1 Institut für Politische Wissenschaft Discussion Paper No. 11 Recent Education Policy and School Reform in Bavaria: A Critical Assessment von Ralph Rotte und Ursula Rotte Juni ISSN
2 Recent Education Policy and School Reform in Bavaria: A Critical Assessment Ralph Rotte Institute for Political Science, RWTH Aachen University, Germany Ursula Rotte Institute for Education, University of Munich, Germany 1 Introduction: Educational federalism in Germany The Federal Republic of Germany consists of 16 states (Laender) which are autonomous in educational and cultural affairs. Federal competences are limited to aspects like joint financing of universities and special education projects. The function of the Federal Minister for Education and Science in this system is mainly to motivate and moderate Laender activities. As a consequence of this state autonomy being at the core of political self-confidence and regional peculiarities and traditions, educational systems differ from Land to Land within Germany. Some fundamental coordination of education systems and policy is provided mainly by Laender cooperation in a permanent conference of state and federal education ministers, and by the common legal framework of the federal constitution demanding a relatively generous minimum equivalence of living standards throughout Germany (Baumert et al., 2002: ). Especially strong federalist feelings and traditions can be found in the southern state of Bavaria with its area of 70.5 square kilometres and its population of 12.4 million (Germany: square kilometres and 82.5 million inhabitants). This strong sense for political autonomy may be explained by its long history. 1 In 1806 Bavaria became a kingdom (until 1918) and remained a sovereign state until its joining of the German Reich established in Within the Reich Bavaria retained a number of reservation rights in taxes, military affairs, public 1 The Bavarian country and people established themselves as early as in the 8th and 9th century, and since the 12 th century the Duchy of Bavaria was an important and increasingly autonomous state within the Holy Roman Empire. Following the gradual internal dissolution of the Empire in the 17 th century Bavaria became even a player on the European political scene, trying (and failing) to become a great power. Ignoring some peripheral alterations, Bavaria today is still the arbitrary amalgam of principalities, dukedoms, towns and bishoprics thrown together and declared a monarchy by Napoleon in 1806 (Sutherland, 2001: 19).
3 3 administration and education policy (Volkert, 2001: 62-98). Between 1919 and 1933, the Bavarian government tried to strengthen the federalist aspects of the Weimar Republic, and even during the national socialist regime from 1933 to 1945, Bavarian individualism and stubbornness could be found especially in school affairs (Rotte and Rotte, 2003). Following Germany s defeat in World War II, the existence of a Bavarian state was declared by the U.S. Military Government as early as on 19 September Based on its history of political autonomy within the framework of a greater political entitiy, after the Second World War, political myth-making in the German federal state of Bavaria has largely succeeded in bracketing the period of the Third Reich and emphasizing continuity instead; the preamble of the Bavarian constitution of 1946 refers to 1,000 years of Bavarian history (Sutherland, 2001: 13-14). As a consequence of this traditional and conservative attitude of continuity, while accepting and implementing democracy and human rights as fundamentals of any education, Bavarian policy also resisted structural changes in the school system urgently demanded and even ordered by the U.S. miltary government in Instead of introducing an all-day compehensive school for grades 7 to 12, based on a primary school of six grades, Bavaria returned to the pre-nazi system with a fourgrade primary school and selection of pupils for the differentiated secondary schools at the age of ten (Deffner, 2004: ). Since the 1950s and 1960s Bavaria has developed from an agriculturally dominated country to a center of German and European industry, high technology and scientific research. Bavarian selfperception, political culture, and, consequently, education policy after World War II have been decisively coined by the Christian Socialist Party (CSU) founded in 1946 which has governed the state continuously since then except for a three-year break in the 1950s. Bavaria s post-war development from a backward, agricultural economy to one of the richest Länder in Germany is inextricably linked to CSU policy and is extremely important to the party s image of credibility. ( ) The CSU has attempted to present the 12 years of Nazi rule as a tragic hiatus in Bavarian state tradition and continue a process of nation-building which began with the creation of the Bavarian monarchy in ( ) The CSU derives its vision of Bavaria from a historical myth of statehood, territorial continuity and democratic state of law, which also recognises internal diversity. Particularly important to the party is the preservation of Bavaria s long-standing though limited, legislative sovereignty and administrative autonomy (Sutherland, 2001: ). Today, Bavaria has a reputation of having an excellent education system strongly coined by the CSU s conservative attitudes (Oerter, 2003: 72-73), probably the best in Germany except for its neighbouring state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
4 4 2 Bavaria s school system in a nutshell In 2003/04 Bavaria had 5,505 schools with 1.88 million students and 105,500 teachers million and 174,000 pupils were educated in public state and local community schools, respectively. 190,000 went to private schools which employed 14,500 teachers (Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Cultural Affairs/BMoE, 2004a). In 2001, the state and local communities spent EUR 4,600 on each student, which is above the German average (EUR 4,500) mainly driven by the city states of Berlin (EUR 5,100), Bremen (EUR 4,900) and Hamburg (EUR 6,300) (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft, 2004: 120). The Bavarian state budget for schools were EUR 5.9 billion (16.7 percent of total state spending), local communities added EUR 2.2 billion (14.7 percent of total spending). Together, outlays for schools amounted for 2.2 percent of Bavaria s GNP, a ratio which has been constant since the end of the 1990s (BMoE, 2004b). Schooling in Germany starts at the age of 6 and is compulsory to the age of 18. Nine years have to be spent at a full time school. In Bavaria, like in most other German states, all children attend primary school in grades 1 to 4. A crucial specialty of the Bavarian system, however, is their having to choose between three alternative tiers after the 4th grade: (1) Hauptschule (extended elementary school/secondary modern school) for grades 5 to 9 (or 10), leading to a certificate of compulsory education (Hauptschulabschluss) or of qualified basic education (Qualifizierender Hauptschulabschluss), (2) Realschule (secondary school/junior high school) for grades 5 to 10, leading to a intermediate high school certificate, similar to the British GCE O-levels (Fachoberschulreife), or (3) Gymnasium (higher secondary school/grammar school) for grades 5 to 13 (12), leading to a general university entrance certificate, comparable to the British A-levels or the French baccalauréat (Abitur/Allgemeine Hochschulreife). The opportunity to attend a Realschule or Gynmasium depends on the marks a pupil receives in the 4th grade. A good performance in core subjects including mathematics and German is essential. In 2003, graduates with a Hauptschulabschluss and a Fachoberschulreife made up 37.1 and 42.7 percent of the average age cohort of 15 to 18 year-olds, respectively. 8.5 percent finished their compulsory schooling without a certificate percent of the 18 to 21 year-olds had an Allgemeine Hochschulreife (BMoE, 2004c).
