Educational Policy Making and Administration

Germany Table of Contents

The Basic Law of 1949 reaffirmed the nineteenth-century tradition under which the Lšnder were responsible for education. Article 30 clearly established the autonomy of the Lšnder in most educational and cultural matters, including the financing of education, the maintenance of schools, teacher training, the setting of teachers' qualifications and educational standards, and the development of standardized curricula. In higher, or tertiary, education, the Lšnder share responsibility with the federal government. The federal government, for example, oversees vocational education and training, a very important component of Germany's system of education. The federal government also controls the financing of stipends and educational allowances and the promotion of research and support of young scientists through fellowships. In addition, the federal government also has passed framework laws on general principles of higher education. However, the federal government has no power to reform higher education institutions; this power remains a prerogative of the Lšnder .

Most teachers and university-level professors are civil servants with life tenure and high standing in society. They receive generous fringe benefits and relatively lucrative compensation, while making no contributions to social security programs. In Bavaria, for example, the average starting salary for an elementary or secondary school teacher in the early 1990s was about US$40,000. A senior teacher in a Gymnasium earned about US$53,000.

Postsecondary education is a shared responsibility implemented through "cooperative federalism" and joint policy areas. The federal government and the sixteen old Lšnder cooperate extensively with regard to the establishment, expansion, and modernization of institutions of higher education, including their financing.

To counterbalance decentralized authority and provide leadership in education, the development of educational policy and implementation is influenced by a number of nationwide joint permanent advisory bodies. These include the Planning Committee for the Construction of Institutions of Higher Learning and the Scientific Council. Planning for education and the promotion of research by the federal government and the Lšnder have become more important since unification and are implemented by the Federal and Land Commission on Educational Planning and the Promotion of Research.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress