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Merits of the


it on its theoretical side, he is forced to acknowledge its superior excellence in its practical workings, especially when it is contrasted with the prevailing systems in England and America. It is not a lash held over scholars to make them work the harder, nor does it convert a youth into a mere machine for grinding out facts on demand. It allows full play to the individuality of pupil and teacher, and gives both every opportunity for performing the best possible service. It leaves the teacher free to devote his best energies to the mental-spiritual development of his charge, without the suspicion that someone may come in, wholly ignorant of the character of his pupils and of his course of instruction, to test them on what might be the veriest non-essentials. It gives free scope for the best teachers to work out their problems in their own way; it sets a standard below which the poor teacher dare not fall; in short, it accomplishes all that any system of examinations could be expected to do, while it is free, at least in its practical workings, from the evils incident to the popular methods of this country.

The System of


It has been repeatedly pointed out in this essay that the higher schools of Germany serve purposes other than merely giving a liberal education. It is inevitable that a state system of education should be controlled in the interests of the state, but under a bureaucratic government there is danger of using the schools in the interests of the class that happens to be in power. Tho tendency in Germany to regulate everything that can be regulated applies to the control of public education as to everything else. Little chance is allowed anywhere to individual initiative; small credence is given to the ability of the masses to act aright. The German theory is that it is better to avoid mistakes than to make them even for the sake of gaining experience.

It is with reluctance that I turn to the system of privileges so intimately associated with the examination system. It is at this point that the grip of the government is most seriously

felt. The state is not content to give to youth a liberal education which he can use in the service of the state, but it must compel him to conform to a prescribed form if he would succeed. Thus it happens that each higher school, almost each year in school, has its cash value. It is a load which the schools can ill afford to carry. It mars what otherwise might be the most nearly perfect educational system in the world. It distorts educational progress, and bids fair ultimately to give an advantage to the enemies of the Fatherland, the value of which they seem thoroughly to appreciate. There are three groups of privileges which may be distinguished: First, the right of one-year volunteer service in the army; second, the admission to the university and the learned professions; third, preparation for various posts in the civil and military service. The first two are of special interest in this connection.

Three Main

1. The privilege of one-year volunteer service in the army (Einjährig-freiwilliger Dienst) is granted upon the success

1. Military

ful completion of a six years' course of study in any recognized higher school in any German state, and to those persons not being pupils in a higher school who are fitted privately or by study in a school not officially recognised and succeed in passing a special examination similar to the Abschlussprüfung.

Origin of One

In the last century, when the army was recruited by conscription in the various cantons, university students were free from military service. So many accordYear Service. ingly entered the university for no other purpose than to avoid army service that a special examination was instituted in 1793 to determine who might take up university work with a profit. At first the examination was restricted to gymnasial students fourteen years of age. With the introduction of universal military service, in 1814, an exception was made in the case of young men of the upper classes who desired to devote themselves to professional study whereby they were given the privilege of but one year



of army service. Only those who gave promise of special ability were awarded the privilege. Students in the higher classes of the Gymnasien, even down to Tertia, who satisfied these requirements might receive the recognition. In 1822 the completion of Tertia was required, and since that time the standard has been gradually raised until, in 1868, the minimum requirement was set at the end of the Untersecunda, where it has since remained. Other changes have also been made. The privilege was granted first only to those who gave special promise of professional success. For thirty years, however, it has been held up as a prize for all who could pass a definite examination, notwithstanding that some might not intend to enter upon professional study at all, or even remain longer in school. As a matter of fact this latter class now includes more than one-half of all those who secure the privilege.

The Imperial

School Commission.

With the foundation of the North German Confederation and, later, of the Empire, the system introduced by Prussia was adopted by the other states. In order to secure a greater uniformity in methods and an approved standard, an Imperial School Commission (Reichs-Schulcommission) was appointed in 1875, whose chief function is to advise the imperial chancellor as to what schools may with propriety be granted the privilege of awarding the certificate which frees its holder from one year of military service. This commission consists of six members: Four represent Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Würtemberg; a fifth member is chosen biennially from Baden, Hesse, Alsace-Lorraine and Mecklenberg-Schwerin in turn; the sixth member represents the other German states, likewise in terms of two years. This is the only attempt made to unite the different states of the empire in any matter pertaining to school affairs. The members of the commission are all teachers, or officers in the Education Departments of the different states.

2. Admission to any faculty of the university, and ultimately to the learned professions, is unconditionally permitted

2. University Study.

only to those who hold a Reifezeugnis from a Gymnasium. Graduates of a complete course in the Realgymnasium may pursue such courses in the university as will fit them to become teachers of mathematics, natural sciences and modern languages, but they may not study theology, law or medicine. A Reifezeugnis from an Oberrealschule grants the privilege of university study only in mathematics and natural sciences.

Present Conditions.

The leaving examination which was introduced in Prussian schools in 1788 carried with it the privilege of admission to the university, but not until 1834 was the test of much practical importance. In the latter year it was made an essential prerequisite to all professional advancement. During the following generation the Gymnasium had a monopoly of all university preparatory work. In 1870, by the recognition of the Realgymnasium, Greek was made optional for entrance upon the courses in mathematics and modern languages. Finally, in 1892, the privileges mentioned in the preceding paragraph were granted to the higher schools. It has been a long struggle, the end of which is not yet in sight.

3. Graduates of Gymnasien, Realgymnasien and Oberrealschulen alike have the privilege of continuing their studies in higher technical schools in architecture; in


3. State civil, mechanical, electrical and mining engineering; in art, in agriculture-in short, in all lines which lead up to the state examinations for admission to all posts in the civil and military service not included in the learned professions.

Scope of the

The privileges attached to certificates of completion of courses less than nine years in length will be found in full in the appendix to this volume. An examination of this table will show that the higher schools are the only gateways to positions of honour and trust in the state. Industrial and commercial occupations alone are freed from official interference; but with state control of the railways, telegraph and postal systems, of bank

ing and certain industrial interests, even freedom in business is not altogether assured. Bureaucracy is omnipresent, and almost omnipotent; the higher schools, unfortunately, are a chief means of perpetuating its power.

GENERAL REFERENCES:-Wiese, Das höhere Schulwesen in Preussen; Wiese-Kübler, Gesetze und Verordnungen; Centralblatt für die gesammte Unterrichts- Verwaltung in Preussen; Encyclopedias of Schmid and Rein; Phillip, Das höhere Schulwesen in Königreiche Sachsen, Dresden, 1889. And see Bibliography, p. 455, Nos. 1c, 2, 4. For changes in system of privileges, see Chapter XXII.


The regulations of 1901 prescribe the following subjects for the leaving examination in Prussia:

(1) Written-For all schools, a German essay and four problems in mathematics, and also for the

(a) Gymnasien, a translation from German into Latin and from Greek into German,

(b) Realgymnasien, a translation from the Latin into German, an essay in either French or English, a translation from the German into French or English, and one problem in physics, and

(c) Oberrealschulen, a French or an English essay, and a translation from the German into English or French and one problem from physics or chemistry.

(2) Oral-For all schools, the Christian religion, history and mathematics, and also for

(a) Gymnasien, Latin, Greek, and either French or English,

(b) Realgymnasien, Latin, French, and English, and physics or chemistry, and

(c) Oberrealschulen, French, English, physics and chemistry.

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