Tuesday, February 21, 2006

UN condemns German school system

Following an eight-day inspection, the German school system has been sharply criticised by Vernor Munoz, a UN special rapporteur:
"Vernor Munoz said the system was excluding children from poor families and immigrant backgrounds from the chance of a good education."
The criticisms focused on their selection system, which begins at 10. From here, students either go to grammar school or vocational school. I was interested in this because knowing next to nothing about the German system, hitherto I'd thought of it vaguely as an example of the economic history cliche about British education as compared to that on the continent. According to this well-worn theme, the British - partly as a product of our peculiar path to industrialization - don't take vocational education seriously enough and are outclassed by countries like Germany who do.

This may well still be the case, since coming out poorly in international comparisons, as Germany has recently, does not mean it is performing worse than the British system. Education Minister Annette Shavan responded by saying there were a lot of good points to Germany's education system and added:
"What are you hassling us for? Take a look at the British system, why don't you - it's really crap. Now clear off before I give you a slap."
Ok, she didn't really.

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