5 5 Prior to the most recent reforms, the Realschule started only at grade 7 which meant that most students aiming at an intermediate education certificate attended the Hauptschule for two years before changing to the Realschule. An opposition-backed attempt to keep this orientation phase in grades 5 and 6, and to extend it to all children including future Gymnasium students was turned down in a referendum in Moreover, Bavarian grammar schools have been switching to graduation after the 12 th grade since 2004, and Hauptschulen have introduced special 10 th grade classes leading gifted students to the intermediate education certificate. Additionally, there is a vast range of Foerderschulen (special school for handicapped or maladjusted children) for students of all ages in Bavaria: There are support centers for mental, audiovisual or physical development (grades 1 to 8), schools for educational, lingual or cognitive support (grades 3 to 8), secondary schools for social pedagogical support (grades 9 to 10), and vocational schools for social pedagogical support (grades 11 to 13) (Friedl and Poehlmann, 2004). An alternative to the Realschule is the Wirtschaftsschule (higher secondary commercial school with grades 7 to 10, 8 to 10, or 10 to 11), which also leads to an intermediate high school certificate and has a stronger focus on subjects relevant for economics and business (BMoE, 2005a). Both types of school provide a way to qualify for a Fachoberschule (technical/professional college) which leads to a special university entrance certificate (Fachhochschulreife) enabling graduates to study at a University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule). Traditionally, graduates from a Hauptschule or a Realschule/Wirtschaftsschule are considered qualified for vocational training, with the former aiming at skilled blue collar jobs (craftsman s trades) and the latter at white collar jobs, e.g. in the bank or insurance businesses. The German system of vocational training combines training on the job with two or three years of attendance of a vocational school (Berufsschule) which takes place on one day per week or in equivalent periods every few months. Good Hauptschule graduates with a completed vocational training may receive a Fachhochschulreife at a Berufsoberschule. In 2003, 11.4 percent of the 18 to 21 year-olds had such a certificate in Bavaria. A Gymnasium provides an acadmically orientated general education considered indispensible for future university students but also provides the formal qualification for vocational training. Persistent problems in the German labor market and a growing lack of skills of Hauptschule
6 6 graduates, have led to worse opportunities for Hauptschule graduates to find vocational training posts since competition by Realschule and Gymnasium graduates has increased seriously in recent years. As a consequence, about 80 percent (i.e. about 4,100) of all Hauptschule students repeating the 9th grade in 2003/04 did so voluntarily in order to avoid unemployment (Bayerischer Lehrer- und Lehrerinnenverband, 2005: 3). Today, the three types of Bavarian secondary education Hauptschule, Realschule/Wirtschaftsschule and Gymnasium have become the seemingly irrevocable and strictly implemented pillars of a highly selective school system. Due to tradition and for ideological reasons, the conservative Christian-Socialist party which has been ruling Bavaria without coalition partners since 1966, has always resisted attempts to introduce comprehensive schools (Gesamtschulen) as an alternative to the established system. Unlike many other German states, Bavaria has not even comprehensive schools as an additional educational offer for students and parents: There are only two experimental Gesamtschulen in Bavaria, one in Munich and one in Nuremberg. Formally, there are many ways to reach higher educational levels for graduates of lower types of school in the officially very open and flexible Bavarian education system, which cannot listed here. Nevertheless, these ways of qualification are actually mostly theoretically feasible only. The mass of certificates is still acquired in one of the traditional tiers of the system. Official data shows that, in 2003, Hauptschulen accounted for 86.3 percent of all certificates of compulsory education, Realschulen and Wirtschaftsschulen for 66.4 percent of all intermediate education certificates, and grammar schools for 94.4 percent of all general university entrance certificates and 24.2 percent of all special university entrance certificates were granted by Fachoberschulen or Berufsoberschulen, respectively. With 0.4 and 0.1 percent alternative ways to the Allgemeine Hochschulreife, like night school (Abendgymnasium) for working people or special talent examinations (Begabtenprüfung) play hardly any role. In 2003, the possibility of acquiring a Fachhochschulreife by a TV-based course (Telekolleg II) produced not a single graduate in Bavaria. The only significant change in this traditional pattern has been caused by the introduction of the 10 th grades at Hauptschulen. As a consequence, Hauptschulen provided 11.8 percent of all intermediate education certificates in 2003 (BMoE, 2004c).
