Education in Germany to-Day
IN the summer of 1927 a desire to find out what changes in the field of secondary education had taken place in Germany, France, and England since the World War led me to make a personal visit to about thirty-five typical schools, both state and private, and to study the school systems of these countries. As a result of my investigation I found that, whereas changes in the school systems had been made since the war, the most significant reform had occurred in Germany. I shall confine my observations, therefore, chiefly to this country. Before the war, as far back as 1893, I had been a not infrequent visitor in Germany. I had passed long months in Heidelberg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Marburg, and Berlin. I had traveled over most of Germany, visiting its chief literary and historic shrines. I had tramped in the Black Forest and canoed down the Moselle and the Danube in an Oldtown canvas canoe. I was familiar, therefore, with both the people and their language. But those were the old days—the days of imperial greatness, the goose step, and dueling. They were also the days when the universities were as a magnet to American students, when German scholarship was held in high esteem, and when German professors used to keep open house for the young strangers from across the seas. Those of us who once had a chance to enjoy such hospitality mid such a scholarly atmosphere can never forget it.
In 1912, together with many other American teachers, I made an educational tour of Germany. We were received everywhere with the greatest cordiality, and wherever we went the school children would sing for us. As I write this fifteen years later, I can still hear the voices of boys and girls pealing forth their joyous songs; and the refrain of an old sixteenth-century hymn still sounds in my ears as it was sung by a group of poor boys in Jena, perhaps one of the hymns that Luther used to sing when he roamed the streets in the Currende. My surprise was great, however, one day on hearing a group of girls, in one of the large girls’ schools, sing a song so martial in tone and meaning that I could not refrain from commenting on the fact to the director, who was standing by; whereupon, as all the girls stood erect at attention, he said in a loud voice, ’What else can you expect from these girls who know that they are to beget a race of warriors to defend their Fatherland!’ That was in 1912. To-day hardly a soldier in uniform, much less an officer, can be seen on the streets. During my recent stay in Germany, in which I visited many different sections of the country, I saw only one officer. He was walking at the head of a company of troops in Berlin. The military uniform has practically disappeared from Germany except on gala occasions and at special memorial exercises. The absence of military drill in the German schools is in strong contrast to the English public schools, which are nearly all organized into O. T. C. units and where the boys have practice drill in uniform once or twice a week.
The Germans are interested in other things. They believe in building up a strong Germany. But they realize that the future of their country depends primarily on a sound educational system. In no way are their ideals and aims more clearly seen than in their attitude toward education. The old system had shown its inherent weakness. A new and better system must take its place. But how to bring this about? If it were left in the hands of the former educational authorities, the same rigidity and reactionary features would again be incorporated. No, new ideas, new blood, should have their share in all educational reconstruction. The youth of Germany were among the real leaders for a thoroughgoing reform. They saw the weaknesses and defects of the old system. It lacked spiritual, cultural, and educational unity. It was exclusive. It did not recognize the same right to education and culture for all children. It was too rigid. It did not provide for easy transfer from one type of school to another. It failed to develop in the pupil originality, initiative, and responsibility. It left little freedom to the individual teacher. Even before the war, reformers had pointed out many of the fundamental defects of the old system. But their voices were hardly heard in the state schools. Private schools alone were able to introduce certain changes, but they did not touch the fundamental weakness of the state-school system.
Largely, as stated, through the influence of the youth of Germany, a great Federal Education Council was held in Berlin in 1920. Here, after several days of discussion, in which every shade of opinion was expressed, it was decided to make certain fundamental changes in the school system. The result was the adoption of the idea of the common school (Einheitsschule) with a four-year foundation school (Grundschule) which all children between the ages of six and ten should be compelled to attend. By 1929 all private preparatory schools for children between these ages are to be abolished, and all who are physically and mentally normal, rich and poor alike, are to go to the Grundschule. Here is a radical and far-reaching reform. No longer may children between these ages be segregated. No longer may the rich be separately prepared for the secondary schools. They must take the prescribed course in the prescribed way. Entrance to the higher schools can only follow completion of the fouryear course. There have been many attempts to get around this law, but so far the authorities have been unyielding except in reducing the time by one year for those who can complete the course in three years instead of four. This German law, however, is very unlike that attempted in Oregon which would have suppressed all private schools in the state. The German law abolishes those public and private elementary schools aiming to prepare pupils for the secondary schools. It does not affect the private secondary schools, of which there are a great many in Germany.
