Terms A-Z

This glossary contains definitions of the terms from the topic areas Education, Science, Research and Innovation, and is regularly updated. The glossary terms are alphabetically ordered.

School types in Germany

General schools:
• "Adult education college" (Kolleg): Establishment where adults attend full-time classes to obtain the
... general higher education entrance qualification.
• "Comprehensive school" (Gesamtschule): Type of school at lower secondary level offering several courses of education leading to different qualifications. It either takes the form of a cooperative comprehensive school or an integrated comprehensive school. In the cooperative type, pupils are taught in classes grouped according to the different qualifications available, whilst in the integrated type, pupils are placed in courses according to level of proficiency in a number of core subjects, but taught together as a year group in all other subjects.
• "Evening grammar school" (Abendgymnasium): Establishment at which adults can attend evening classes to obtain the general higher education entrance qualification.
• "Evening intermediate school" (Abendrealschule): Establishment at which adults can attend evening classes to obtain an intermediate school leaving qualification.
• "Evening secondary general school" (Abendhauptschule): Establishment at which adults can attend evening classes to obtain a secondary general school leaving qualification.
• "Free Waldorf School" (Freie Waldorfschule): Privately maintained primary and secondary schools, which base their work on the ideological and educational ideas of Rudolf Steiner.
• "Grammar school" (Gymnasium): Type of school covering both lower and upper secondary level (years 5-13 or 5-12) and providing an in-depth general education aimed at the general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur).
• "Intermediate school" (Realschule): Type of school at lower secondary level, usually comprising years 5-10. Provides pupils with a more extensive general education and the opportunity to go on to courses at upper secondary level that lead to vocational or higher education entrance qualifications.
• "Primary school" (Grundschule): Compulsory school for all children from the age of 6. It comprises four years, except in Berlin and Brandenburg, where it covers six years.
• "Schools with different courses of education" (Schularten mit mehreren Bildungsgängen): A category used in school statistics which applies to types of school providing the courses of education otherwise offered by secondary general schools and intermediate schools. Outside statistics, schools with different courses of education also include comprehensive schools which additionally offer the grammar school course of education.
• "Secondary general school" (Hauptschule): Type of school at lower secondary level providing a basic general education, usually comprising years 5-9. Compulsory school, unless the pupil is attending a different type of secondary school.
• "Special needs school" (Förderschule): This type of school provides teaching and care for children who have physical or mental disabilities or are at social risk and cannot be taught successfully enough at mainstream schools. As a rule, special needs schools have the same educational mission as other general schools.

Vocational schools:
• "Full-time vocational school" (Berufsfachschule): Vocational school at upper secondary level offering a wide range of courses of varying duration. A full-time school, it prepares or trains students for a specific occupation at different levels of qualification.
• "Part-time vocational school" (Berufsschule): Vocational school at upper secondary level generally providing part-time instruction in general and vocational subjects to trainees receiving vocational education and training within the dual system.
• "Pre-vocational and basic vocational training year" (Berufsvorbereitungsjahr/Berufsgrundbildungsjahr): Pre-vocational and basic vocational training year refer to vocational education mostly in the form of full-time schooling which provides basic general knowledge and basic vocational knowledge relating to a certain occupational field.
• "Specialised grammar school" (Fachgymnasium): Type of school at upper secondary level offering a three-year course which includes both the general education subjects taught at upper grammar school level and career-oriented subjects, such as business and technology, but which also leads to the general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur).
• "Specialised upper secondary school" (Fachoberschule): Vocational school at upper secondary level providing two-year courses in various subject areas leading to the entrance qualification for universities of applied sciences. The first year consists of both practical training in the workplace and lessons, whilst the second year covers general and subject-specific lessons.
• "Specialized/vocational academy" (Fachakademie/Berufsakademie): Specialized/ vocational academies offer vocational education usually as preparation for an
upper-level career. An intermediate school certificate or a recognized equivalent is required for entry. Full-time attendance is for at least two years.
• "Trade and technical school" (Fachschule): Vocational school offering continuing vocational training courses of between one and three years which build on
initial vocational training and subsequent employment and lead to a further qualification in a profession.
• "Two-year full-time vocational school" (Berufsoberschule/Technische Oberschule): Vocational school at upper secondary level in a few Länder. Offers those who have completed vocational training in the dual system the opportunity to obtain a higher education entrance qualification.
• "Vocational extension school" (Berufsaufbauschule): Vocational extension schools are attended by young people who are undergoing or have completed vocational training or who are or have been employed. On successful completion, pupils earn a certificate equivalent to the intermediate school certificate
which qualifies them for entrance to trade and technical schools.


Science expenditure

Science expenditure covers expenditure on research and development (R&D) as well as expenditure on academic teaching and ... education and other related scientific and technological activities. The latter include, for example, scientific and technical information services, data collections for general purposes, studies on the feasibility of technical projects (feasibility studies for research projects, however, form part of R&D), and development of a basis for decision-making in politics and industry.



STEM is an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The term is used to describe these fields as ... interconnected and essential areas for education, research, and innovation. STEM subjects are critical to economic development and technological advancement in a society. STEM jobs are often well-paying and offer excellent career opportunities.