Human Science

Project Outline

To obtain the comparative value of education in Germany,France & USA today. To look for quality of university standards, eminence of university level of education in any actual measures.

Research Info

Comparative Value of Education in USA, France and Germany


From the list one can observe that out of the top ten universities (Harvard, Stanford and California) of the world the top three are in US, while 8 of the top ten are also US universities. Strangely none of the universities from France and Germany are found in the top ten whilst their neighbor UK has atleast two in the top ten. The first listing for universities in France is at No 39 as the University of Paris, followed by three others at No52, 83 and 99. The first German university in the ranking is university of Munich at 53 followed by other universities at 56, 65, 87, 94, 99. But 54 out of the top 100 universities are in US.

Thus it is clear that US is far ahead regarding value to education compared to France and Germany, while German edges out France atleast in the number of universities in top 100.

Its strange to observe that US was formerly a British colony with majority of population being immigrants with no separate culture of its own unlike France and German which were never been colonized and are rich in native traditional heritage like Britain. Also the educational institutions of France and German are traditionally deep rooted. It is also noted that all the top ten universities provide their education in English medium unlike France and German where mother tongue education attains importance because it’s a known fact that though mandarin (Chinese) might be the most spoken language in the world as a mother tongue, English is the most understood language in the world.

Does it mean English as the global communication language peps up the value of education?? Does it mean the cosmopolitan nature of people made it break the rules of education as they are an evolving society and need to build traditions? Was it due to the private, public, industrial coordination?? Was it due to the fact that the Americans have never been a kingdom like France, German or Britain, thus their decision making been decentralized?? Let’s move on to analyze.

World Rank Institution Country
Harvard Univ USA
Stanford Univ USA
Univ California - Berkeley USA
Univ Cambridge UK
Massachusetts Inst Tech (MIT) USA
California Inst Tech USA
Columbia Univ USA
Princeton Univ USA
Univ Chicago USA
Univ Oxford UK
Yale Univ USA
Cornell Univ USA
Univ California - Los Angeles USA
Univ California - San Diego USA
Univ Pennsylvania USA
Univ Washington - Seattle USA
Univ Wisconsin - Madison USA
Univ California - San Francisco USA
Johns Hopkins Univ USA
Tokyo Univ Japan
Univ Michigan - Ann Arbor USA
Kyoto Univ Japan
Imperial Coll London UK
Univ Toronto Canada
Univ Coll London UK
Univ Illinois - Urbana Champaign USA
Swiss Fed Inst Tech - Zurich Switzerland
Washington Univ - St. Louis USA
Northwestern Univ USA
New York Univ USA
Rockefeller Univ USA
Duke Univ USA
Univ Minnesota - Twin Cities USA
Univ Colorado - Boulder USA
Univ California - Santa Barbara USA
Univ British Columbia Canada
Univ Maryland - Coll Park USA
Univ Texas - Austin USA
Univ Paris 06 France
Univ Texas Southwestern Med Center USA
Vanderbilt Univ USA
Univ Utrecht Netherlands
Pennsylvania State Univ - Univ Park USA
Univ California - Davis USA
Univ California - Irvine USA
Univ Copenhagen Denmark
Rutgers State Univ - New Brunswick USA
Univ Manchester UK
Univ Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh USA
Univ Southern California USA
Univ Florida USA
Univ Paris 11 France
Karolinska Inst Stockholm Sweden
Univ Edinburgh UK
Univ Munich Germany
Tech Univ Munich Germany
Australian Natl Univ Australia
Univ North Carolina - Chapel Hill USA
Univ Zurich Switzerland
Carnegie Mellon Univ USA
Ohio State Univ - Columbus USA
Univ Bristol UK
McGill Univ Canada
Hebrew Univ JerUSAlem Israel
Univ Heidelberg Germany
Uppsala Univ Sweden
Osaka Univ Japan
Purdue Univ - West Lafayette USA
Univ Oslo Norway
Brown Univ USA
Univ Leiden Netherlands
Univ Sheffield UK
Univ Helsinki Finland
Univ Arizona USA
Univ Rochester USA
Moscow State Univ Russia
Tohoku Univ Japan
Case Western Reserve Univ USA
Univ Melbourne Australia
Michigan State Univ USA
Univ Nottingham UK
Univ Basel Switzerland
Boston Univ USA
Ecole Normale Super Paris France
King's Coll London UK
Stockholm Univ Sweden
McMaster Univ Canada
Rice Univ USA
Univ Goettingen Germany
Indiana Univ - Bloomington USA
Texas A&M Univ - Coll Station USA
Univ Birmingham UK
Univ Utah USA
Nagoya Univ Japan
Univ Freiburg Germany
Arizona State Univ - Tempe USA
Lund Univ Sweden
Univ Iowa USA
Tokyo Inst Tech Japan
Univ Bonn Germany
Univ Strasbourg 1 France