The main purpose of this foundation school ‘is to arouse and train all the intellectual and physical forces in the children and equip them with the skill and knowledge needed as the foundation for every type of higher education.’ All instruction is to foster relations to the home environment, and the principle of self-activity is to be utilized to its fullest extent for purposes of instruction. The subjects of study are religion, community study (Heimatkunde), German, arithmetic, drawing, singing, gymnastics, and, for girls, needlework in the third and fourth year. There are no fixed periods of instruction. Rather is all work to be integrated. The teacher is left great freedom to adapt his work to the particular needs of the locality in which the children live. In the selection of material the right of the child, his intelligence, and his psychological stage of development are carefully considered.
On finishing the Grundschule a pupil may continue for four years more in the elementary school or he may enter the Mittelschule, a six-year course preparing for commerce and agriculture and intermediate positions in administrative and industrial enterprises. As its name implies, it stands midway between the Grundschule and the secondary school. Those who can pass the examinations and can afford to pay may pass directly from the Grundschule to the secondary school. It is also possible now by means of a new school, the Aufbauschule, to pass from the seventh year of the elementary school to one of the four types of the secondary school. Thus the talented, able boy may receive a secondary education and reduce the expense by three years. Stipends are also available to aid the poor boy. By these two measures— the establishment of the foundation school, which brings all classes together in the formative years and which is an integral part of one single system of education from the earliest years to the university, and the creation of the Aufbauschule, which allows of transfer from the upper years of the elementary school to the secondary school — a great step forward has been taken toward fulfilling the cultural ideal of national unity, making the system more flexible, and developing and conserving the latent talent and ability of the poor country boy for the service of the State.
The dominance of the ideal of service to the State, the training of civic consciousness, underlies the whole Prussian idea of political education, which is a recognized part of school education. In this way a new and reunited Germany is to arise. And herein lies the great difference between the old education and the new: this new civic consciousness must come through free devotion and not through compulsion. ‘ Hence all materials and methods of education must stand the test of whether they succeed in developing responsible free activity, the creative power that is essential, and the ideal objectives that motivate it.’
The four types of secondary schools may be briefly characterized as follows: the humanistic Gymnasium, whose special function is to prepare the youth through an intensive study of both Latin and Greek, and their cultural values, for a vigorous intellectuality; the Realgymnasial schools, which, while continuing Latin, lay great weight on modern languages as a means of familiarizing the student with the creative thought of Western Europe; the Oberrealschule, which has as its characteristic subjects mathematics and the natural sciences, and aims to give an intellectual, philosophical, and scientific training and to accustom the youth to clear, logical thinking, to accuracy and appreciation of the truth; the Deutsche Oberschule, which stresses German, history, geography, mathematics, and art, and places the culture of the German people in the centre of its cultural activity. In the first two types the aim is to give the student, through the study of the foreign cultures, a better understanding of the genius of his own race.
The problem of fulfilling the special aim of each type of school, and at the same time of preserving cultural unity, is solved through certain core subjects, to which are assigned not less than one third of the time, and which run through and bind together all types of schools. These subjects are religion, German, history, geography, civics, physical training, and music. The need of preserving the cultural unity necessitates a coördination of all teaching and a complete coöperation between the teachers of different departments. Under the old system there was an attempt to compress too much into the different types of schools. The reform has relieved the pressure by lessening the number of weekly periods from about thirty-six to thirty and by simplifying and unifying the schedule. While the objectives for each separate school are set forth in official Suggestions, great latitude is left to the schools and teachers in the way these objectives should be attained.
Perhaps in no way has the reform struck deeper than in the method of instruction itself. Instead, as under the old system, of trying to implant knowledge, an attempt is being made through activity instruction to develop initiative and independence of judgment, to arouse the imagination, and to strengthen the will. The class itself is organized into an activity group. ‘To bridge the natural gap between the acquisition of definite knowledge, without which higher intellectual activity is not possible, and the acquisition of the ability to do independent work, without which knowledge remains unproductive, is the earnest and great purpose of activity instruction.’
