Thousands of students staged protests and marched across 40 cities in Germany last week, demanding smaller classes, more teachers and less exam pressure. The current three-tier school system, which streams pupils from the age of 10 and selects those who will go onto either vocational or grammar schools, was criticized for putting too much pressure on students. Those who do not get into grammar schools (Gymnasien), often struggle to obtain a position at university in later years (this being decided on the exam pupils take at 10). Students were demanding “self-organised learning” and an alternative to the intense school-leaving exam.

Some 10,000 students marched on Humboldt University in Berlin, occupying some of its buildings and draping banners in windows. The protests follow demonstrations by German students in October against the introduction of tuition fees. Many teachers empathised with students and supported their efforts, while others branded the protests as “truancy”.

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The Badger

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