Abitur after the twelfth grade

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The Abitur after the twelfth grade (also eight-year grammar school , G8 or Gy8 for short ) was the result of a school reform at the grammar schools in Germany . The shortening of school time up to the Abitur from thirteen to twelve years was introduced in almost all federal states between 2012 and 2015 . The idea goes back to economic considerations of the Bertelsmann Foundation and other institutions.

Only in Rhineland-Palatinate did a model test at 19 all-day schools remain, while regular schooling at grammar schools until the Abitur continues to last twelve years and eight months (called the Mainz study level ). The schools in Saxony and Thuringia were not affected by this reform, as these had led to the Abitur in twelve years since 1949. In 2014, Lower Saxony was the first federal state to break with the G8 reform, other West German federal states followed and also returned to the regular high school diploma after thirteen years.

Purpose of reform

As the main argument for the introduction of the shortened school time, politicians cited the comparatively long school time compared to other countries . The Abitur graduates should start their vocational training a year earlier due to the reduction in school time and pay taxes and social security contributions earlier. The economy should be able to fall back on an average of one year younger young professionals with a high school diploma or university entrance qualification. From a macroeconomic perspective, people's working life should increase by several years in order to counteract the financial shortcomings in the demographic age structure . This should be achieved on the one hand by entering retirement later and on the other hand by entering professional life earlier.

Historical background and introduction

The nine-year high school (grades 5 to 13 or classes 6th to upper prima) was introduced in the Weimar Republic . In addition to other types of secondary school, such as elementary school, after the four-year elementary school that was compulsory for all children (instead of the three-year pre - school usually usual in the German Empire), it could be attended by particularly capable students and was not co-educational. During the National Socialist era , a decree dated November 30, 1936 shortened secondary school years to twelve years. One of the reasons for this regulation was the wish to arm the German Wehrmacht considerably with the officer candidates who were then available .

After the end of the war, the newly founded German Democratic Republic (GDR) stuck to the secondary school leaving certificate after twelve grades, mainly for reasons of educational theory. But ideological reasons also played a role, as this made one's own education system perceived as more efficient. A few pupils at the Extended Oberschule could pass the Abitur after twelve years of schooling and with Saturday classes (Abitur rate: 10 percent). Another possibility was the three-year vocational training with a high school diploma .

In order to get rid of the ideological legacy of the National Socialist era , the Federal Republic of Germany , founded in 1949, returned to high school in 1951 after 13 years.

After reunification , the new states of Brandenburg (with the school year 1992/1993), Saxony-Anhalt (1998) and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (2001) gradually introduced thirteen classes up to the Abitur due to the high weekly hours required by the Conference of Ministers of Education . Only Saxony and Thuringia stayed with the Abitur after twelve years.

Initially, the other new and all old federal states followed suit from 2003 and (re) introduced the Abitur after twelve school years, but Rhineland-Palatinate was only a model experiment at 19 all-day schools.

Introduction of the Abitur after the twelfth grade in the German states
country First
G8 degree
G8 degree
Baden-WürttembergBaden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg 2012 - Model test from the 2012/13 school year, currently at 44 G9 high schools
BavariaBavaria Bavaria 2011 2024 Return to G9 from the 2018/19 school year for students in grades five and six, from 2019/20 onwards from grade five
BerlinBerlin Berlin 2012 1949-2000 ( East Berlin )
BrandenburgBrandenburg Brandenburg 2012 1949-2000
BremenBremen Bremen 2012 - G8 should only apply to grammar schools, G9 to secondary schools
HamburgHamburg Hamburg 2010 - G8 applies to grammar schools and G9 to district schools .
HesseHesse Hesse 2013 - Freedom of choice from the 2013/14 school year; only around 5% of schools offered a G8 degree in 2019/20
Mecklenburg-Western PomeraniaMecklenburg-Western Pomerania Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 2008 1949-2001
Lower SaxonyLower Saxony Lower Saxony 2011 2019 Return to G9 from the 2015/16 school year for pupils in grades eight and below
North Rhine-WestphaliaNorth Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia 2013 2025 Return to G9 (except for 3 grammar schools) from the 2019/20 school year for pupils in grades six and below
Rhineland-PalatinateRhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate 2016 - only model test at 19 all-day schools
SaarlandSaarland Saarland 2009 -
SaxonySaxony Saxony ← 1949 →
Saxony-AnhaltSaxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt 2007 1949-2000
Schleswig-HolsteinSchleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein 2016 2025 Return to G9 from the 2019/20 school year for pupils in grades six and below
ThuringiaThuringia Thuringia ← 1949 →


In the run-up to the changeover, it was demanded that the shorter school time should not lead to a reduction in the quality of the Abitur. The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) corresponded by leaving the number of hours per week required for the acquisition of the general university entrance qualification unchanged at a total of 265 hours per week per year, but dividing these over 12 school years instead of 13. Despite the omission of a teaching year , all content should continue to be conveyed that previously represented the amount of material for 13 school years. The idea was inherent in the economic notion that schools would work inefficiently and that students would learn more and faster with additional classes in the afternoon.