The following illustrations taken from the departments of modern languages and geography will suffice to show the kind of work recommended and being done. In all schools, modernlanguage teaching is by the direct method. Indeed, the Germans were pioneers in developing this method, and neither in France nor in England is the teaching of modern languages as effective as it is in Germany. At the end of the course of instruction, the German boy can converse in either French or English, and frequently in both. He can carry on a conversation on ordinary subjects with confidence and a fair degree of fluency. I have frequently spoken English to German boys and they have not only had little difficulty in understanding me, but have kept up their end of the conversation. I have further listened to discussions in English in the classroom. In a fourth-year class in a Berlin school, the subject was ‘The film is a quite justified expression of modern civilization, a natural outcome of the age.’ The boys, thirty in number, had made notes in English to bring up in class. Each had given his own opinion. There was a class recorder and a class leader, who had arranged the manner of presentation in advance. The work called for thought, criticism, and originality. In another school, a fifth-year class, the twenty pupils were discussing in English the pros and cons of studying two foreign languages at the same time. In a third school in Frankfort, which I visited before the war, a class of boys, about fifteen years old, after listening to a simple story which I told them in English, promptly translated it orally into French and German.
The books suggested for English reading in the upper classes of the schools stressing modern languages include the historians and philosophical writers of the nineteenth century, English ballads, the lyric and epic poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Shakespeare, Milton, Scott, Dickens, Carlyle, and Ruskin, and the moderns like Chesterton, Wilde, Shaw, Galsworthy, and Wells. Nor were these books to be read merely for their context, but chiefly for their cultural values as representations of typical English characteristics and periods of thought development. For instance: Burns and the English folk song, in connection with music and German and Dutch art, or the spiritual aspect of British imperialism as found in Froude, Kipling, and Wells. For the final examination in French and English the candidate is examined both in writing and orally. In the oral examination he must either translate or explain in the foreign tongue a sight passage, showing that he thoroughly understands the passage in question, not merely in structure and meaning, but in its literary and cultural connections also. I wonder what our privateschool upper-class boys would say to a selection of books for study and reading of French authors taken from the following: the great pulpit orators of the seventeenth century, in connection with the history of theological thought; the French philosophical writers from Descartes to Bergson; the French historians, to give insight into the development of civilization; and so forth. These are among the actual Suggestions for reading matter in the highest class of the Realgymnasial schools.
In the study of geography, which is taken up, as is history, in every class, the chief aim is to awaken and cultivate in the pupil a love of the native soil, the home, and the Fatherland. It is to show also that the map is the most important geographical means of expression, and to train the pupil to read maps and use them on excursions. Instruction in geography is given, whenever possible, out of doors, where maps can be used for purposes of orientation, where meteorological and astronomical observations can be made. Excursions through Germany are a chief feature of all geography group activity. In all of the schools, once a year in term time, when it can be arranged, the whole school sets forth on a week’s Wanderung. The school children tramp all over Germany in small groups, generally with a teacher, taking nothing with them but a knapsack. The total cost is rarely over thirty or forty marks, as they live in the utmost simplicity, spending the night in small huts or primitive inns owned by the clubs to which they belong. These trips, while recreational, are undertaken chiefly for educational reasons. They enable the boys of one district to become acquainted with other districts and thus to broaden their horizon. It is on such trips as these that the contour of the land, streams, and mountains is specially studied. On the return from his Wanderung, the pupil renders an account in class of all that he has seen and learned. This may be expressed in drawing, painting, photographs, charts, including map drawing, writing, poetry as well as prose, collections, statistics, and so forth. Such trips also furnish endless opportunity for oral work in the class, both formal and informal.
In the upper classes, geography instruction is to guide the pupil ‘gradually to form independent judgment on geographical questions and to enable him to understand and evaluate the development of the people of the earth.’ Geography, like history, is closely connected with the other subjects of the curriculum. Geographical instruction, in relation with mathematics, physics, biology, and history, has for its special task ‘to show how civilization is deeprooted in Nature, and demonstrates, by appealing to the universality of law, how culture has been built upon Nature in accordance with her processes; to mature the judgment of the pupils for functional thinking; to train them to a genetic understanding of things; and finally to deepen and vitalize their civic consciousness through an accurate representation of the relation between soil and State, between the earth and mankind.’
By taking up each subject separately, I could show that the boy who goes through the state secondary schools in Germany is much further advanced in practically every subject than are our boys. It is true that the illustrations above have all been taken from Prussian schools, and the Suggestions which I have quoted and freely used are from the Prussian Ministry for Science, Art, and Popular Education. But while the German states are allowed individually to administer their school systems, the same standards, aims, and methods are found in most of the other states.