7 7 3 The performance of the system According to the Ministry of Education, international comparisons like PISA 2000 or PIRLS, and corresponding intra-german tests (PISA-E, IGLU-E) have demonstrated the outstanding quality of the Bavarian school system. In the German context, Bavarian students showed the best performance in all three aspects of the PISA tests, and Bavaria was ranked among the best performing OECD countries (together with Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hesse) participating in the primary school test PIRLS (Ebert, 2004). While most German Laender reached results clearly below the OECD average in PISA, only Bavaria (in reading, mathematics and science) and Baden-Wuerttemberg (in mathematics) were ranked significantly higher than the OECD average of 500 points (Baumert et al., 2002: 62-73, , ). In reading literacy, Bavaria (510 pts.) reached about the level of Sweden (516 pts.), Austria (507 pts.) and Belgium (507 pts.), in mathematical literacy the score of 516 points equalled about the French (517 pts.) and Austrian (515 pts.) results. 508 points in sciences put Bavaria close to the Czech Republic (511 pts.). With 448, 452 and 461 points, respectively, the worst performing German state, Bremen, hardly reached the level of Portugal (470, 454 and 459 pts.) and Greece (474, 447 and 461 pts.). As a consequence, Bavarian education policy took PISA as a proof of the quality of the traditional three pillar school system and once more turned down ideas of fostering comprehensive schools like in the Skandinavian countries since Laender with Gesamtschulen had performed so bad. A closer look at PISA, however, shows that the Bavarian system is just about mediocre when compared to internationally leading countries. Seven of the eight Australian states or territories, for example, reached clearly higher scores in all three areas of literacy (the exception was New Brunswick). Similarly, seven of eight Canadian provinces (exception: Northern Territory) outperformed Bavaria in reading literacy, which is why Bavaria has been ironically termed Canada s Bremen in the German discussion (Baumert et al., 2002: ). PISA has demonstrated that there are at least three main problems which the Bavarian school system faces: (1) Bavaria is the German state in which access to higher education is strongest associated with the socio-economic background of a student s family. A child from an academic white-collar or leading civil servant s family, for example, is ten times more likely to attend a Gymnasium than one from an skilled blue collar worker s family. Even if one controls statistically for
8 8 cognitive skills and actual reading literacy, the odds ratio remains at 6:1 (Baumert et al., 2002: ). Concerning the actual performance as measured by the PISA score for reading literacy, the positive correlation between socio-economic origin and reading competence in Bavaria is about the German average (Baumert et al., 2002: ). Thus, while Germany as a whole is one of the high income OECD countries with the least equality in educational opportunities vis-àvis the socio-economic and educational background of a student s parents anyway (OECD, 2002: ; OECD, 2003: ), Bavaria has one of the most socioeconomically selective school systems in Germany. (2) In the Bavarian school system students from migrant families are clearly disadvantaged. Given the same socio-economic background the likelihood of a child from a German family to receive an intermediate or higher education certificate is more than twice a migrant student s chance to achieve such a educational level (Baumert et al., 2002: 198). While about 35 percent of German students attend a Gymnasium and about 15.4 percent a Realschule, only 10.4 percent of the children from non-german families attend a Gymnasium and less than 7 percent a Realschule. Since migrant children from most other countries of the pre-enlargement European Union (EU- 15) show no significantly different distribution among types of school, it is the students from traditional guestworker families that came to Germany mainly from Turkey, Greece and Italy in the 1950s to the early 1970s, i.e. third generation migrants, who have especially serious problems in the school system: While 20.2 percent and 4.1 percent of the German children attend a Hauptschule or a Foerderschule, respectively, the numbers for Turks are 40.6 and 7.2 percent, and for Italians 37 and 11.2 percent. The ratio of the numbers of students at a Gymnasium and at a Hauptschule is 10:8 for the Germans, but 10:57 for the Italians and 10:77 for the Turks. There are more children of Serbian nationality attending a Foerderschule in Bavaria than a Gymnasium or a Realschule combined (Hüfner, 2005). The most important problem of those migrant groups is their deficits in the command of the German language which is an important empirically significant determinant of individual reading literacy rather than nationality in Germany (Fertig, 2003: 5-7). (3) Bavaria has the highest number of Gymnasium drop-outs who then attend a Realschule or a Hauptschule: In 2000, almost 21 percent of all 15-year-olds had left grammar school for a less demanding school type since grade 5. Bavaria is the German state with the lowest ratio of Gymnasium graduates in Germany. On the one hand, this may be attributed to the high quality of selective top secondary education, but on the other hand it leads to a serious shortage of