Eminence of University Level of Education

Before comparing university level of education, one needs to know the nature of schooling because a person’s character is shaped up in school. All the three nations make it compulsory for their citizens to do schooling. Let’s have a brief overview of schooling in the three nations.



A nursery school or pre-school education is a school for children between the ages of three and five, staffed by qualified teachers and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare. It is generally considered part of early childhood education, and is not part of the actual school system. 85 percent of German youngsters attend voluntary community and church-supported kindergartens.


In France, State-run, free nursery schools are available throughout the country, welcoming children aged from 2 to 5 (although in many places, children under 3 may not be granted a place). It is not compulsory, yet almost 100% of children aged 3 to 5 attend. It is regulated by the French department of education.

United States:

In the United States, Children usually attend elementary school at ages 5–6 but in some states, children start as young as 4. Kindergarten is considered the first year of formal education, although the child may have gone to preschool. It is, however, considered a grade. Pre-schools, both private and school sponsored, are available for children aged from three to five.

Primary Education:


After the pre-school, attendance is compulsory for ten to thirteen years. Students are graded on a scale of one through six, one being high and six being very low, or failing. Home-schooling is not permitted except if a child is suffering from some illness that makes it impossible for him or her to attend school OR foreign families living for a short time in Germany have been granted exemption from compulsory schooling to home school their children in their own language. Primary education usually lasts for four years and public schools are not stratified at this stage.


After kindergarten, the young students move on to primary school where they will learn to write and perfect their reading skills. Much akin to other educational systems, French primary school students usually have a single teacher (or perhaps two) who instructs in many different disciplines, such as French, mathematics, natural sciences, history and geography to name a few.

United States:

The ages for compulsory education vary by state, beginning at age’s five to eight and ending at the ages of sixteen to eighteen. A growing number of states are now requiring school attendance until the age of 18. Middle school (also known as intermediate school or junior high school) covers a period of education that straddles primary/elementary education and secondary education, serving as a bridge between the two.

Secondary Education:

Secondary education is generally the final stage of compulsory education. The next stage of education is usually college or university. Secondary education is characterized by transition from the typically compulsory, comprehensive primary education for minors to the optional, selective tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education (e.g., university, vocational school) for adults. Depending on the system, schools for this period or a part of it may be called secondary schools, high schools, gymnasia, lyceums, middle schools, colleges, vocational schools and preparatory schools, and the exact meaning of any of these varies between the systems.


Secondary education is generally the final stage of compulsory education. The next stage of education is usually college or university. Secondary education is characterized by transition from the typically compulsory, comprehensive primary education for minors to the optional, selective tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education (e.g., university, vocational school) for adults. Depending on the system, schools for this period or a part of it may be called secondary schools, high schools, gymnasia, lyceums, middle schools, colleges, vocational schools and preparatory schools, and the exact meaning of any of these varies between the systems.


French secondary education is divided into two schools:

  • the collège for the first four years directly following primary school;
  • the lycée for the next three years.
United States:
  • As part of education in the United States, secondary education usually covers grades 5, 6, or 7 through twelve.
  • High school usually runs either from grades 9-12 or from grades 10-12. In high school, students obtain much more control of their education, and may choose even their core classes. Public high schools offer a wide variety of elective courses, although the availability of such courses depends upon each particular school's financial situation. Some schools and states require students to earn a few credits of classes considered electives, most commonly foreign language and physical education.

Higher education


There are public and private state-recognized institutions of higher education categorized as:

1. Universities (Universitäten) and equivalent higher education institutions

2. Colleges of art and music (Kunsthochschulen and Musikhochschulen);

3. Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) and Verwaltungsfachhochschulen and company training centres.