The reason for the intellectual superiority of the German secondary-school boy over our high-school and privateschool boys has several factors. In the first place, the German system is more selective than ours. Far fewer boys attend the secondary schools in Germany than is the case in the United States. ‘In 1922 the pupils attending public and private higher secondary schools in Prussia, in the four courses corresponding to the ages between fifteen and eighteen inclusive, numbered 5.4 per cent of the boys and 3.4 per cent of the girls of that age group of the population, as compared with 32.6 per cent of the boys and 37.4 per cent of the girls in the case of pupils in public and private four-year secondary schools in the United States.’1 In the second place, German boys devote more time to study, both in hours per week and in weeks per year, than do ours. The German vacations aggregate about two months. Thirdly, the German boy cannot afford to take his education as casually as does the American boy. His very restricted means are an incentive to hard work. This is particularly the case now, when nearly everyone is feeling the pinch of poverty. Fourthly, the continuity and the unity of aim of the German system make for thoroughness and prevent waste. From the ages of six to nineteen the course is unbroken. Each step leads directly to the next. There is no time lost through transfer, as is so often the case in our private schools. If a student wishes to change from one type of school to another, this can be done up to fourteen without difficulty and without loss or repetition. Transfers may also be arranged, within limits, later than this, but boys cannot elect a subject here and a subject there at random and regardless of the general scheme. The elective principle is limited to the choice of the type of school with its special objective. Lastly, the German teacher is better prepared for his job than the American teacher. He brings to his work a pedagogical and intellectual equipment which would be hard to match anywhere in our country. Before receiving a position in one of the higher secondary schools, he must have devoted four years to advanced work at the university, have passed a comprehensive state examination, and have spent two years of probationary practice and training in some approved secondary school. His course at the university must have included two major subjects and one minor, in addition to philosophy and education. Coming to his class as a master of the subject he is to teach, and remaining with the same boys three or four years, he is able to impart to his pupils something of the spirit of real scholarship.
The aim of German instruction is not to enable the boy to pass examinations. It has for its chief purpose a real understanding and grasp of the subject in hand, its relation to other subjects, and its significance in the development of the intellectual faculties of the boy. As has been already stated, ideals of culture are always present in the German scheme, and methods are used which put a premium on the use of one’s thinking powers to develop independent judgment. There is little memoriter work required above the lowest sections of the schools, but source work, laboratory and activity work of all kinds, are continually going on. The Germans have a system that might be imitated elsewhere. On offering himself for the final examination to the university, a boy may present, in lieu of one subject for examination, a piece of work which he has prepared outside the school during the previous year. This is called a Jahresarbeit, and is to test his ability to do original work of a high order. If it is good enough, it is accepted as part of the required preparation for entering the university. What the examining committee really wants to know is whether a boy is serious about his studies, can think for himself, and has learned something of the scientific attitude toward work. It is not interested in mere knowledge of the subject matter itself.
The scholastic aims of our schools are too apt to be interpreted by the boys in terms of marks, grades, and college units. Our boys lack genuine intellectual interests. One reason for the large mortality in freshman year in many American colleges is that boys who go to them have no real interest in education. They are eager to go to college, but for other reasons. They will work hard to get there, but all too often they have not acquired, before they go, one of the main motives that will help to steer them straight after they have once entered — a genuine interest in education.
Significant as the reform of the Prussian school system has been, the state schools seem to many German educators to have made very few fundamental changes and to have clung to ancient methods and traditions of teaching which are not consonant with the latest pedagogical theories. For the last two decades a new reform movement in education has been going on in Germany, as in the United States, and advocates of the reform may now be found in nearly every country, as witness the World Conference on the New Education at Locarno last August, when twelve hundred delegates from forty countries were present. In Germany this movement has resulted in the starting of many new private experimental schools, including a few state schools, and the strengthening of the few pioneer schools that were already in existence before the war.
The new schools have been characterized as ‘dynamic,’ and the old as ‘static.’ The new make the child the centre. The new education is not interested in different types of curricula to which the student must adhere, but in the differentiation of courses to suit the individual. It believes in freedom of growth — of motion, action, and expression — with the limits imposed by the rights of the school community. The old schools aimed too exclusively at developing the intellect and neglected the creative, constructive forces in children. It was as a protest against this that Dr. Hermann Lietz, who had taught under Dr. Cecil Reddie at Abbotsholm, England, started his school reform in Germany. He wished to found a school where boys could learn to enjoy the beautiful things in art, science, and nature; to read Shakespeare, Emerson, Molière, and Goethe; to play the violin, use the microscope, and at the same time learn how to pitch hay, wield an axe, play football, and ‘withstand temptation as they could the wind and the weather.’ Through study and work of this kind, his boys would be able to understand the simple laborer and also the great artist and statesman. Thus would they be able some day to diminish the bitterness between employer and employee. (Saunderson of Oundle had something of the same vision when he insisted that boys who had once learned to enjoy creative work would never consent, when they became industrial leaders, to see the workman remain a mere machine.)
