Abitur after twelve years

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Abitur after twelve years, or Gymnasium in eight years (often abbreviated as G8 or Gy8) describes the reduction of the time spent at the Gymnasium from nine school years to eight school years in many States of Germany. In the states Berlin, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the reduction meant a change from seven years to six years spent at the Gymnasium because in these states primary education continues until grade 6. In Saxony and Thuringia it is already a long established norm to take the Abitur after twelve years.[1] The principal argument for the reduction is the comparatively long times for vocational education in Germany.

Some federal states states have already reversed the reform even though sound academic insights into its effects are scarce.[2]

Year of reform by state[edit]

State Introduction Previously in effect
Baden-Württemberg yes (2012- )
Bavaria abolished
outbounding until 2018
2012 until 2018
Berlin yes (2012- ) 1949 until 2000 (East Berlin)
Brandenburg yes (2012- ) 1949 until 2000
Bremen yes (2012- )
Hamburg yes (2010- )
Hesse yes (2013- )
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern yes (2008- ) 1949 until 2001
Lower Saxony abolished 2011 until 2019
North Rhine-Westphalia abolished
outbounding until 2026[3]
2012 until 2026
Rhineland-Palatinate yes (2016- )
(as a pilot project in
full-time schools only)
Saarland yes (2009- )
Saxony yes (1949- )
Saxony-Anhalt yes (2007- ) 1949 until 2000
Schleswig-Holstein yes (2016- )
Thuringia yes (1949- )


In part, parent, teacher and student organizations express criticism, exclusively from the Western States of Germany.[4] In spite of the removal of one school year, all the contents of the previously thirteen school years were in the curriculum. This means that the school timetable is enlarged and that the students have to be at school between 32 and 40 periods a week. Altogether with the homework given and exam preparations a school week is calculated to encompass an estimated 45 to 55 periods.

However, there is little empirical evidence on the effect of the compression of instructional periods into fewer years of schooling on student outcomes.[5]


External links[edit]