Academic year:

Classes from: Oct to: Jul

Languages of instruction: German


Higher education in France is characterized by a dual system : it is provided in universities (including Instituts nationaux polytechniques) open to a large number of students, whose programmes are generally geared towards research and its applications and in Grandes Ecoles and other professional higher education institutions with selective admission policies. Whereas most institutions come under the responsibility of the Ministry of Youth, Education and Research, some Grandes Ecoles come under other Ministries.

Academic year:

Classes from: Sep to: Jun

Long vacation from: 1 Jul to: 15 Sep

Languages of instruction: French


Higher education in the U.S. is also called postsecondary education. It is not divided into different sectors (university, non-university, etc.) as are some other national systems and it is a diverse and autonomous community of publicly and privately supported institutions

1) RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES (I and II): Comprehensive doctorate-granting institutions that operate extensive theoretical and applied research programmes in a wide variety of disciplines;

2) DOCTORATE-GRANTING UNIVERSITIES (I and II): Institutions offering comprehensive studies in a wide variety of disciplines but which do not award the Doctorate in as many fields as do research universities;

3) MASTER'S (COMPREHENSIVE) UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES (I and II): Institutions offering academic and professional programmes at the Bachelor's and Master's degree levels, and first-professional degrees, but which do not award the research Doctorate;

4) BACCALAUREATE (LIBERAL ARTS) COLLEGES (I and II): Institutions offering academic and professional programmes at the Bachelor's degree level, but not higher degrees;

5) ASSOCIATE OF ARTS COLLEGES: Institutions offering academic and professional or occupational studies at the Associate Degree level, including public community colleges and public and private junior colleges;

6) PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS AND OTHER SPECIALIZED INSTITUTIONS: Institutions that offer instruction in only one or a few related subjects, either professional or academic, and thus are not comprehensive enough to fit into other classifications

Academic year:

Classes from: Sep to: Jun

Languages of instruction: English

University Level of Education Comparison

It is fact that, with universities funded only by state subsidies, France devotes much less money to higher education than the USA (1,1% of GNP vs 2,7%) which is a major weakness for the future (See comparative figures); "Grandes Ecoles" get relatively more money than the rest of the higher education system.

Sweden : 2,4 Germany : 1,6
USA : 2,3 Spain : 1,3
Japan : 1,7 Italy : 1,1
UK : 1,6 France : 1,1
University level first stage: Premier Cycle (2 years):

The first cycle of long study courses corresponds to basic training in a specific field. It leads, two years after the Baccalauréat, to the Diplôme d'Etudes universitaires générales (DEUG) with mention of the major field of study. In Medicine, the first cycle is called PCEM. Two years in Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Ecoles (CPGE) are required to enter a Grande Ecole. In Instituts Universitaires Professionnalisés (IUP), the first cycle is called DEUP (Diplôme d'Etudes Universitaires Professionnalisées).

University level second stage: Deuxième Cycle (2 years):

The second cycle normally leads after one year to the Licence and after another to the Maîtrise. In professional fields, the following Maîtrises are awarded two years after the DEUG : Maîtrise des Sciences et Techniques (MST), Maîtrise des Sciences de Gestion (MSG), Maîtrise des Méthodes informatiques appliquées à la gestion (MIAGE). The Magistère is awarded three years directly after the DEUG (or the DUT). In Medicine this cycle (DCEM) consists of four years of study and hospital internship. In Dentistry and Pharmacy, it leads to the Diplôme d'Etat de Docteur en Chirurgie Dentaire and to the Diplôme d'Etat de Docteur en Pharmacie after six years. In the Grandes Ecoles, a Diploma is awarded in Engineering, Commerce or literary fields, generally three years after the DEUG, the DUT, or the CPGE.

The Titre d'Ingénieur (engineering Degree) is conferred by independent engineering schools or by engineering schools attached to universities, upon successful completion of five years of study beyond the Baccalauréat. Some engineering schools accept students on the basis of a competitive examination generally taken two years after the Baccalauréat (in this case, studies last three years at most) or according to the Baccalauréat results, followed by aptitude tests and an interview (in this case, studies last four or five years). Catholic higher education institutes, besides preparing to State diplomas at this level (in agreement with a public university), offer four-year and six-year ecclesiastic canonic qualifications.