The Lietz schools, six in number, were started to carry out this idea. And they are thriving to-day. I visited two of them, one at Ettersburg near Weimar, and one at Bieberstein near Fulda. They both occupy the sites of old castles and are beautifully situated in the midst of a hilly country of woods and fields. Here the boys live a life of almost Spartan simplicity. Bieberstein takes boys into the upper classes only and Ettersburg into the three middle classes. The other schools for younger children are coeducational. All the boys perform hard manual work two hours a day, four afternoons a week, either on the place or in the workshops, twice at general utility work and twice at work of their own choice; the other two afternoons are free for play. Once a year all the Lietz schools meet at Ettersburg and play each other in sports. The boys rise at six, run a mile, work for a period, and then have breakfast. The rest of the morning they study. Almost all the country boarding schools follow the custom of a run before breakfast. In these schools much attention is given to music, both vocal and instrumental. At one of the schools I visited, the boys, after the mile run and after taking their showers, go every morning before breakfast into the assembly hall and listen for twenty minutes to a Bach fugue or to other classical music.
One of the most interesting new schools, founded since the war and partly supported by the city of Berlin, is the School Farm Scharfenberg that occupies an island of about a hundred acres in the Tegel Lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It is connected with the mainland by a ferry operated by the boys themselves. The island was formerly the home of Alexander von Humboldt, where he planted all sorts of rare shrubs and trees which, now grown to full size, make it a place of rare beauty and interest. Here about fifty boys from fifteen to eighteen live a genuine community life, doing practically all their own work, including farming, and at the same time cultivate the arts and receive an education which prepares them for the university. The founder and leader of this school is an idealist who has gone ahead in spite of almost insurmountable obstacles until success now seems assured. The plant is of the simplest — a few very plain buildings, built or made over mostly by the boys, and scattered about the island. The life is plain in the extreme. Only those who are willing to live frugally and work hard for the common good are accepted into the school. Each member of the school has had to struggle to do his share to keep the school going. In this common effort for the common good a spirit of brotherly oneness has grown up which gives the school its special character.
Every boy devotes one afternoon a week from two to seven to hard manual work that is to be done on the farm or about the place. Boys may choose the sort of work they prefer. In addition, two hours on another afternoon are required of every boy for any work that may be called for. This is in addition to the daily chores, which include nearly everything but cooking and washing. The boys rise at six, run around the island, wash, dress, make their beds, and study for an hour and a half until nine, when they have breakfast. One afternoon a week and one half hour daily are given to play. The island school is organized into a council with an executive committee. Everyone has an equal voice in the affairs of the school. All matters concerning it are discussed in weekly evening talks in which both boys and masters take part. The records are kept by the boys in a big book which is open for visitors to read. The only punishment ever meted out is temporary withdrawal of the right to have a vote. In regard to the instruction, there is no strict division into classes. Students at fifteen enter one of the types of school courses already described. A feature of the instruction is the method of concentrating certain work into periods of a week — a language week, a culture week, a science week, a mathematics week, and so forth. This enables the pupil to give his whole time to one difficult bit of work before going on to another. Music and art are not neglected. Musical evenings and Shakespeare plays are frequent. As I watched these boys cheerfully but determinedly going about their work, eating their frugal midday repast, and ready to give a helping hand to one another or to visitors like myself, I thought that here on this island education was really taking place.
Up in the hills above a beautiful little valley leading down to the Rhine plain, midway between Frankfort and Heidelberg, near the hamlet of Oberhambach, is one of the most picturesque and unique schools of Germany — the Odenwald school. Here, if anywhere, idealism has had free rein, and the founder and leader has built up a school where boys and girls from six to twenty live happily together in a big family. The noise and bustle of the busy world do not penetrate here.
