Differences in the School System of Germany and New Zealand

By Clara Ballas | Posted: Tuesday November 19, 2013

Germany and New Zealand have quite different school systems.

One of the big differences is that we have to study 12 subjects and not only 6. Also we can’t choose what subjects we want to study, until Year 11 where we get a few options but we still have to study most of the subjects.

Since we have twice the number of classes, our periods are just 45 minutes long and our school starts at 8 o’clock. Furthermore we don’t have such a big lunch break, except when we are juniors. And our school days are always different. Sometimes we have school till 4:30 and sometimes just till 1.00.

In Germany no teachers have their own room. Everyone has to move rooms, probably because most of the teachers have two or more subjects. We have 5 minute breaks between each period for going to our next class.

Our exams and tests are very different too. Our teachers make notes for each period about how well we work in class and we get a mark for our oral participation. In Germany we don’t have internals or externals. Each teacher makes their own tests and we just do them during class time. We get reports twice a year with a mark for every class, 1 is the best and 6 is the worst. Pretty much like A-E just in numbers. You have to get at least a 4 to pass the subject. If you fail one, you have to balance it out with being very good in another one, but you can’t balance many subjects out so you pretty much have to pass everything.

Instead of primary, intermediate and high school, we just have primary school (year 1 to 4) and high school (usually till year 12).

Most of the German students say that school in New Zealand seems easier, but I wouldn’t say that. It’s more about being independent and choosing when you want to do your work and how you get enough credits, but the teachers are still there for you and help you. In Germany it’s another kind of independence. We have to finish our work always when it’s due. We can’t leave it until the end of the year as we don’t need credits, just marks from our teachers. But when you are a senior, most of the teachers treat you like adults and you are pretty much on your own in school. 

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