The result was a significant increase in the number of hours per week for the pupils with a shorter school time: While pupils in the nine-stage grammar school had to complete an average of 30 hours per week over nine years, pupils in the eight-stage grammar school had to attend an average of 34 hours per week, which means regular afternoon classes for pupils of all ages. Parents, teachers and pupil organizations are sometimes very critical of this. The 265 hours per week are distributed differently to the grades depending on the federal state. In order to spare younger students too many hours, the hours are often divided asymmetrically, so that students in the lower grades received fewer and students in older grades received significantly more than 34 hours of lessons per week. This resulted in questionable lesson tables with up to 36 hours per week , both pedagogically and didactically .

Criticism and controversy

The prerequisite for the meaningfulness of the Abitur after the twelfth grade is, in particular, that the number of those who remain seated does not increase as a result of the concentration of lessons and that school leavers move quickly to the universities and the labor market. Neither was successful, the feedback from the universities instead showed that the ability of the first-year students to study, despite nominally better grades in the central high school diploma, has significantly decreased due to the changeover to G8.

When teaching content was brought forward to younger cohorts, it was not considered whether the students meet the intellectual and personality-related requirements to be able to study the relevant content in depth. Ultimately, this question also concerned the one year younger high school graduates whose personality development (regardless of the knowledge acquired) accordingly had a different status than that of the previous G9 graduates when they started studying or training.

Criticism was also expressed with regard to the afternoon care for the pupils: unlike in Germany, the schools in other European countries are consistently designed as all-day schools with a cafeteria and offer significantly more support programs in the afternoon than in Germany.

The high burden that young people would experience from the G8 reform is also criticized. Many high school students have hardly any free time, they have to give up hobbies such as music lessons and sports clubs in order to survive in school.

Proponents of the reform point out that the two federal states of Saxony and Thuringia have been awarding the Abitur after the twelfth grade for over sixty years; Neither the drop-out rates are significantly higher there, nor the performance of high school graduates worse, although the proportion of high school graduates is lower.

The education researcher Olaf Köller claims that the assumption that the more compact school time harms young people and does not produce the results they hoped for is based on a “myth”. The leisure activities of high school students have also not decreased significantly compared to the G9 era. Merely the hope that high school graduates are on average twelve months younger than in G9 times has not been fulfilled (they are only ten months younger), which is not due to more frequent sitting down, but above all to the fact that returnees from stays abroad more often than previously repeated a school year voluntarily.

The reform was introduced nationwide, although there were no reliable and above all generalizable empirical findings on the Abitur after twelve years of schooling. It is now also referred to as " the greatest wrong way in [the] history of the German education system ".

The German astrophysicist Harald Lesch considers the time compression by the Abitur in eight years in the German school system to be absurd. As an argument, he argues that, due to medical advances , people will work longer and longer and should have more time to develop in their younger years instead of having to study unsettled and clueless or have to go into the professional world.

In the city-states , the dissolution of the tripartite school system that took place there plays a special role in the G8 / G9 discussion. The district schools or community schools that exist there in addition to the grammar school also enable the way to the Abitur (but then after nine years) and would hardly differ perceptibly from the grammar school if G9 were also reintroduced at the grammar school.

Take-back in western German territorial states

After persistent criticism, the mandatory introduction of the Abitur after twelve years of schooling was questioned in many western German states from 2013 and partially or completely withdrawn. In 2014, the state of Lower Saxony was the first federal state to decide to completely abandon the G8 grammar school and return to the nine-year grammar school, which was carried out at the beginning of the 2015/16 school year for students in the fifth to eighth grades. By 2019, students will take their Abitur according to the old G8 plans at the end of the twelfth school year, but should get relief and additional support to alleviate the worst G8-related problems, e.g. B. in the form of a higher number of permissible “ sub-courses ” in non-examination subjects. In 2020 there will be only a few high schools in Lower Saxony that will take the Abitur exams due to the changeover. Starting in the year 2021, Lower Saxony students will take their Abitur again after nine years.

In Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein , too, there was a trend towards reducing the shortened time in school. Depending on the school location, there was the possibility of taking the Abitur exams after nine school years. In Schleswig-Holstein, a law came into force on January 1, 2018, through which, from the 2019/20 school year, years six and below will return to G9. According to Education Minister Ralph Alexander Lorz , only 31 of the 107 grammar schools in Hessen were G8 grammar schools in the 2013/14 school year. Other grammar schools switched to G9, so that by the 2017/18 school year the number of purely G8 schools had dropped to just 11 schools. In the 2019/2020 school year, only nine schools offered a G8 degree.

In 2010, high schools in North Rhine-Westphalia were able to apply to switch from eight to nine years as part of a school trial. Only 13 of the 630 grammar schools had submitted the application by the end of the application period. It was only in 2017 that it was decided to return to the Abitur after 13 school years, which will lead to the Abitur according to G9 from 2026. Three grammar schools in North Rhine-Westphalia have decided to keep the G8.

In Baden-Württemberg , a model test to reintroduce the G9 in 22 schools was started in the 2012/2013 school year. Another 22 schools followed in the 2013/14 school year. The pilot project runs for seven years (until the first year reaches grade 11) and starts every year in grade 5. Afterwards, the pilot G9 students attend the course level in grades 12–13 together with students from the G8 (11–12 for G8). Thus, the model test for the first year 2021/2022, but only completely in the years 2026/2027 or 2027/2028, when the last model years pass the Abitur. Until then, G8 will continue to be the standard model in around 90% of Baden-Württemberg high schools.

In 2017, the Bavarian State Parliament decided that the last high school students in Bavaria would take the Abitur after eight years in 2024, so that the Abitur will be canceled in 2025.

