Education System

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Education system (also called education system more generally and more comprehensively ) describes the structure of all institutions and opportunities for acquiring education within a state . It comprises the school system or system as such, its associated areas, the higher education system or system and the area of ​​personal further education . While the school system and the higher education system are mostly strictly regulated and organized, the education system also has wide, unregulated areas. Typically, an education system serves to provide education to all parts of a country's society for the life of its members.

A basic distinction is made between four areas of education: pre-school ( kindergarten ) as the zeroth, elementary school as the first, secondary school as the second and universities as the third area of ​​education .

School systems are institutions

The school systems are to be understood as institutions. In the sociology of education, institutions are understood as social institutions that have differentiated themselves in the process of sociogenesis of society. They serve to solve fundamental problems in society, for example they enable conflict management or the production of essential goods (cf. Fend, 2011). Socialization and upbringing represent the two main tasks of the school system. Socialization proves to be necessary to counteract the lack of instinct, to enable cosmopolitanism and plasticity and to promote the ability of people to learn. In addition, it creates the conditions for maintaining human social life. The function of upbringing is to reproduce society, that is, in the area of ​​tension between human “incompetence” and the complex needs of society, it has to find a way to optimally prepare people for their function in society. People have to replace older people in the social system and are therefore responsible for ensuring that what a person has achieved so far is continued as well or better. Fend (2011, p.42) says: “The new generation should be trained to take control of their own lives as people under modern living conditions.” For this, the children and young people have to learn how to read and write, for example the generations before them had to. The school system must accordingly prepare children and young people for social life and their tasks.


In an ideal-typical view, the education system is in a functional relationship with three social functional systems :

In relation to the socio-cultural system (totality of values, norms and traditions and the institutions and interest groups that represent them), the educational system fulfills an integrative function . This happens through the mediation of cultural goods and the recruitment of new cultural carriers, which ensure the continuation of the socio-cultural system. For this, the socio-cultural system of its channels of influence, and the definition of acts of education - and educational order, especially the schools, the education system.

The economic system is dependent on the education system in that it depends on the qualifications of each individual. This qualification is not only of fundamental importance for the correct behavior at work (see also employability ), but also for behavior as a customer or consumer (see also economic education , general financial education ). Conversely, economic processes secure the material supply of the education system.

There are also interactions with the political and social system (the entirety of state institutions and opinion-forming interest groups). This system is dependent on the loyalty of the members of society, for which the settlement of social inequality based on consensus is of great importance. In post-feudal societies this regulation is guaranteed and guaranteed by the educational success of the individual. One of the tasks of the education system is therefore to document the performance and skills achieved through formal qualifications such as school leaving certificates . This means that a selection that is not always performance-related is carried out. In return, the political and social system ensures the continued existence of the education system through binding frameworks.

Functions of educational systems according to Fend: enculturation, qualification, allocation and integration

School systems are “places of socially controlled and organized production of subjectivity.” (Fend, 2011, p. 42)

The social reproduction task is divided into four areas of responsibility:

  1. Cultural reproduction : It refers to the reproduction of basic cultural skills and forms of cultural understanding of the world and person. It is called enculturation. It ranges from the mastery of basic symbol systems such as language and writing to the internalization of basic value orientations, e.g. B. the rationality and moral responsibility of the individual.
  2. Qualification function : Qualification should be understood to mean the imparting of skills and knowledge that is required to carry out “concrete” work.
  3. Allocation function of the education system and social selection: The third social function of the education system relates directly to the social structure of a society. The social structure of a society according to education, income, culture, etc. is understood. For the assignment of the education system to the social division of labor, the system of position distributions in a society is particularly important, which requires different qualifications. The task of distributing it to future careers and occupations is called the allocation function.
  4. Integration and legitimation function of the education system: School systems are instruments of social integration. They institutionalize the reproduction of norms, values ​​and worldviews that serve to stabilize social and political conditions.

Functions should therefore mean the contributions that are necessary for maintaining social systems and their “ability to act”. The enculturation function offers the chance to strengthen the autonomy of the person in thinking and acting. The qualification function corresponds to the chance to acquire knowledge and skills that enable an independent professional life. The allocation function corresponds to the possibility of taking care of professional advancement and professional position through one's own learning efforts and through academic performance. The integration function corresponds to the chance of encountering the cultural traditions of a community. This enables social identity formation, identification and social ties as the basis for social responsibility (cf. Fend, 2011).

Education system in Germany

The education system in Germany has five levels. The five levels are the primary level, the secondary level I and the upper secondary level, the tertiary and the quaternary area, to which mainly the further education offers belong, for example professional providers or the adult education center. In this respect, the education system accompanies people for life. So far, the pre-school sector has not been included in the education system, even if this has already been changed by some state laws. After kindergarten / pre-school, the educational path begins with compulsory elementary school.

School and education systems by country

The individual school and education systems can be found in the following categories:

See also

Portal: Education  - Overview of Wikipedia content on education


  • Author's group on education reporting: Education in Germany 2010 (PDF; 4.5 MB).
  • Martina Löw : Introduction to the sociology of education and upbringing. 2nd, revised edition. Budrich, Opladen 2006, ISBN 978-3-8252-8243-1 .
  • Wolfgang Böttcher: Inequality in education: a plea for a class-specific and action-oriented sociology of education. Schallwig, Bochum 1985, ISBN 3-925222-00-6 .
  • Helmut Fend: The social and individual functions of educational systems: enculturation, qualification, allocation and integration. In: Hellekamps, S./Plöger, W./Wittenbruch, W. (Ed.): Handbuch der Erziehungswissenschaft . Vol. 3: School. Paderborn u. a. 2011, pp. 41-53.
  • Paul Kellermann: On the sociology of education: education and social development. Essays on the sociology of education. Jugend und Volk, Vienna 1976, ISBN 3-7141-5377-2 .

Web links

Wiktionary: educational system  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Archive link ( Memento of the original dated November 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Gisela Kubon-Gilke: Wi (e) der Elitebildung: Education from an economic perspective . Metropolis-Verlag, Marburg 2006, ISBN 3-89518-563-9 , p. 191 ff . ( limited preview in Google Book search).