mass's chief of the Interior, Horst Seehofer, opposed.
In the end, a compromise was made in an attempt to resolve the crisis. According
to this, Massen would leave his post, but at the same time be promoted to Deputy
Head of the Ministry of the Interior. After strong criticism from the opposition
and agitated reactions from the public, it all ended with the mass not getting a
permanent managerial post but instead becoming adviser to Seehofer.
Right-wing extremists cause rattles
For a few days, right-wing extremists gather to protest in the city of
Chemnitz in the state of Saxony against the killing of a German man in a quarrel
with two men of foreign background. The protesters are reportedly harassing and
chasing people who are perceived as foreigners. On one occasion, the right-wing
extremists are said to be close to 6,000, while around 1500 left-wing activists
are holding counter-demonstrations. Police in the city find it difficult to
control the protests and are forced to call for reinforcements. Chancellor
Merkel condemns the violence and hate propaganda. Right-wing demonstrations and
counter-demonstrations by leftist groups continue for a few days thereafter and
the violence leads to people being injured.
New asylum handling is being tried in Bavaria
Seven special facilities for asylum seekers open in Bavaria. They are part of
the German Interior Minister Seehofer's comprehensive plan to change asylum
management. The purpose of these asylum centers is for asylum seekers to stay at
the same place throughout the asylum process, from the time the application is
submitted and up to a decision. Waiting times should thus be reduced and
expulsions of those who reject their application should be facilitated. People
who are denied a residence permit must be sent back to their home country
directly from the center. Seehofer's hope is that more German states will follow
Bavaria's initiative. As the centers are opened, changed family reunification
rules for refugee families will also come into force. Refugees with a limited
residence permit should be able to reunite with their families. Each month,
around 1,000 refugees will be selected, who may be reunited. The possibility was
stopped in 2016 by the German government in connection with the wave of
Germany removes sanctions against Turkey
According to the government, a restriction on export guarantees to Turkey
will not be renewed. In addition, the German Foreign Ministry removes a text
warning Germany to travel to Turkey because of the risk of being arrested. The
changes in the German attitude have taken place since Ankara has lifted the
state of emergency that prevailed in the country for two years.
Nynazist gets life imprisonment for racist murder
Beate Zschäpe was a member of the Nazi terror cell National Socialists
Underground (NSU). Between 2000 and 2007, they murdered nine migrants and one
police officer and carried out two bomb attacks and several bank robberies.
Today, only Beate remains alive since the two other members Uwe Böhnhardt and
Uwe Mundlos committed suicide after a failed bank robbery in 2011.
Trump is pushing Merkel over NATO
President Trump picks up leaders of other NATO countries at the two-day
summit in Brussels. Trump is demanding that members increase their contributions
to two percent of GDP now immediately instead of the year 2024 as planned. He
also demands that all countries in the long term allocate 4 percent of GDP to
NATO. Trump is particularly reliant on Germany contributing 1.24 percent of the
US's 3.50 percent. Citing Germany buying gas from Russia, Trump is accusing
Germany of being Russia's "prisoner". German Chancellor Angela Merkel replies
that she knows very well what it means to live under Russian domination and that
she is glad that reunited Germany has the opportunity to make its own
independent decisions. After two days of negotiations, Trump claims that all
countries have agreed to increase their contributions and that NATO is now
"much, much stronger than two days ago". According to Trump, US involvement in
NATO remains very strong, mainly due to the other member states pledging to pay
The government parties agree on a new migration agreement
Now the Social Democrats (SPD) also approve the migration agreement that
Angela Merkel signed with her Minister of the Interior CSU politician Horst
Seehofer in early July. However, some modifications are made. SPD leader Andrea
Nahles says that Germany will not act on its own, but that steps must be taken
to speed up the process of sending people who have applied for asylum in another
EU country back (according to the EU's Dublin Regulation,a person fleeing to
Europe seeking protection in the first safe country they come to). The leaders
of the CDU, CSU and SPD agree that no so-called transit centers should be
established instead, asylum cases will be handled at police stations. Seehofer
has backed from the proposal that asylum seekers registered in another EU
country should be able to be rejected directly at the border following pressure
from Merkel, Italy and Austria.
CSU remains in government after agreement with Merkel
The urgent crisis for the German government to crack seems to be over. This
since Chancellor Angela Merkel and Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer from
CSU have concluded an agreement on migration policy. The agreement means that
checks will be strengthened along the border with Austria in order to make it
possible to reject people who have applied for asylum in another EU country.