9 9 potential university students and graduates. Gymnasium graduates are thus important for a modern knowledge society and an economy characterized by services and scientific dynamics. The pressure that the system exercises on students via its tough selection mechanisms including the fundamental choice of school type at an age of ten and parents ambitions is also highlighted by the development of the private school sector and by the boom in private lessons. Between 1999/2000 and 2003/04 the ratio of students attending private schools has risen continuously from 9.1 to 10.1 percent of all pupils. While the supply of public schools remained about the same (4,405 in 2000 vs. 4,402 in 2004), the number of private schools rose by almost 13 percent from 979 in 2000 to 1,103 in 2004 (BMoE, 2004a). At the same time, the demand for private lessons has increased massively. More than a quarter of German students take private lessons, and the estimated turnover of suppliers of private lessons (individuals like university students or companies covering about 22 percent of the market) is more than a billion Euros each year. In Bavaria, about 20 percent of the primary school pupils take provate lessons in order to make the vital step to a Realschule or a Gymnasium (Lindner, 2004). Obviously, many parents are not satisfied with the public school system any more and try to improve their children s chances to gain a good education certificate and to find an adequate job by choosing private (and expensive) alternatives. In other words, Bavaria might not use the intellectual potential of its people efficiently in its quest for international economic competitiveness. 4 Projects and measures to improve school performance Motivated by the suboptimal performance of German pupils in earlier international studies like TIMSS (Third International Mathematics and Science Study; Baumert et al., 1997; Baumert, Bos and Lehmann, 2000) as well as the huge public resonance of PISA 2000 the Bavarian government has started a number of reform projects since the end of the 1990s. These measures mainly cover five areas: (1) Tightening the three pillar school system Since the relatively good results of Bavarian students (in the German context) in recent tests are taken as a legitimation of the three tier school system, one basic step has been to complete it and make each pillar available for students after primary school. In order to do so, after
10 10 several years of testing, the six grade Realschule ( R6 ) was introduced as the standard intermediate secondary school in Since then, the choice after grade 4 is not only between a Gymnasium or a Hauptschule, with the latter being a step towards the Realschule starting at grade 7, but between Gymnasium, Realschule and Hauptschule without any detour. The previous Realschule starting at grade 7 (R4) has been phasing out since then. Since, as a consequence, the Hauptschule has been increasingly perceived as a kind of residual school for losers of the school system without any good opportunities in the labour market, two novelties have been introduced there. First, special 10 th grade classes ( M-tiers ) have been created at the Hauptschulen, which shall give gifted students a chance to obtain the intermediate high school certificate like at a Realschule. Second, for students without any prospect of successfully graduating from the Hauptschule, there are now so-called practical classes (Praxisklassen). They shall provide potential Hauptschule drop-outs with job qualifications and training positions by directly getting in touch and cooperating with local firms. In 2003/04, about 13 percent of all Hauptschule pupils attended an M-class, and about 0.2 percent a practical class. In 2003, 12.4 percent of all Hauptschule graduates achieved an intermediate high school certificate while 31.7 percent received a certificate of compulsory education and 45.8 percent a certificate of qualified basic education left the Hauptschule without any certificate (Bayerischer Lehrer- und Lehrerinnenverband, 2005: 2/4). Given that the average age of German university graduates is 28 years, compared to about 24 years of their British or French counterparts, the Bavarian government decided to accelerate schooling in Bavaria by cutting one year of Gymnasium education in 2003 (Hohlmeier, 2004: 4). In 2004 the eight-grade Gymnasium ( G8 ) with a reduced and more flexible curriculum and more frequent lessons in the afternoon started as the new standard of higher secondary education in Bavaria. Another measure to reduce the age of school graduates in Bavaria is the successively decreased age of entrance to primary school. In 2003, the average age of a Bavarian school beginner was 6.7 years, due to relatively moderate rules of eligibility and exemption for primary schools. In early 2005 the Bavarian Parliament decided that the agerelated deadline for school beginners should be lowered stepwise from July for the school year 2005/06 to December for 2010/11 (BMoE, 2005b). Thus from 2010 on, every kid getting six years old by 31 December will be of school-age. As the school term in Bavaria begins in September this means that by 2008 it will be standard for primary schools to have five-year-old children in their first grades. The government hopes to cut the average age at school entrance to 6.2 years (Hohlmeier, 2004: 4).