Current status

In the old federal states, G8 is currently (2020) only in the city states of Hamburg and Bremen and the Saarland as the sole model for high schools. In all other West German states, G9 has either been reintroduced or is offered as an alternative to a very different extent (Hesse 95%, Baden-Württemberg less than 10%). In the new federal states, which have been teaching largely according to the G8 since the Second World War, and in Berlin, however, no development towards the G9 is discernible.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Wirtschaftswoche: The end of the eight-year high school , accessed on March 7, 2018
  2. School time ends in March, http://www.ganztagsschulen.org/de/5525.php
  3. Heike Klovert: The irrational haggling around G8. Spiegel Online , June 22, 2016, accessed on December 14, 2016 : “The G8 was primarily driven by economic interests: young people should be ready for the job market earlier. Internationally, Germany should no longer be left behind by other countries in which the young professionals tend to leave schools. "
  4. Constantin Binder: The “Turbo Abi”: The largest school reform in 40 years. Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung , November 23, 2012, accessed on December 14, 2016 : “Why was the G8 introduced? The main reason for the reduction in school time is the long training duration in Germany compared to other European countries. Similar to the Europe-wide standardization of the duration of study with the introduction of Bachelor and Master in the so-called Bologna process, the G8 should also serve to standardize and better compare training in Europe. "
  5. Silvia Schwarz-Jung: Grammar schools in Baden-Württemberg - five years across the board in the “G8” . In: Statistisches Landesamt Baden-Württemberg (Hrsg.): Statistical monthly magazine Baden-Württemberg . tape 2008 , no. 10 , 2008, p. 3 ( baden-wuerttemberg.de [PDF; 127 kB ; accessed on December 14, 2016]): "The goals of G8 are [...] to adapt training times to international standards and thus improve the chances of high school graduates in further training and when entering the professional world [...]"
  6. ^ G8 reform. German Institute for Economic Research , May 2015, accessed on December 9, 2016 : “The primary goal of the G8 reform was to lower the high school leaving age in Germany by international standards. Thus, the high school graduates should enter the labor market earlier. This could also mitigate the consequences of demographic change: the earlier they start their career, the longer the employees pay into the social security funds and the greater the supply of skilled workers for employers. "
  7. Medina Avdagic: Wrong decisions due to Turbo-Abi? DerWesten , June 15, 2015, accessed on December 14, 2016 : “From an economic point of view, the state and business can fall back on a year younger career starters and thus counter demographic change. The working life is automatically extended and this effect is additionally supported by drawing pension payments late. "
  8. ^ Franz-Werner Kersting : Wehrmacht and School in the "Third Reich" . In: Rolf-Dieter Müller, Hans-Erich Volkmann (Hrsg.): The Wehrmacht. Myth and Reality . Oldenbourg-Verlag, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-486-56383-1 , p. 447 .
  9. Julius Kamper: Thought about ... ... G8 - as bad as its reputation? Athenaeum Stade , accessed on December 15, 2016 : “The fact that the West German students took a comparatively long time to complete their school-leaving exams met with incomprehension among many in the GDR. 'Why do they in the west need 13 years to graduate from high school, but we in the east only need twelve?' 'Because there was a year of acting lessons in the West!' Was a popular joke that people like to tell outside the iron curtain. "
  10. MEMORANDUM 9 arguments for 9 years of high school. (No longer available online.) German Teachers' Association , April 1998, archived from the original on December 18, 2009 ; Retrieved on December 14, 2016 : “In the course of reconstruction in 1951, the federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany switched to 13 years. The GDR stayed at twelve years. "
  11. Dr. Manfred Keßler: When the G8 became the G9. Augsburger Allgemeine , April 5, 2014, accessed on December 9, 2016 : “The cultural-political intentions in the reorientation of the Bavarian school system to 'deal with the legacy of the Nazi era' in the post-war years led to the fact that, with a ministerial announcement of June 5, 1951 the 'reintroduction of the ninth grade in the eight-grade higher education institutions' was ordered [...] "
  12. a b Jochen Wiesigel: Nothing new in the east. In: Spiegel Online. February 11, 2008, accessed April 1, 2011 .
  13. ^ School peace extended: G8 Abitur remains , ndr.de, August 13, 2019
  14. Trend towards G9 at schools: only three grammar schools in North Rhine-Westphalia remain with G8. In: rp-online.de. Retrieved February 23, 2020 .
  15. ^ Further development of the grammar school (G8 / G9). Ministry of Education of North Rhine-Westphalia, accessed on September 21, 2019 .
  16. Agreement on the design of the upper secondary school level in upper secondary level (KMK resolution of 07/07/1972 as amended on 09/02/2012) ( Memento of 13 May 2014 in the Internet Archive ), website of the Conference of Ministers of Education (PDF; 88 kB) page 4, accessed on January 4, 2013
  17. ^ Matthias Bartsch, Andrea Brandt, Simone Kaiser and Conny Neumann: Theft of childhood . In: Der Spiegel . No. 3 , 2008 ( online ).
  18. Birgitta vom Lehn: Turbo Abi becomes a burden for students. In: welt.de. October 22, 2007, accessed April 1, 2011 .
  19. Education ministers improve the Turbo-Abi , Spiegel Online
  20. Author anonymous: I have an illegal high school diploma , in: Bettina Malter / Ali Hotait (eds.): What do you think of us? One generation calls for the educational revolution. Berlin 2012. Past publishers.
  21. Olaf Köller: Return to G9: 'Parents behave post-factually' . zeit.de, May 3, 2017
  22. Empirical findings on the effects of the G8 reduction in school hours, DIW Roundup No. 57, 02/2015.
  23. The end of the eight-year high school , accessed on March 7, 2018
  24. a b Benjamin Köhler: Harald Lesch: "Give the children time and let them develop". October 12, 2016, accessed on February 20, 2020 (German).
  25. a b Our school system is crap! | Harald Lesch. September 21, 2016, accessed September 9, 2019 .
  26. Lower Saxony is the first federal state to return to the G9. In: sueddeutsche.de. Sueddeutsche Zeitung , March 19, 2014, accessed on March 23, 2017 .
  27. Information on the changeover from the eight to the nine-year course at secondary schools in Lower Saxony and at cooperative comprehensive schools structured according to school branches
  28. Hessian Ministry of Culture also gives high schools the option to choose ( Memento from January 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  29. From 2011 Abitur again after nine years on welt.de, November 2, 2009
  30. Return to G9 , schleswig-holstein.de, accessed on December 29, 2017
  31. ↑ School Info 2017/2018. gruene-hessen.de, accessed on November 19, 2017 .
  32. G8 will be discontinued, hessenschau.de from October 7, 2019, accessed on June 3, 2020
  33. RP November 27, 2010 ( Memento from November 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) “The high schools have not yet responded to the offer of the red-green state government to participate in the" school trial "to reintroduce the Abitur after nine years (G 9) . This emerges from an answer from NRW School Minister Sylvia Löhrmann (Greens) to the FDP politician Ralf Witzel . "
  34. 13 high schools in North Rhine-Westphalia want to go back to Abitur after nine years ( memento from January 9, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), ruhrnachrichten.de from January 6, 2011
  35. Trend towards G9 at schools: Only three high schools in North Rhine-Westphalia stay with G8 , rp-online.de, April 3, 2019
  36. G9 model schools, on km-bw.de, accessed on May 1, 2020