National transit centers should also be set up where these asylum seekers are to
stay, pending their return to the EU country where they first applied for asylum
(which is about 15 percent today). It is not yet clear how the Social
Democrats, who are also part of the government, adhere to the agreement. The
Social Democrats have previously opposed further tightening of the asylum rules.
Merkel's migration policy is supported by the CDU
At a party meeting, the CDU adopts a resolution supporting Merkel's line on
the issue of migration and the agreement recently agreed by EU countries. The
big question now is how the CDU's coalition partner CSU, led by Minister of the
Interior Horst Seehofer, will react. Seehofer has threatened to put in place
plans to start rejecting refugees at the border already registered in another EU
country. To appease him and the CSU, Merkel points out that bilateral agreements
have been reached with Spain, Greece and another twelve other EU countries that
they will take back asylum seekers. Merkel also wants to set up special
reception centers for asylum seekers already registered in another EU country,
pending their return.
EU agreement on migration
The EU countries, after lengthy negotiations, finally agree on a compromise,
which means that EU countries should be able to form special reception centers
for migrants coming via the Mediterranean. In addition, it is necessary to
investigate whether similar centers can be formed outside the EU in North
Africa. However, many issues are left unresolved after the EU meeting. It is
unclear which EU countries are willing to host reception centers and there is
still disagreement about how asylum seekers who are deemed to have asylum
reasons should be allocated among Member States. Chancellor Merkel says,
however, that she is satisfied with the agreement and sees it as a step towards
a jointly functioning system for receiving asylum seekers in the EU.
The issue of migration triggers the government crisis
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer from CSU is trying to introduce new border
controls as part of a comprehensive plan to redevelop the asylum system. He
wants, among other things, refugees already registered in another EU country to
be rejected at the border. Chancellor Merkel has rejected the proposal because
it could jeopardize the EU's immigration system and threaten the free movement
of the EU. Not least if several EU countries implement the same rules as
Seehofer proposes. None of the parties wanted to give in and the coalition
government looks dangerously close to cracking, but Merkel is finally able to
convince Seehofer that they will await an EU summit where decisions on the
entire Union's asylum policy will be taken before Germany implements any change
on its own.
Increased border cooperation with Austria
German police in Bavaria will cooperate more with Austrian police on the
control of the common border. Even in the Brenner Pass in the Alps, connecting
Italy and Austria, the two countries' police forces will cooperate more. The
purpose is to improve law enforcement and prevent illegal immigration. Migrants
who enter the country illegally often hide in wagons on freight trains passing
through the Brenner Pass.
SPD gets its first female party leader
Former Labor Minister Andrea Nahles, also group leader of the party in the
Bundestag, is elected new party leader for the SPD. She becomes the party's
first female leader. She defeats another woman, Simone Lange, with two-thirds of
the vote, but it is a worse result than many judges had expected.
Russian diplomats are expelled
Germany expels four Russian diplomats as a result of a nerve poisoning attack
on a Russian former spy and his daughter in the UK in early March. It is taking
place in concerted action with some 20 countries, mainly in the EU, in
solidarity with the British government accusing Russia of being behind the
attack. In total, over 100 Russian diplomats are expelled, 60 of whom are from
the United States. Moscow denies all involvement in the poison attack and
threatens with countermeasures.
Merkel's new government takes office
14th of March
The Bundestag chooses Angela Merkel as Chancellor with the numbers 364-315.
She is then formally appointed to the post by the country's president. Her new
government is joining Heiko Maas as Foreign Minister, Olaf Scholz as Minister of
Finance, Horst Seehofer as Minister of the Interior and Ursula von der Leyen as
Minister of Defense.
Eight right-wing extremists receive prison sentences for refugee attacks
Two men from the city of Freital in eastern Germany are sentenced by a
Dresden court to ten years in prison after forming a terrorist group which,
among other things, carried out blast attacks in 2015. Another six people
receive prison sentences of between four and eight years. The attacks have been
targeted at refugee homes and left-wing politicians' homes and offices with the
help of powerful fireworks pieces purchased in the Czech Republic.
Ready for new German government
Two-thirds of the SPD members vote yes to the party forming government
together with Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats. After five months of
negotiations, all the time with the threat of new elections looming in the
background, it is now clear that Germany will soon have a new large coalition
government between the SPD and the CDU / CSU.