11 11 Until now, the typical core schooling time ends at noon in Bavaria. The good performance of Skandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries in PISA, however, has initiated an intense discussion about the merits all-day schooling in Germany as well (Wendt, 2005). Apart from increased opportunities to support children with learning problems this would be attractive for parents (especially women) wishing to work more than part-time (or to work at all, for that matter). Allday schooling, if properly organized, could thus have positive effects on educational performance and on the labour market (by the growth effects of increased supply). The Bavarian government, despite ideological reservations of the ruling party concerning the dissolution of traditional family structures, has responded to these arguments and intends to increase the supply of all-day schools. Since 2002 there is a project with seven all-day Hauptschulen, sponsored by a number of employers associations of the Bavarian industry (BMoE, 2004e). Due to lessons in the afternoon on at least two days per week (BMoE, 2004e: 9), the new Gymnasium will also be a step towards all-day schooling. In 2003/04 there were 39 genuine all-day public schools in Bavaria: 30 Hauptschulen, 3 Realschulen and 6 grammar schools (G8s) (BMoE, 2003a: 6). Conservative attitudes and a general lack of money has prevented all-day schooling from becoming a core issue of Bavarian educational reform so far. Instead, the government has been relying on demanddriven, self-organized and only partly state-sponsored projects realized by schools offering aspects of all-day schooling to interested parents, especially in the areas of lunchtime alimentation of children and homework assistance in the afternoons. In 2003, about 80 percent of the primary schools provided supervision until 1 p.m. and a total of 470 schools had some kind of all-day offers (Hohlmeier, 2003a: 23). Officially, the government counts on offers following the needs of families, respects the free choice of mothers and fathers, and trusts in the pedagogical competence of schools and local youth assistance institutions instead of applying unitary concepts and spoon-feeding the citizens (Hohlmeier, 2003a: 21). (2) Quality management and evaluation of school performance Following the recent shift of education policy towards an output-oriented assessment of the school system, the Bavarian government has introduced several instruments of quality management. Following the Bavarian tradition of centralized final exams at secondary schools and the definition of curriculum-related grade-specific standards of competences, annual state tests at primary and secondary schools have been introduced since These tests are to give
12 12 an overview of the performance of Bavarian schools and enable individual schools to assess and improve their relative positions. Since 2003, orientation tests (Orientierungsarbeiten) in mathematics and German have been compulsory in grades 2 and 3 (BMoE, 2003b). Since 2004/05 there are obligatory tests (Jahrgangsstufentests) in mathematics and German in grades 6 and 8 of the Hauptschule and Realschule, and in English in grade 7. Gymnasium students are tested in German in grades 6 and 8, in mathematics in grades 8 and 10, and in English in grades 6 and 10. There are also tests German and English in grade 8 of the Wirtschaftsschulen (BMoE, 2005c). At the same time the procedures to join a Realschule have become a little easier though no less complicated. So far, in order to maintain a minimum standard, the qualification for being accepted at a Realschule was an average mark of 2.33 or less 2 in the three main primary school subjects (mathematics, German, and science and local studies). Pupils with a worse average had to pass test lessons in maths and German at the Realschule. Students with an average of 2.66 who failed the test lessons by receiving marks 4 in each subject could still attend the Realschule after a discussion of parents with teachers. Since 2004, students with an average of 2.66 but with marks 2/3 or 3/2 in German and maths in primary schools may proceed to the Realschule without test lessons after an information round with teachers if their parents want them to. Prerequisites for attending a Gymnasium are not changed: Students with an average mark of 2.0 or better in the three subjects mentioned as well as those with an average of 2.33 (of which 2.0 in maths and German) qualify directly for grammar school. The others with an average of 2.33 may join a Gymnasium after a discussion of their parents with the teachers of the receiving school (not the primary teachers any more). Pupils with an average of 3.0 have to pass test lessons in maths and German with marks 3/4 or 4/3 or better. Since 2004, test lessons at Realschulen, grammar schools and Wirtschaftsschulen have been provided centrally by the Ministry in order to guarantee a statewide equal minimum standard. From 2005/06 on, students wishing to change from a Hauptschule to a Realschule or a Gymnasium after grade 5 will have to have a minimum average mark of 2.5 or 2.0, respectively, in German and mathematics (BMoE, 2004g). Until now, an average mark of 2.0 or better in German, maths and English is necessary for attending the 6th grade of a Realschule for pupils having passed the 5th grade of a Hauptschule. The same rule holds for students changing from a Realschule 5th grade to a Gymnasium 6th grade. Note that changing from a Hauptschule to a Gymnasium is typically possible only from grade 5 to grade 5, i.e. the 5th grade of a Hauptschule is considered 2 The school grading system in Germany has six levels of marks, ranging from 1 (very good) to 6 (failed).
13 13 more or less worthless for a Gymnasium. Joining grade 6 of a Gymnasium after grade 5 of a Hauptschule requires passing of a special entrance examination, just like changing for students with marks worse than the officially necessary average. In 2003, school supervision authorities and a new division of the State Institute for School Quality and Educational Research (ISB), the ISB Quality Agency (Meinel, 2004) have started external evaluation of Bavarian schools. Evaluation teams with teachers, university staff and representatives of parents and industry visit schools selected by the Ministry at the beginning of a school year for several days and produce a report with recommendations for improvements of school performance. The report shall cover all aspects of school performance and its determinants, including school culture, class conduct, individual support, assistance for selforganized work, variability of teaching methods or sustainability of learning (Ohrnberger, 2004: 7-8). After a joint conference of all people involved and comments by the school the report is taken as a basis for objectives of further school development which, officially, the school and the school supervision (i.e. the Ministry or its agencies on the regional or county level) agree upon. While this external evaluation process is still being tested, the long-term aim is a regular evaluation of all Bavarian schools every five years (Ohrnberger, 2004: 8). Internal evaluation and school develpoment are another way promoted for improving the quality of Bavarian schools (Schiessl, 2001). Based on the commitment of teachers and directors, and supported by recommendations by the ISB and ministerial advisors, schools are motivated to review their organization and communication structures, teaching methods, and interaction and cooperation among teachers, students and parents. In order to make selfassessment more effective and efficient, schools are urged to use instruments originating from business adminsitration, like the model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) or an evaluation programme bilanz ziehen ( taking stock ) provided by the ISB (Hohlmeier, 2003b: 7). The Ministry of Education wants to increase incentives for internal evaluation measures by a prize for especially innovative schools (i.s.i. Innere Schulentwicklung Innovationspreis/Internal school development innovation prize) which is officially called the Oscar for innovative schools (Stiftung Bildungspakt Bayern/SBB, 2005a), introduced in 2001, or a quality label Center of Excellence for grammar schools successful in quality management (SBB, 2005b).
