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Reconstructing Education: East German Schools after Unification

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Volume 2

International Educational Studies

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Reconstructing Education

East German Schools after Unification

Rosalind M. O. Pritchard

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288 pages, 17 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-954-3 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (December 1998)

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"... ungemein ausgewogene und einfühlsame Analyse der Entwicklungen… In seiner Mischung von Literatur- und Fallanalyse ist das Buch zugleich auch ein gutter Kurstext für Graduierten-Kurse.  · German Studies Review

"A most commendable work, with sound empirical data and sensitive qualitative analysis."  · Higher Education in Europe


After the unification of Germany had first been greeted with euphoria on both sides of the Wall, it did not take long for disillusion to set in when it became obvious that structures, mentality, values and outlook were very different in the Old and New Bundesländer. Moreover, whereas during the initial phase the East Germans were hoping just for a reform of their existing systems, they were soon disappointed and had to accept the fact that a fusion was out of the question; instead, East German structures were expected to assimilate to those of West Germany which led to the accusation of the latter's "colonization" of East Germany.

The restructuring of the education system played a crucial role in the transformation of East Germany; consequently, enormous sums were pumped into East German schools and the training of teachers. This is the first study in any language that closely examines the process re-education and addresses such vital questions as whether the reforms were educationally sound, to what degree they meshed with local circumstances, what measures were taken to fill the vacuum in moral and social values that was left by the discrediting of Marxism-Leninism, and what happened to the notion of "equality", the key principle of a socialist society. Contrasting the old and the new regime in the East, the author addresses these and many more critical issues. Numerous case studies and substantial interview material richly illustrate the author's arguments.

Rosalind M. O. Pritchard is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Ulster with responsibility for training teachers of Modern Languages and of English as a Foreign Language.

Subject: Educational Studies Postwar History
Area: Germany


List of Tables


List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1. The Fall of the Wall

  • The Berlin Wall
  • The Process of German Unification
  • The Law and the New Länder
  • The East German Psyche

Chapter 2. Reforming the School Structures

  • The GDR’s Unified School System
  • Utopia in Sight? GDR Reform Aspirations after the Fall of the Wall
  • Legal Constraints on Change after Unification
  • New Schools for Old
  • Case Study: Establishment of a New Grammar School
  • The Demographic Decline
  • Reduction in the School Population
  • Brandenburg and the Jena Plan
  • Striving for Institutional Survival
  • Competition between Schools
  • Profiling
  • Tensions within the School System

Chapter 3. School Life and Learning

  • Educational Practice in the GDR
  • New Books
  • New Curricula and Syllabuses
  • New Approaches to the Methodology of Teaching
  • Pupil Classroom Norms in East Germany
  • Youth Policy in East Germany

Chapter 4. Religious Education, Church Schools and Ethics

  • Religion in a Socialist State
  • Education, Young People and the Church under Socialism
  • Religion in the United Germany
  • Church Schools
  • Exemplar of a Church School
  • Ethics and Religious Education in State Schools
  • Life Skills – Ethics – Religion (‘LER’)

Chapter 5. Training for the World of Work

  • The GDR Tradition of Vocational Educational
  • Shortcomings in the GDR Model of Vocational Education
  • Introduction of the West German Dual System
  • Economic Stringency and Its Impact on the Dual System
  • Case Study: The Goldsmith
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6. Renewing the Teaching Profession and Higher Education

  • Teachers and Their Universities before Unification
  • The Students and Student Life
  • The Wende
  • Restructuring and ‘Cleansing’ of University and School Staff
  • Restructuring of Higher Education Institutions
  • Closure of the Academy of Sciences and of the Academy of Educational Sciences
  • Changes in Third-Level Education Structures
  • A Reformed Teaching Profession
  • The Thorny Issues of Recognition and Pay
  • New Teacher Training Structures
  • Easterners Learn New School Law
  • Case Study I: Monika and the Miniskirt
  • Case Study II: Verena and the T-Shirt
  • The Aftermath
  • Human Relationships
  • How Did Students Fare under the New Regime
  • Change and Its Implications for Women Teachers, Students and Academics
  • Conclusion

Chapter 7. In Retrospect

Appendix I: Articles on Education and Higher Education and Research from the Unification Treaty
Appendix II: A Questionnaire Used to Evaluate Teachers for Political Soundness


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