IT attacks against the Ministry of Defense and Home Affairs
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry confirms information that the German
intelligence service is investigating hacker attacks against the Ministry of
Defense and the Interior. Malicious programs should have attacked the data
networks, which was discovered in December 2017. A Russian hacker group called
Fancy Bear or APT28 is believed to be behind the IT attack.
Parties agree on government cooperation
The Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats are now agreeing to form a
joint government after they have negotiated both the policy to be pursued in a
number of areas - from arms exports and immigration to climate issues - as well
as which party should receive which ministerial posts. Before a new coalition
government can be formed, however, the SPD members need to give their approval.
A postal vote will be conducted within the next few weeks among some 460,000 SPD
members. Martin Schulz announces shortly after the negotiations have concluded
that he will step down as party leader for the SPD.
Merkel wants to strengthen EU foreign policy
At the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland,
Chancellor Merkel calls for a more unified and clearer foreign policy on the
part of the EU. She believes that the Union has not acted sufficiently
forcefully and coordinated in the war in Syria, crises in Africa and in the face
of threats from the Islamic State.
Record in arms sales
An investigation by the German state TV and radio company ARD shows that the
coalition government between the Christian Democrats and the SPD has exported
weapons for a larger sum than any other German government in modern times. The
difference has been particularly significant when it comes to exports to non-EU
or NATO countries. Under the current government, these exports have been in
excess of EUR 14 billion. Compared to Merkel's previous government (2010-2013),
this is an increase of 47 percent.
The AFD is given the chair of Parliament's Budget Committee
The fact that the AFD, which previously had difficulty obtaining important
information in Parliament, manages to take up the powerful position of budget
committee leader is due in large part to the fact that the SPD and the Christian
Democrats appear to be on the way to forming a joint government. If this locks,
the AFD will become the largest opposition party in the Bundestag.
The SPD votes yes to government negotiations
With little margin, the SPD agrees to start official negotiations with
Merkel's Christian Democratic bloc. The fact that just over half of the SPD
participants at the party congress vote yes is seen as a sign that there is
dissatisfaction with the actions of the SPD leader Martin Schulz, not least that
the SPD is considered to have received too few of their own heart issues in the
joint agreement with the CDU / CSU, which will form the basis for the
German industry calls for mass investment to meet climate targets
The German Industry Federation BDI publishes a new report, which concludes
that investment of EUR 1.5 trillion is needed for Germany to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions by 80 percent compared to 1990 levels. To achieve the even higher
climate target of a 95- Percentage reduction requires investments of the
equivalent of 2.3 billion euros.
Special item is set up against anti-Semitism
The Bundestag voted yes to appoint a reporter to work against anti-Semitism.
Among other things, a special strategy will be devised that will stop crimes
with anti-Semitic background. The Christian Democrats, the SPD, the Greens and
the FDP are behind the proposal, which is supported by the AFD. The left votes
against. The party believes that the bill puts too much emphasis on the
migration from the Middle East and North Africa is one of the problems behind
new anti-Semitism, although it is also mentioned that right-wing groups are
mainly behind anti-Semitic crimes. According to the Interior Ministry,
right-wing extremist views were still behind 94 percent of anti-Semitic hate
crimes in the country in 2016.
AFD presents immigration-critical bill
The AFD, the first right-wing party to have its seat in the German Bundestag,
presents its first bill in Parliament. Not surprisingly, this is a law that
strikes against refugees. Specifically, the party proposes that the current stop
for immigration of relatives for refugees - those who have received subsidiary
protection, ie shorter residence permits in the country due to circumstances in
their home country that make it dangerous for them to return - should become a
The number of asylum seekers is falling
According to the State Agency for Migrants and Refugees (BAMF), 186 644
people sought asylum in Germany in 2017. That was just over a hundred thousand
fewer than the year before. The reason for the decline in asylum applications,
not least compared to the record year 2015, is according to Interior Minister
Thomas de Maizière, mainly that the roads used by the refugees to enter the EU
via the Balkans and Mediterranean countries have been closed.
Breakthrough in government negotiations
Finally, the Christian Democrats CDU / CSU and the Social Democratic SPD
agree on a common platform for continued negotiations to form a joint
government. Not least, the parties succeeded in agreeing on refugee policy,
where they agreed to limit the reception of asylum seekers to around 200,000 per
year, a claim from CSU that the SPD previously opposed.