University level third stage: Troisième Cycle:

The third cycle is devoted to specialization and training for research. It offers two channels: a professional one, leading in one year to the Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées (DESS), a terminal degree. A doctoral channel leads in one year to the Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies (DEA) and then to preparation of a Doctorat. The latter is obtained three or four years after the DEA and after extensive research, either individual or as part of a group supervised by a Directeur de Thèses and the preparation and successful defence of a thesis. Several schools of Engineering, Business and Management offer a Mastère spécialisé to students who are recipients of Engineering degrees or the DEA. The Mastère spécialisé is a specialized 12-month programme (including four months' training). Since 2000, a Mastaire is awarded to holders of a DEA or a DESS or an Engineering Diploma.

Engineers with a Maîtrise from a university (Ingénieurs-Maîtres) and engineering students in their last year of engineering school can work towards a Diplôme de Recherche technologique (DRT) (Technological Research Diploma), a third cycle diploma issued after completion of a course centring on innovation through technological research in the industrial sector and service industries. The DRT marks the successful completion of a programme of 18 months to two years that is carried out in an industrial or service-oriented scientific environment under the joint responsibility of two advisers, one being a teacher-cum-researcher, the other coming from the industrial sector or a service industry. In general Medicine, the third cycle culminates in the Diplôme d'Etat de Docteur en Médecine after two years' further study following DCEM. In specialized Medicine, it leads to the Diplôme d'Etudes spécialisées (DES) after four to five years' further study.

University level fourth stage: Post-doctorat:

The Doctorat may be followed by a post-doctoral degree, the Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches, which constitutes the highest national award and is offered to academics who display the ability to carry out high level scientific research and to supervise thesis.

University level first stage: Grundstudium:

Stage I, or basic studies (Grundstudium), usually lasting four semesters (2 academic years) at universities culminate in an intermediate examination (Diplom-Vorprüfung, Zwischenprüfung). This examination gives the right to continue in Stage II (Hauptstudium). A degree is not awarded. Since 1998, a basic higher education degree, the Bachelor (or Baccalaureatus) has been introduced in universities and Fachhochschulen requiring a minimum of three years' study (maximum four years). It normally leads to a career.

University level second stage: Hauptstudium:

Stage II consists of more advanced studies (Hauptstudium) leading to the final degree examination. The Hauptstudium usually lasts for five more semesters and leads to the award of the Diplom. The Magister is awarded by universities, predominantly in the Arts, on the basis of the Magister examination. The course of study comprises either two equally weighed major subjects or a combination of one major and two minor subjects. As a first degree, the Magister is usually awarded as a Magister Artium/MA without specifying individual subjects. The Magistergrad can also be awarded at the end of one or two years' postgraduate studies following upon the acquisition of a first degree. Alongside this one-tier system, a two-tier system leading to a BA/BSc after three to four years and an MA/MSc after another one to two years has been recently introduced.

University level third stage: Promotion:

Doctoral studies are only pursued in universities (Universitäten).The period of doctoral studies, known as the Promotion, consists of two to four years' independent research and the submission of a thesis following the award of the Diplom/Erstes Staatsexamen/Magister Artium. The title of Doktor is conferred following upon a written thesis and either an oral examination or the defence of a thesis. The Habilitation is a post-doctoral qualification proving ability to teach and engage in research in an academic subject. It is awarded by the departments of universities and equivalent higher education institutions, usually on the basis of a post-doctoral thesis and a public lecture followed by a discussion. Following the amendment of the Framework Act for Higher Education in 2002, the Habilitation will be phased out as a recruitment requirement for professors.

University level first stage:

Associate Degree, Bachelor degree, Advanced Certificate, 1st professional degree:

The Associate Degree is the first academic or professional degree that can be awarded in U.S. postsecondary education. Holders of this Degree may apply to enter other first degree programmes (such as those leading to the Bachelor's Degree), but are not qualified to apply directly for advanced (graduate) studies programmes. Programmes of study for this degree are usually designed to take 2 years of full-time study, but some programmes take longer to complete. Persons who pursue this degree on a part-time basis also take longer than 2 years to finish. The Associate Degree may be awarded in the liberal arts and general studies as an academic qualification or it may be awarded in a professional occupational field. Associate Degree programmes generally fulfil 2 years of the course requirements needed for a Bachelor's degree. Credit for Associate Degree studies is usually transferable to Bachelor's degree programmes, especially where transfer agreements have been established between or among institutions.

