I was mostly educated in Germany. Now some of you probably do not know about the German school system, so I will give you a brief summary. Everyone who knows about it allready can skip the next paragraph.
It starts out the same for everyone with Kindergarten which would translate as “daycare” or, who would have thought, kindergarden. Around the age of seven years kids enter the Grundschule (roughly translates to “basic school”). Here you learn the basics: reading, writing, your numbers, basic mathematical thinking (numerical progressions, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division also fractions and decimal numbers). Then there is also HSK wich is “Heimat und Sachkunde”s (Homeland and knowledge of things – we covered things like plants in our area and squirrels etc.) asof recently, I believe, they are also already taught one foreign language.
Then the Kids are divvied up according to their grades into Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium. Kids that are sent to the hauptschule will be plagued with the stigma of perceived sub standard education. they will not be able to go to university and will have a hard time getting an apprenticeship. Realschule isn’t bad. it has a more technical and less specialized approach to things. Kids that finish the Realschule can go to universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschule) and/or get good apprenticeships. Gymnasium is pretty much preparation for university. You gain broader knowledge and are introduced to the practice of academical work. When kids leave Gymnasium they can go to any german university should their funds permit it.
What is my beef with this system?
Most importantly, it limits youths possibilities for life at the age of about 12 to 13 years, regardless of the fact that they change a great deal during puberty. Also it doesn’t account for the different outsets of children. Immigrant children might fall behind on literacy, but bear in mind that some are fluent in two or more languages, they can not just “write words like they sound” because they would sound different in all the languages they know. It doesn’t matter if they excel in maths or HSK, when it comes to assigning them to a following school, they are often worse off.
The school system is exclusive, as it excludes Hauptschul Kids from any and all universities, Realschul kids get a lot of practical knowledge, but are excluded from a lot of career choices and Gymnasium arguably get too much academical knowledge and too few life skills. Shouldn’t all be possible? for everyone.
Also children with disabilities are often sorted into “special schools” and do not participate in the greater school system. what does that teach children?
Do I have any opinions on how the system should change? Yes I do, but that is a post for another day.