Second-chance education

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Evening high school in Hanover

As a second chance education ( ZBW ) are educational programs called, making it possible to acquire a high school diploma in adulthood, which was not initially or unsuccessfully sought. The secondary school pathway was initiated by the mathematician Alfred Clebsch .


In many countries , schools in the second education path (ZBW) are publicly owned mainstream schools. This educational path is usually accessible to students with professional experience.

Schools of the second path formation are adult education , Abendgymnasien , Abendrealschulen , Berufsoberschulen , Fachoberschulen , Abendhauptschule and the leading days as schools graduation College ; in NRW combined into further training colleges. In addition, in many federal states you can take an external final examination ( non-pupil examination) before the school supervisory authorities , with which you can achieve a school leaving certificate. The examinations are usually carried out by public schools (e.g. evening schools, schools for adults, etc.).

Private commercial institutions are not authorized to take exams and can therefore only offer preparatory courses for external exams, even if they often advertise in a misleading way.

The area of ​​continuing education includes the types of school / courses of training evening grammar school, evening secondary school and college. These are free public general education schools that lead to the same qualifications as the “youth schools”, e.g. B. the high school. Working or professionally experienced adults can catch up on their Abitur (3-4 year courses) or the general technical college entrance qualification (2-3 year courses) at the ZBW. These schools are also known as "schools for adults".

Traditionally, the second education path is part of adult education , but meanwhile many young people without a school leaving certificate are also affected by a lack of education and unemployment and are dependent on appropriate offers, which they can get from vocational schools / vocational colleges, among other things in preparation for training.

The qualifications on the second educational path are equivalent to the qualifications of the youth schools, even if they are obtained under different conditions.


One of the oldest establishment of the German ZBW is next to the Silbermann College (s. U.) In Berlin Studienheim St. Clement / Clementinum in Warstein- Belecke that on 3 May 1922 by the Catholic priest Bernhard Zimmermann and his Clemens-Hofbauer-Fund opened and due to the large number of visitors it was moved to a new building in Bad Driburg in East Westphalia in 1928 . Qualified teaching staff offered full-time education courses for the Abitur that were specifically geared towards adults who had previously been employed and for whom there was no further education structure at school until then. The school was subordinated to the provincial school college in Münster in 1932 , received full state recognition in 1946 and continued until 1997, the adjoining college still exists today.

Just one year after the Clementinum in Warstein-Belecke, the first workers' high school graduate course started in Berlin-Neukölln, and the reform pedagogue Fritz Karsen and Kurt Löwenstein , the then city councilor for popular education in Berlin-Neukölln, played a major role in its creation. The first course started on June 1, 1923. The worker high school graduate courses took place in close connection with the Kaiser-Friedrich-Realgymnasium, later the Karl-Marx-Schule , which Karsen developed into a unified school within the meaning of the Association of Decided School Reformers . The declared aim of the preparatory courses for the Abitur, which were carried out until the institution was banned by the National Socialists, was to give talented young people from the lower classes access to colleges and universities. In the children from working-class and salaried families, due to their origin, one saw more reliable bearers of the republican idea of ​​the state than among young academics from more privileged strata of society.

A concept similar to the Berlin model seems to have been followed in Hamburg as well. As reported Fritz C. Neumann , who since 1923 teacher at the Lichtwark was the fact that there is a also working course was introduced. “It was a group of young workers - all boys - who were accepted into this course after several years of service in order to be trained in such a way that they could take the university entrance examination after several years. The idea was to create a collective of sons of the working class and the social democrats who would be available for important positions in the state. ”Neumann also refers to Paul Nevermann as a graduate of this training offer , who from 1923 to 1926“ completed the first worker high school graduate course ”. had visited in Hamburg.

The oldest evening school for apprentices and professionals aged 14 to 40 is the private evening school in Berlin. It was founded in 1923 by the self-taught and pioneer of the second educational path Robert Frenzel (* 1888 in Berlin, † 1977 in Lüneburg). The number of students increased steadily and in 1928 the school had 300 students. In 2001 Robert Frenzel received a roll of honor at the school Gipsstraße 23a from the city of Berlin. This private evening secondary school existed for about 25 years under Robert Frenzel's direction. Robert Frenzel's founding of the evening school resulted from a social and educational commitment. In particular, he wanted to create a basis for career advancement opportunities and possibly a high school diploma and study for working-class children who only had an elementary school certificate by acquiring secondary school leaving qualifications. The school came - albeit with difficulty - as a private educational institution through the Nazi era , but was closed after the war in February 1948 by order of the German Administration for National Education , which regarded this evening school in the East Berlin sector as a "private school".