14 14 (3) Improvement of teachers training Like in the rest of Germany, all teachers are graduates from a university and have to pass two state exams before becoming civil servants at school in Bavaria. The first state exam is taken at the end of a teacher university program. Teachers studies typically cover two academic subjects including their didactics (one consolidated subject of choice and pedagogy for primary school teachers), and educational science. The second state exam takes place after a training phase of two years in school accompanied by seminars organized by the school supervision authorities. This pattern of teacher training has focused very much on theoretical and scientific academic qualifications in the past. More often than not this has resulted in methodological and practical deficits especially of secondary school teachers who tend to experience a reality shock in school. Therefore new examination regulations for the first state exam were introduced in 2002, emphasizing the role of internships and practical experience in the first phase of teacher training. The new regulations (BMoE, 2002b) demand: an internship of 8 weeks in a firm, in order to give future teachers some insight in job realities outside school, an orientation internship in school of 3 to 4 weeks prior to the start of university studies, in order to give would-be teachers an opportunity to reassess their suitability for the profession, a pedagogical internship in class of 3 weeks, focussing on surveillance of students behaviour, teaching methods, social and educational problems, and assessment of own lessons, a didactic internship of 3 weeks, containing subject-related curricula and methods (for future Gymnasium teachers, the pedagogical and the didactical interships are combined and last about 5 weeks), and a didactic intership of 4 hours a week in one semester during lecture time. Moreover, there is a project exercitium paedagogicum that gives students the opportunity to volunteer for accompanying a class and its teacher in everyday work on one day per week during one school year (or for a block of 250 hours). Thus future teachers are expected to improve their practical qualifications as early as in their second year of studies, and to relieve experienced teachers by giving them additional time to support especially weak (or, for that matter, gifted) pupils (SBB, 2005c). The regulations of in-service training for teachers were also changed in Since then, all Bavarian teachers have to attend an equivalent of 12 days of courses every four years. These
15 15 courses of variable duration are organized by the Bavarian Academy for Teachers In-Service Training and Personnel Management (Akademie für Lehrerfortbildung und Personalfuehrung) in Dillingen, local community media centers, the Ministry of Education, local and regional school supervision authorities, and schools (for their own staff). All schools have to develop inservice training plans defining their staff s specific training needs, and all institutions involved in the training programs have to evaluate their offers in order to improve the quality of courses. Course topics cover all areas from subject-related innovations (e.g. in mathematics, science, music or sports) and interdisciplinary educational tasks (e.g. road safety or media education) to pedagogical issues (e.g. diagnosis of learning deficiencies, support for weaker students or coping with social problems) and school management (e.g. methods of evaluation). In 2003, more than 19,000 teachers took part in courses offered by institutions other than their own schools (BMoE, 2004d: ). (4) Enhancement of school autonomy Officially, Bavarian education policy relies more and more on local and voluntary commitment of schools, teachers, pupils and parents in order to improve school performance. As a consequence, the traditionally very strict hierarchy of school administration and supervision tends to become more flexible. Instead of keeping the structures of a highly formalized and regulated system of public administration which is typical for Germany and especially Bavaria, the Ministry of Education states that schools are too complex a system for unitary, uniform rules being able to guarantee a maximum level of equality and comparability of school performance (Hohlmeier, 2003b: 6). Therefore, red tape is to be cut and autonomy of schools is to be increased. Schools shall be granted more competences in order to improve their professional and pedagogical performance in the long run, and to develop specific profiles and competences that might be attractive for students and parents. According to this new aim of education policy, there has been a pilot project MODUS 21 Modell Unternehmen Schule im 21. Jahrhundert ( Model: School as an enterprise in the 21 st century ) testing how much autonomy schools need on the one hand, and how much central direction on the other hand (SBB, 2005d) since By late 2004, 44 school were taking part in the project. MODUS 21 takes account of four areas: quality of lessons and education, personnel management, intra- and extra-school partnerships, and administration of finances other than outlays for personnel. Every school decides how its new relative autonomy is used,
16 16 e.g. in recruitment of teachers for vacancies, acquisition of equipment, innovation in teaching methods, or organization of timetables and lessons. So far new models of individual support for students and modern ways of examination have been priorities in participating schools (SBB, 2005d). Since the school year 2003/04 several successful initiatives of MODUS 21 schools have been generalized for all Bavarian schools. For example, they have been granted the possibility to organize lessons more flexible including deviations from the usual 45-minutes scheme at German schools. Classes may be combined in joint lectures in order to make teachers available for assistance of weaker students, and projects and lessons may be organized beyond strict class and grade structures (Hohlmeier, 2003a: 13). Another project, Focus Hauptschule, started in 2004 and aims at strengtheing the attractiveness and qualification tasks of Hauptschulen. Three secondary schools in Nuremberg have defined their special profiles in the areas