Compulsory Police-Enforced Schooling in Germany

Having done a bit more research for my previous post on university education in Germany, I came across the terms Bildungsfreiheit (freedom of education) and Schulzwang (“police-enforced” compulsory education), both in the same context, but what contradictory ideologies!

Germany is the only European country with police-enforced schooling. Any child between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school or he/she is breaking the law.

On one hand, Germany claims to be liberal by offering free education to all its citizens, but it also still forces its young citizens to attend school. If they don’t, the police force or any other authority may exercise their rights/power by coming to the child’s home to deliver the child to school in person.

Laws in education are in the hands of each German state. The city state of Hamburg adopted this law in 2005 after the death of a seven-year-old girl at home – a girl, who went unnoticed as she had never attended school and starved to death at the hands of her negligent and unfit parents. Adopting this law in 2005, which other states have had since 1938, is meant to prevent such cases in the future.

But strangely enough this rule is a discomforting relic from our very own past. This law was first initiated on 6 July 1938 under the term Reichsschulpflichtgesetz (Imperial schooling compulsion law) in the Nationalsozialismus. To ensure all children would get an education – and not being kept at home to do farm work – this law came into passing.

After 71 years we still have the same law and you might hear of a parent threatening their child by telling them to get out of bed or the police will come and pick them up. What a way to start your school day! It does not come a surprise then to hear some German school kids say that Schule ist blöd, die Lehrer sind doof und die Schüler haben null Bock. (School is stupid, the teachers are stupid and students are not motivated). Schooling is not seen as a privilege, but a burden for some.

Therefore, home schooling is not permissible as education lies in the hands of the government, making it a government-controlled issue… Again, this law wants to ensure that each child has to right to a free education, but at the same time it also remains control over the curriculum (in the old days it also included Nazi propaganda). Hence, most teachers at German public schools are still government employees in secure jobs. Propaganda, conservative teaching and a ministered curriculum would ensure children with a stable national mind – in the days of WW II.

It is time to teach our children education is a right and should not only seen as being entitled to free education. It should be viewed as a privilege,  not a police-controlled issue. Instead we should remind our children:

*You are lucky to be able to go to school

*You are lucky to be entitled to an education

*We are lucky as your seat in 7th grade Gymnasium costs the taxpayers about € 8000 a year but we DON’T have to pay it alone.

Getting a good education is the next best blessing to health and having a loving family.


  1. Kinderlehrer says


    You and your readers may be interested in finding out more about the state of home education in Germany at Educating Germany.



  1. […] sector, homeschooling is illegal in Germany. Attending school is not only compulsory, but also police-enforced, and therefore placing the sole control of education in the hands of the German government. If […]

  2. […] the right to choose from the many various forms of self-education. Additionally,  Germany’s Schulzwang (forced school attendance) is a ghastly reminder of a much needed educational […]

Speak Your Mind


Diese Webseite verwendet Cookies. Wenn Sie auf der Seite weitersurfen, stimmen Sie der Cookie-Nutzung zu. Mehr Informationen

Diese Webseite verwendet so genannte Cookies. Sie dienen dazu, unser Angebot nutzerfreundlicher, effektiver und sicherer zu machen. Cookies sind kleine Textdateien, die auf Ihrem Rechner abgelegt werden und die Ihr Browser speichert. Die meisten der von uns verwendeten Cookies sind so genannte "Session-Cookies". Sie werden nach Ende Ihres Besuchs automatisch gelöscht. Cookies richten auf Ihrem Rechner keinen Schaden an und enthalten keine Viren. Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Seite “Datenschutzerklärung”.