The Bachelor's Degree is the second academic degree that can be awarded in U.S. postsecondary education, and is one of two such undergraduate (first) degrees that qualify a student to apply to programmes of advanced (graduate) study (the other such degree is the first-professional degree). Programmes of study for this degree are designed to take between 4 and 5 years of study, depending on the field of study and whether the degree is pursued on a full- or part-time basis. Honours programmes are offered by many institutions that award the Bachelor's degrees. These generally require the completion of additional requirements such as preparation of an undergraduate thesis, honours paper or project, advanced coursework, or special examinations. Advanced certificates requiring a year or less of study following (and sometimes accompanying) completion of a Bachelor's are sometimes awarded to signify a concentration in a sub-specialization or completion of a related set of competences.

First professional degrees comprise a limited number of second first degrees. Students are only admitted to first professional degree programmes after completing most, or all, of a Bachelor's degree programme in another subject. The study content of the first professional degree programmes is undergraduate in nature and the degrees are prerequisites for entry-level access to certain regulated professions. Confusion sometimes arises because several first professional degrees use the term 'doctor' in the title even though they are not advanced research degrees. First professional degrees are awarded in Medicine (MD), Dentistry (DDS/DMD), Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Optometry (OD), Podiatry (DPM), Chiropractic (DC), Pharmacy (D.Pharm), Divinity (M.Div), Rabbinics (MHL/Rav), and Law (JD).

University level second stage:

Master's Degree, Post-Master's Degree, Diploma or Certificate:

The Master's Degree represents the second stage of higher education and is the first advanced (graduate) degree awarded. U.S. Master's Degrees may be taught (without thesis) or research (with thesis) and may be awarded in academic or professional fields. Most Master's Degrees are designed to take 2 years of full-time study, although the time may vary depending upon the subject, the preparation achieved by the student at the undergraduate level, the structure of the programme, and whether the degree is pursued on a full- or part-time basis. Master's degrees generally require completion of a series of course requirements and may, depending on the type of Master's programme, require completion of a research thesis, special project, examinations in one or more subfields, satisfaction of special requirements (such as linguistic or quantitative skill), or a combination. U.S. awards that fall between the Master's and the research doctorate may be of several types, but all of them fall within the second stage of U.S. higher education. Examples of awards given at this level include the degree of Education Specialist (E.Sp. or Ed.S.) and Certificates and Diplomas of Advanced Study (C.A.E., D.A.E.)

University level third stage:

Research Doctorate:

The Research Doctorate represents the third and highest stage of higher education in the United States and may be awarded in academic disciplines and some professional fields. This degree is not awarded by examination or coursework only, but requires demonstrated mastery of the chosen subject and the ability to conduct independent, original research. Doctoral programmes require intensive study and research in at least one subfield and professional level competence in several others. Following a series of research seminars and comprehensive examinations, the student must prove his or her capability in original research or independent practice through the preparation and defence of a published dissertation or project thesis and the passage of a battery of oral and written examinations before a committee of senior faculty, including both the examining committee and invited guests.

Most doctoral degrees take at least 4 or 5 years of full-time study and research after the award of a Bachelor's degree or at least 2 to 3 years following a Master's degree. The actual time to degree varies depending upon the subject and the structure of the programme. Research Doctorates are awarded in the academic disciplines and for theoretical research in some professional fields, with the most common such degree being that of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). There are a variety of equivalent degree titles used in some institutions and disciplines. The focus of professional doctoral studies is usually on applied rather than theoretical research, and there is a wide variety of degree titles in use.