While the particular genius who guides the fortunes of this school is its founder, Dr. Geheeb, there are five other presiding geniuses, — Goethe, Herder, Schiller, Fichte, and W. von Humboldt, — for whom the five living houses are named and whose birthdays are celebrated every year at a special school festival. These are the patron saints whose silent influence is ever present in the workaday life of the school. ‘Fulfill your destiny,’they seem to say to the one hundred boys and girls. Werde der du bist — and from early morning until night the process of unfolding and developing goes on. There are more than twenty teachers to help these boys and girls develop true to their highest natures. But to the casual observer the students run the school, or, rather, it seems to run itself. It is one big organism made up of different cells or small families, each a complete unit in itself, consisting of a teacher and some twenty boys and girls of different ages. The whole constitutes an intimate community which exists for the sake of all its members. Its members, however, are to serve it also. Everything is arranged to develop as early as possible a feeling of devotion to the community. And from this devotion springs the sense of responsibility. Everyone shares in the government. All the students and the teachers meet together in common council, and from the youngest to the oldest each has an equal vote. Even the director of the school rules only by virtue of his greater experience, wisdom, and influence.
There is great freedom in this school, yet a sense of order seems to pervade it. The pupils choose, in counsel with their family-group leader, their own courses, which are given for a period of a month at a time — something like the Dalton plan. No student takes more than two main subjects at once, but he concentrates on these for at least a month. At the end of the month a special meeting of the whole school is held in which the student must give account of what he has accomplished; in theoretical work by oral and written reports, and in practical work by producing the object or objects he has made or been working upon during the month. His degree of success is then entered in a special record book. There are no regular classrooms. The workrooms are little museums or laboratories, each given up to some one subject. Everything is offered in this school, including carpentry, manual work, bookbinding, tailoring, sewing, cooking, the fine arts, and so forth. The same values are assigned to the practical courses as to the theoretical courses. The theoretical work is done in the morning and the practical work in the afternoon.
No distinction is made, in this school, of race, creed, or color. Jews and Gentiles work and play together in perfect content. I noticed a negro boy playing with the white boys. They seemed quite unconscious of anything unusual about this. At the Odenwald school, in addition to gymnastics and plenty of hard manual work, fresh-air baths are considered one of the best means to harden one’s self against colds and disease. These open-air baths are taken out of doors daily. On inquiring about the health record, I was informed that there had been practically no illness in the school since it was started in 1910.
There is real coeducation at the Odenwald school. The children enter young and grow up together. They work and play and take counsel together. As you watch them, it all seems natural, not forced, as in some schools. There is a wonderful spirit among them — it reflects the high ideals of the founder and his staff of devoted men and women who help him in his work. There is nothing institutional in the Odenwald school. One of the main secrets of its success is that the family idea is really preserved, the elder members looking after the younger ones.
There are many features of these and other schools which could be enlarged upon if space permitted. Little has so far been said about sport, but although, as has been shown, games are not played in Germany to anything like the extent to which they are in England and America, they are not neglected and much more time is devoted to them now than formerly. In the regular play periods of the schools, all sorts of games to train the body are carried on and many different kinds of ball games are played. In one of the schools which I visited, the worldfamous Dr. Otto Pelzer is the physical director, and a photograph before me shows him conducting an outdoor setting-up drill with his boys before breakfast.
The educational value of sport is emphasized more than play for the sake of playing. In schools where there are near-by waterways, the boys devote a great deal of time to rowing. ‘In fact, there is more rowing done in Germany than in England or the United States.’ This statement of Dr. Conradin Brinkmann, former Roosevelt exchange professor to this country, seems to be borne out by the official figures. In 1912, 351 schools in Germany went in for rowing, with 7300 rowers and 880 boats. To-day the main School Club, Wannsee, in Berlin, includes 36 clubs with nearly 1500 rowers and more than 200 boats. I went over some of these clubs with Dr. Brinkmann and was amazed at the extent of the equipment and interest in the sport. Since the war, rowing has received a check, owing to lack of funds to keep up the boats, clubhouses, and so forth, but by pooling their interests the clubs are still able to keep going. While rowing, like the other sports, is looked upon chiefly for its educational value and races are few, there is an annual regatta in which the different clubs take part.
From the account above given of the state-school system of Prussia and from the examples of a few of the private boarding schools, there would seem to be a double trend in education in Germany to-day. On the one hand, the state schools are chiefly interested in unifying and liberalizing education and in making it more accessible to greater numbers of the German people, in order that the best intellectual forces of Germany may be conserved for service to the State. On the other hand, the private and experimental schools are more concerned with changing the education process itself, to adapt it to the needs of the individual by providing the right milieu for the fullest and freest development of the creative faculties, and for the training of social and civic responsibility through the school community.
The above aims are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Rather do they denote a difference of emphasis. All classes in Germany believe in education, and it is generally realized that the future strength of the new Republic depends more on a sound system of education than on military force.
- The above figures are taken from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning, Bulletin No. 20, 1927, page 16.↩