of (1) preparation for work and employment, (2) music, arts and sports, and (3) languages, literature and media, in order to provide actual school options to choose from for students and to improve their labour market opportunities. One important prerequisite of this project is the suspension of the traditional formal rule that students have to attend the school of their local district (Sprengelpflicht), which still applies to all pupils of primary schools and Hauptschulen in Bavaria (BMoE, 2004h; SBB, 2005e). (5) Improvement of individual support for children One important result of PISA was that German - and Bavarian - students of non-german origin tend to have far more serious problems at school than natives. The most important issue is command of the German language. In order to improve the language competence of the 87,000 students of foreign nationality at primary schools and Hauptschulen in Bavaria and thus increase their opportunities to achieve at school, a number of measures have been taken. In 2002 the ISB developed a special language test (Sprachstandsdiagnose) for children in transition from kindergarten to primary school, which was first applied in 2004/05. About 4,200 children were tested by this four-step screening method, of which about 2,400 were found to need assistance to improve their German. Actual support is to be provided by language courses and, if necessary, by special language and transition classes (Sprachlernklassen/Übergangsklassen) for foreign students at primary school (BMoE, 2005d). Another way of support are preparatory courses (Vorkurse Deutsch) for kindergarten kids. These courses of one hour of German every day take place in May to July, i.e. before the actual
17 17 start of school in September. In 2003/04 there were 336 preparatory courses with about 2,800 children. 116 of them were organized at kindergartens, 220 at primary schools (BMoE, 2005d). Since a fundamental problem of learning German is the lack of German being spoken at home, another idea of the Ministry has been to involve mothers in language courses. Based on the cooperation of schools, local communities, private sponsors and institutions of post-school education, mothers of non-german students shall attend courses at their kids schools. Thus they shall promote their children s command of German not only by their own increased language competence but also by getting involved in school life. The project is based on a similar example realized at primary schools in Munich in 1999/2000 (BMoE, 2005d). Between mid-2003 and early 2005, about 100 courses were organized successfully (Dirnaichner, 2005: 94). Furthermore, the disadvantaged position of foreign pupils in Bavarian schools is to be improved by a project Talent im Land started in Each year 50 gifted foreign students in Bavaria will receive a grant in order to be able to attend a Gymnasium and reach the Allgemeine Hochschulreife. The official aim is to show the other face of immigration and to encourage youngsters with a migration background. (...) Education fosters integration. We foster education (SBB, 2005f). Apart from providing assistance for foreign students, recent Bavarian education policy tries to improve the general support for children at age 3 to 6. In fact, kindergarten and primary school have been separated areas of education so far. As research results from modern neuro science and psychology, and experiences in other countries, e.g. in the French école maternelle indicate that especially young children have a great potential of learning, the Bavarian government intends to promote actual school-like learning in the kindergarten. Therefore a curriculum for kindergartens is currently introduced, and cooperation between kindergartens and primary schools is increased (Hohlmeier and Stewens, 2003). In 2004 a project KiDZ Kindergarten der Zukunft ( kindergarten of the future ) was initiated, in which kindergarten and grade 1 of the primary school are combined. The staffs of both institutions shall cooperate in order to create a learning environment with a smooth transition from learning in playing to playing in learning (SBB, 2005g). Finally, the introduction of G8 is also accompanied by the intention to improve individual assistance to students. Here, similar to the established regulations at primary schools (Förderunterricht/ lessons for assistance ), two or three hours (Intensivierungsstunden/
18 18 lessons for enhancement ) of the weekly schedule in grades 5 to 10 are reserved for individualized offers according to the pupils specific needs and interests (BMoE, 2004f: 10). One interesting aspect of this catalogue of reform projects for Bavarian schools is the choice of instruments and institutions for implementation. The Bavarian government not only relies on traditional administrative structures like the Ministry, the state school supervision authorities on the regional and county levels, and public institutions like the universities, the ISB or the Academy in Dillingen. It also tries to get the parents and the local communities involved, and cooperates closely with the economy. Actually, almost every project that has been initiated since 2000 has been organized by a joint foundation of the state of Bavaria and Bavarian firms. The S tiftu n g Bild u n g sp a kt Ba yern (Foundation Education Pact Bavaria) is a private-publicpartnership established in October 2000 with a founding capital of EUR 4.9 million. By late 2004, 120 firms had joined the Foundation which has received about EUR 3.2 million in donations and has spent about EUR 3.4 million on about 125 projects since 2000 (SBB, 2005h). 5 Implementation and problems of the reforms Since the publication of the results of the most recent international comparative education studies, especially PISA, Bavarian policy has obviously been quite creative and innovative. A whole range of projects and reforms have been initiated which, each by itself, cover important aspects of improving school performance. While these steps of reform take account of many crucial aspects cited in the scientific literature or demonstrated in experiences in other countries, their actual implementation has been facing a number of practical and overall systematic obstacles. One may distinguish five areas of essential shortcomings that will have to be overcome if Bavarian education policy is to achieve its aims of increasing international competitiveness as well as domestic justice of the Bavarian school system: (1) When one tries to assess the effects of the reform projects concerning the structure of the school system one quickly recognizes that, contrary to the official targets, the tightening of the traditional Bavarian system has intensified its selective character. Certainly, this does not hold for the total distribution of students over the various types of schools. In 8th grade, when adjustment processes (changes of school types) have practically finished, about 26 to 27