Quality of University Standards

The universities in the three countries have the following details in common

  • Grading System is used in universities to rank students in all the three nations
  • Governing bodies that administer and control public institutions, supervises private ones and maintains a coherence on regulation of national diplomas, Examines matters concerning university system Validation / accreditation of courses from foreign universities and awarding scholarships
  • Liberation in admission of foreign students and administering their welfares
  • Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies
  • eferences to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies
  • Social and welfare services; academic and career counselling services, employment services to local and foreign students.
  • National student associations and unions
  • Health/social provisions social security for students
  • Special student travel fares
  • Student expenses and financial aid

Actual Measures


  • French education stresses academic knowledge and does not focus on the development of the "whole person". When an American kid leaves home for school, his mother says "Have fun." In France, she says "Be good and work hard". French education produces theorists, analysts, and people capable of dealing with abstract situations-but does not focus on professional or pragmatic training.
  • In France 60% of high school kids take a " Cahier de Vacances " (vacation book) with them on vacation : they are best sellers every year (4 million sold) and contain texts to read and exercises to do in order to keep studying during summer and not get lost when back to school.
  • In 1995 most French students went on strike and marched in the streets because the government had raised the tuition fee in Universities from something like $50 to something like $100 a year.... Nevertheless, it is fact that, with universities funded only by state subsidies, France devotes much less money to higher education than the USA (1,1% of GNP vs 2,7%) which is a major weakness for the future. "Grandes Ecoles" get relatively more money than the rest of the higher education system.
  • French students do not live on campus : contrary to the USA, most French students live with their parents (37%), only 13% live on campus and the others rent (31%), share (6%) or occupy for free (5%) an apartment (source : OVE/Le Figaro 24/11/2007). Only "Grandes Ecoles" have campus with housing facilities, but all the students follow the same cursus.
  • In France, there is NO selection at all to be admitted to college. Contrary to "grandes écoles" (see above), anybody having passed the "baccalaureat" exam is entitled to be admitted to any university. This is of course absurd and it explains why French universities are over-crowded (at least for the first two years) with a rate of drop-out of 50% or more, the worst being Medical School where only one student out five passes the first year exam. The project of setting up a selection process for admission to universities is one of these ever-lasting controversial ones the French cherish: the right wing is for it and the left wing strongly against (in the name of equality and democracy).


  • The German high school curriculum is very standardized with fewer electives offered than in the U.S. While a U.S. high school student usually studies seven subjects per semester, five times a week and at the same period of the school day, a German student's weekly class schedule lists about twelve subjects and each day's schedule is different. Typically, German students are taught more subjects per semester with fewer weekly hours of instruction but generally over a much longer period of time (e.g. English over five, seven or even nine years). Unlike in the U.S., religious instruction is mandatory until age 14. For religious instruction classes are separated according to religious denominations, either Protestant or Catholic.
  • German students have the opportunity to pursue formal job-skills training at a much younger age than in the U.S. About one third of the German secondary student population graduates from Hauptschule after the 9th or 10th grade with a Hauptschulabschluß, a diploma certifying the equivalent of a 10th grade education at a U.S. high school. They can transfer to a Berufsfachschule (full-time job-skills training school) or pursue a formal dual-track job-skills training program: a three-year paid internship paired with classroom instruction. Graduates of the program enter the employment market as specialists in labor and technical fields. Many open small businesses or work in the service industry. They can upgrade their specific skills by continuing formal training at a Fachschule (upper level career training school).
  • German students enter university at a later age, generally 20 or 21, with a major and minor firmly in mind. They rarely take courses outside those fields. University study is intended to be specific and career-oriented rather than general and broadening.
  • Rarely does a university in Germany have something like a campus, and rarely is there a feeling of close community. Individual academic departments or divisions (Institute, Fakultäten) may be scattered widely throughout a city. German universities are exclusively academic institutions. Most students do not live in dormitories (Studentenheime). Fraternities (Verbindungen) or sororities (Frauenverbindungen) are unimportant. University-sponsored social events are infrequent. Big-time sport programs do not exist. However, German students tend to be more politically active.
  • German students tend to choose a university for particular professors, not for the reputation of the school. Just as there are individual graduate institutions in the U.S. specializing in law, medicine, theology and business, there is a variety of German colleges and universities.
  • The German university, unlike the German secondary school, allows students considerable academic freedom in choosing the classes for their course of study and has no means of enforcing timely completion of the course work. Only a small number of basic lectures and seminars is required which leaves the option of attending other lectures of interest. At lectures attendance is not taken.
  • In Germany, parents have the obligation to finance their children's education. Students are known to have sued their parents for non-support while pursuing a lengthy college education. Although German universities do not charge tuition, only a modest registration fee, students need money for living expenses and books. Financial aid in the form of grants and loans is available under the Federal Training Promotion Act of 1971 (BAföG = Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz). However, as the BAföG has been scaled back in recent years, more and more students are forced to work part-time.
  • 75% of German students - that is to say everyone not immediately bound for college - complete a formal three-year training program in a dual-track mode (Dualsystem): Hands-on job experience as interns (Auszubildende) in business, industry and government integrated with career-specific classroom instruction.
  • Students from abroad must have a secondary education certificate deemed equivalent to the Abitur. Some students complete a preparatory course in their major at a Kolleg before enrolling in regular course work. But all students must demonstrate sufficient language proficiency to be able to meet the challenges of German college reading and writing.
  • Students were not happy with certain proposed reform measures in the new Hochschulrahmengesetz (Higher Education Framework Act). One such reform proposal imposes restrictions on the number of semesters students may enroll before completing their degree exams and it stipulates that all students routinely pass an exam midway through their studies to demonstrate that adequate degree-progress is being made.


