Education system(s)

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The term "educational system" includes all institutions which are concerned with the education of children, young persons and adults, in particular preschool/Kindergarten, preschool/nursery school, primary school, lower secondary school, vocational upper secondary school, general upper secondary school or Gymnasium/grammar school/Lycée, high schools, vocational schools, and on tertiary level polytechnics/Fachhochschule, universities and still institutional adult education like adult education centres. The structure of the educational system varies within some nations (e.g. in Germany) and especially between nations. Specific differences concern the question if and when children should be separated and selected to go to different schools (e.g. in Germany mostly after 4th grade and in many other comprehensive school systems after 9th grade), the division into one or more types of school after primary school, and the characteristics of final exams and the possibilities to continue in different tracks at the end of each type of school. The structure of the education systems also differs by the governance and the ownership of the school system; there are totally public systems and segmented systems with also private schools. Research focuses on the effectiveness and the consequences of different structures on a national or an international perspective, especially on the performance of pupils in school subjects and on the causal relation between individual performance and social background.


Döbert, Hans, Hörner, Wolfgang, von Kopp, Botho, and Mitter, Wolfgang (eds.) (2006): The education systems of Europe. Heidelberg et al.: Springer.

URL: [this side offers a description of the education systems in all EU countries]

(Thorsten Bohl, Colin Cramer & Alenka Kobolt)