19 19 percent of all students typically attend a Gymnasium, about 26 percent a Realschule and 37 to 39 percent a Hauptschule. These figures have been constant since the end of the 1980s (BMoE, 2004d: 113). But a closer look at the official data reveals that the three pillars of the system have become more and more closed: In 1989/90 the ratio of students joining a Gymnasium after grade 4 to those coming from a Hauptschule after grade 5 was 7.6. Since then it has risen constantly to 23.9 in 2002/03 and 25.6 in 2003/04. A similar effect seems to be generated by the introduction of the R6. While in the old system (R4 with grade 7 to 10) the ratio of students coming from a Hauptschule to a Realschule after grade 6 to those joining after grade 7 only grew from 5.4 to 5.8 between 1989/90 and 1998/99, the ratio of students joining after primary school grade 4 to those changing after Hauptschule grade 5 according to the new model has already increased from 2.9 in 2000/0 1 to 3.9 in 2003/04 (BMoE, 2004d: 114). Thus, not only is the choice of school types (and potential qualifications and certificates) a decision made at the early age of 10 for most Bavarian students, it has even become more and more irrevocable as far as subsequent positive vertical mobility is concerned. In other words, once parents and children have decided on the path of the kids education, the way upwards is more or less blocked or at least excessively difficult. It is not surprising that, under these circumstances, parents try to make their children attend a school of as high as possible a level, i.e. a Gymnasium or at least a Realschule at virtually all cost, even if this means that this is more than their children are able to handle. This explains the increasing attractiveness of private schools and private lessons in Bavaria mentioned above. (2) For several years now school policy as well as all other fields of education and general policy have been dominated by the overpowering aim of a balanced budget by 2006 declared by the government (Stoiber, 2003: 4). Setting this strict target has been mainly motivated by the upcoming federal elections in that same year and the ruling party s ambition to present Bavaria as a role model for the whole of Germany. Thus, Bavarian reform policies have not only been facing the usual fiscal problems of public education but have even been submitted to a massive pressure of saving money. Basically, any current Bavarian education reform has to avoid additional costs and therefore suffers from a fundamental structural handicap. As a result, for example, the number of language classes (Sprachlernklassen) for the almost 90,000 foreign students (half of which may be needing assistance for improving their German) at primary schools have been limited to 220 due to financial reasons. In part, language courses for foreign pupils have to be paid for by private sponsors (Schindler, 2005).
20 20 Moreover, Bavaria has experienced a serious shortage of teachers in recent years. New employment of teachers has been low in general, and, in a parallel reaction at the universities, less students have enlisted for teacher programs in science. As a consequence, there is not enough qualified personnel for specialized tasks like e.g. teaching German to non-native speakers. For several years there have not been enough mobile reserves for teachers who are unavailable for service because of illness, pregnancy etc. Facing a lack of teachers, especially primary schools and Hauptschulen sometimes have to create makeshift combined classes of more than 40 students in order to keep up lessons (Muenchner Merkur, 6 April 2005, p. 9). In 2003, the Ministry of Education has officially recommended that qualified parents take over lessons at primary schools as part-time substitutes for missing teachers (Dannhäuser, 2003), e.g. forest rangers. At secondary schools, university graduates without any training in pedagogy or didactics are accepted for service at school and shall make up for their schoolrelated deficiencies in seminars accompanying their job practice. Since 2002, for example, the Ministry has been trying to attract graduates in physics for service in grammar schools (BMoE, 2003c). In 2001, a similar scheme was announced for graduates in physics and software engineering to recruit Realschule teachers (BMoE, 2001). In 2002, the teacher s profession at vocational schools was opened for graduates in electronics, mechanical engineering, business administration and economics (BMoE, 2002c). Under these circumstances the increased involvement of parents fostered by the Ministry seems to be a method of saving money rather than opening schools for new cooperative structures, e.g. in lunchtime alimentation of students, as substitutes for missing teachers at primary schools, or as sponsors for books and hardware (Junkers and Nelles, 2005: 34). (3) Shortages of personnel at schools, increasing working time, growing social and educational deficits of students, and a general feeling of insecurity because of the numerous reform steps and innovations decreed by the Ministry have resulted in growing exhaustion and rising frustration among active teachers (Dannhäuser, 2003b; Dauber and Vollstädt, 2004; Hüfner, 2004). About 50 percent of all teachers quit their job before reaching the official pension age (which is between 63 and 65 years), typically between 51 and 56 years. In Bavaria, more than half of them suffer from burnt-out syndrome mainly caused by the stressful perception of socially difficult students, high working hours, and too big classes (Häfner and Bauer, 2005: 85).