  • Requirements for education and certification (licensure) of early childhood (kindergarten) and elementary (primary) teachers are set by state governments which require multiple exams (subject matter, etc.) prior to entering teacher education and again following completion of teacher education but prior to certification. The basic pre-certification requirements for secondary teachers are the same as for elementary school teachers. A major difference is that secondary school teachers are certified as competent in one or more academic or vocational subjects and spend their careers concentrating on these subjects. Requirements that institutions set may vary depending on level at which the faculty are expected to teach, the subject or field to be taught, whether research is to be conducted, whether a professional license or qualification is required, and whether the position is full- or part-time and tenure-track or not. Higher education faculty are universally expected to possess the necessary expertise and qualifications to teach and, where applicable, to conduct research and consult in the discipline or professional field of their specialization.
  • Full-time education is compulsory in all states and includes the children of foreign nationals permanently or temporarily resident in the US for a minimum of one year. Many students go on to higher education, with Colleges usually admitting students on the basis of their SAT scores and their extra-circular activities. Entrance to postgraduate program usually depends on a student’s performance at undergraduate level.
  • Distance education is considered to be a vehicle for delivering education to persons whose location, circumstances or work make remote links necessary or convenient. It is not considered to be a separate type of education altogether. Rather, distance education is considered to be a modality of instruction that differs from traditional campus-based instruction but is no less legitimate. Life long higher education is called continuing education. Institutions operate specific continuing education programmes, some very extensive and parallel to regular institutional degree offerings, whilst others are short or specialized programmes.
  • The US constitution requires the separation of state and religion and forbids religious observance in public schools. A unique aspect of the US education system is the high degree of parental involvement. ‘Parent power’ isn’t only accepted, but is welcomed and encouraged through local Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and Home and School Associations (HSAs) attached to every school. PTAs and HSAs meet regularly and concern themselves with many aspects of a school’s affairs including the curriculum, facilities, school hours and after-school activities and programmes. Parents are encouraged to attend meetings and show an interest in the school and their children’s education (it’s also a good way for newcomers to make friends). Schools organise parent days, ‘back to school’ nights and parent-teacher conferences, where parents can meet teachers and examine their child’s school timetable.
  • Individual U.S. institutions have the power to decide whether to recognize or credit the degrees, diplomas, certificates, credit and research done at other institutions. There is normally no appeal from the decision of the individual institution to any higher authority.
  • There are no students services sponsored or operated by the federal government. A wide variety of student associations, service organizations and assistance corporations exist that provide services of different kinds to students and their families. These range from disciplinary and professional associations to unions, financial institutions, health care associations, religious associations and others. Student associations and services offices exist at nearly every postsecondary institution and branch campus. Many students in the U.S. do not receive financial support from their parents and must work, performing mostly unskilled labor, in order to pay for both their studies and their living expenses. 85% of students in America attend free state-funded public schools. The overwhelming majority of students who go to College depend on a loan (awarded to them either privately or from the Federal government) or a scholarship from the College in order to afford to pay tuition fees.
  • In the last decade or so, there has been extensive debate over the declining standards and low achievements of American students, particularly when compared with students in other leading industrialized countries such as Germany and Japan. In recent years, many parents concerned about the decline in public education have turned to private schools. Although the cost of private education is high, many American parents consider it an acceptable price to pay, particularly if the outcome is a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a prestigious university, with its resulting monetary value in the job market.


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