Four years after the founding of the first Berlin evening secondary school, the first Berlin evening high school was founded in 1927. Peter Adalbert Silbermann became the first head of this school until he was forced to emigrate in 1933. The evening high school was maintained as a state educational institution during the Nazi era.

On September 29, 1928, a new type of folk high school with boarding school was opened in Harrisleefeld . In this workers' community college, capable workers and ordinary employees with courses in political science, law, economics, finance and social sciences should prepare for management positions in state and local administrations. The school, which was closed by the National Socialists after the seizure of power, was initially run by the pedagogue Erwin Marquardt and then by the economist Alfred Kähler . The ideas of the above-mentioned Berlin institutions were partly taken up again after 1945. The evening grammar school survived the Nazi era and still exists today as the Peter A. Silbermann School in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. After closing his school in Berlin, Robert Frenzel founded the evening school in Lüneburg on April 20, 1948 under the then senior city director Werner Bockelmann. Robert Frenzel ran this school as a private school until 1971. Only then did it pass into the hands of the city.

After the Second World War, second-chance education programs were also set up in other cities. As a result, many young people who were unable to finish school due to the war got a “second chance” of general education and the required school-leaving qualifications. A second wave of founding schools of the second educational path followed from about 1967 in the course of the general educational expansion.

In the Soviet Occupation Zone / GDR, in which there was officially no school fees, from 1946 state-sponsored training and high school graduation courses were set up in technical colleges and universities (pre-study institutions) in place of private initiatives, and later on in the newly founded adult education centers, classes were offered to acquire state-recognized school qualifications. The term Second Education , used for this in West Germany, was not common in the GDR language. From 1949 onwards, traditions of workers' education from the time before 1933 were taken up again with the establishment of workers' and peasants' faculties .

Individual financial support

Attending secondary school education is free of charge and BAföG funding is possible. There are funding differences between the courses of study in the second course. While you can only apply for parent-independent BAföG from the fourth semester at the evening grammar school (compulsory work and less hours), when attending a college you can apply for BAföG from the first semester. Bafög granted independently of parents does not have to be repaid.

If a university entrance qualification was obtained on the second educational path, a subsequent course of study is fully eligible according to the conditions defined there according to BAföG.


Anyone who is over 30 years old when entering the evening grammar school or college does not receive any funding and

  • must pay the full health insurance contribution,
  • BAföG is only granted on special application,
  • BAföG benefits are not granted in a Master’s course.

Due to the most recent changes in BAföG, this information is possibly out of date: the sources given provide binding information.

Austria and Switzerland

In Austria there are evening grammar schools in the big cities. Some of these are designed in cooperation with schools for working people. The evening grammar schools in Austria have their own internet portal.

In Switzerland there are also evening schools for working people.

See also


  • Henriette Hättich (Ed.): Democracy needs democrats. Student funding as a socio-political task. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Student Support Department, Bonn 2015, ISBN 978-3-89892-850-2 . (The study Democracy Needs Democrats can also be viewed on the Internet.)
  • Gerd Radde : Fritz Karsen. A Berlin school reformer during the Weimar period. Extended new edition, Peter Lang GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-631-34896-7 .
  • Fritz C. Neumann: Memoirs of a contemporary , unpublished manuscript in English, edited by Lisel Mueller, Libertiville, 1965, 248 S. A copy of the manuscript was kindly made available by the library of the German Historical Institute in Washington.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert Albinus: Königsberg Lexicon . Würzburg 2002, p. 56.
  2. Rainer Hohmann, Ulrich Schulz (eds.): The St. Klemens study home for late-year priests Bad Driburg, Belecke, Aschaffenburg and Paderborn (1922-2010). On the history of the first school of the second educational path to the Abitur in the German-speaking area . Paderborn 2012.
  3. Henriette Hättich (Ed.): Democracy needs democrats . (Very well and detailed documented history of the workers' Abirurient courses).
  4. ^ Gerd Radde: Fritz Karsen. A Berlin school reformer during the Weimar period.
  5. ^ Fritz C. Neumann: Memoirs of a contemporary , p. 116. "Another interesting feature was added to the school by the creation of the" Worker 'Course ". This was a group of young workers - all boys - who, after working for several years, were enrolled in this course to be trained in such a way that after several years they could pass the university entrance examination. The idea was to create a body of sons of the working class and Social Democrats who would be available for important positions in the state. "
  6. ^ Franklin Kopitzsch: Nevermann, Paul , in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 19 (1999) , p. 192 f. (Online version).
  7. Jens Nydahl (ed.): The Berlin school system . 1928, p. 197-199 .
  8. Constance Döhrer: Traces of History - New memorial plaques in Berlin-Mitte . 2012, p. 127-129 .
  9. Jens Nydahl (ed.): The Berlin school system . 1928, p. 194-196 .