School reform in Saarland: goodbye Turbo Abi

Status: 05/05/2022 04:41

Saarland was the first state in western Germany to introduce the G8 – the so-called Turbo Abi. Now it returns to G9. What does the reform of the reform bring?

By Julia Berdin, SR

In her first government statement, the new Prime Minister of the Saarland SPD, Anke Rehlinger, declared that she now wanted to correct the error of the G8. In 2001 the Abitur was introduced in Saarland after the twelfth year.

Young people should enter the labor market earlier and therefore pay their social security contributions earlier. In this way, the social security system in Germany should be relieved. After the reform in Saarland, almost all former federal states followed with the G8, only Rhineland-Palatinate remained with the G9.

The effects of the reform gave food for thought. Studies, including those from the German Institute for Economic Research, have shown that G8 high school graduates are less likely to start school immediately after graduation. There are also more people who remain seated. After all, no significantly worse Abitur rating can be observed.

Ultimately, there are no significant differences between G8 and G9 high school graduates, summarizes education researcher Olaf Köller of the Kiel Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education. But – and this coincides with criticism from many parents – G8 students have much less free time.

The reform: return to the G9

At the national level, parents’ initiatives for the return to the G9 have emerged. Public pressure against the so-called Turbo Abi has increased. In the meantime, all West German states that opted for the G8 at the time have reverted to the G9 in whole or in part.

Bavaria, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia have completely said goodbye to the G8. Freedom of choice prevails in Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein. There are high schools there that lead to Abitur in eight or nine years and some that have a parallel G8/G9 system.

According to education researcher Köller, too much is expected of the reform. The return to the G9 was above all a political decision, for example to capture the votes before the elections. However, the price is high: the reform entails costs of tens of millions.

Historically Cultivated Patchwork Quilt

In new federal states and city-states, the G8 is still mostly used in high schools. In Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Brandenburg, Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, the Abitur is also offered after nine years in other types of schools.

The fact that the east of Germany tends towards the G8 and the west towards the G9 has historically increased. From the early 19th century to the Weimar Republic, the G8 was dominant. When the German school system was fundamentally reformed 100 years ago and a common four-year primary school was introduced, the total school time up to the Abitur was extended to 13 years.

Under the Nazi regime it was shortened to twelve years in order to attract an additional class of officer candidates. At the end of World War II, the West German states continued the Weimar school system, which resulted in the G9.

The GDR initially remained with the G8. After reunification, some countries introduced the Abitur after nine years, but reverted to the old system in the 2000s.

transition to the next school year

Saarland will begin to switch to the G9 after the summer holidays. The new fifth-year students will again be a pure G9 cohort. It’s clear.

What is still missing is a clear idea of ​​how the transition should be designed. The associations and unions of teachers in particular, as well as the representatives of the students of the State, therefore consider the reform hasty.

The Saarland Ministry of Education, on the other hand, relies on a co-management process in which, among others, parents, school administrators and pupils must be involved. In any case, the timetable that the Saarland government has set for this is sporty.

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