Rights of School Age Children in Germany

Over the years, I have been questioned about several issues related to minors’ rights in Germany by ex-pat parents and students alike.

Here is a short summary:

  • Germany has a compulsory school attendance law, which requires all children between the ages of six to fifteen to attend school.
  • Germany is a member of the Global Conventions Act, that protect the rights of children. This entitles them to a childhood free of emotional, mental, and physical abuse. *
  • Children under 15 may not be employed. Exceptions are made for minor jobs such as newspaper delivery routes, babysitting, taking care of pets, or other tasks which are not dangerous.
  • At the age of 14, when in presence of parents or guardians, minors are allowed to consumer beer and wine.
  • At the age of 16, minors are allowed to buy and consume beer and wine.
  • At the age of 18, they are of legal age. Therefore, they can buy and consumer beer, wine, and distilled liquor.

*More about this at Children’s Rights: Germany

Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. My blog Pension Sprachschule assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the service.

The Migration of Higher Education

The article Higher Education amid Financial Meltdown on today’s University World News points to some interesting facts, such as the expected drop in U.K. university applications, the migration of U.K. students to apply elsewhere, and the effect of the overall transnational academic mobility and migration.

Our son, a senior at Frankfurt International School, has applied to five universities in the U.K. And yes, starting university autumn 2012, we have to pay  £9,000 (US$ 14,200) in annual tuition fees.

Just like many other parents, we will be sitting here wondering if and how many colleges will accept him. Additionally, the criterion of getting accepted has been made more difficult by raising the International Baccalaureate (IB) points.

On the other hand, applications by U.K. born-students  have dropped 15.1% due to the increase in tuition fees.

I can foresee a great shift in academic education around Europe. Mobility in academics, among an increasing competitiveness, might just become the norm.

FIS Radio Broadcast at Hessentag

Frankfurt International School (FIS) Radio, that is Noel, Nicki, Rebekka, Gery, Karl, Justin and Marco, would like to invite you to their radio broadcast on the Hessentag radio station on:

Thursday, 16 June, from 14:00 – 15:00.

They have interesting things in store for you: good music, reports, as well as interviews with teachers and students.
You can listen to the broadcast at UKW 96.1 FM or via live stream at hessentagsradio.


With everything Japan has to battle right now – the sea quake, tidal wave, a possible nuclear fall-out as well as warnings about a volcanic eruption on Kyushu – I wonder how much a nation can take.

View onto Wakato Hashi and Dokay Bay in Kitakyushu, Japan

From Facebook I have learned of siblings gone missing, such as former Frankfurt International School (FIS) students. My thoughts are with all the Japanese families who have come through Oberursel and FIS. I have heard from one former adult student that she is safe and both her college-age children have decided to leave Tokyo and return home to Aichi prefecture for now.

Another former FIS student and her family are still looking for the brother, gone missing in Sendai.

So many lives have been touched and/or come undone in this disaster-stricken time.

My first thought immediately went to late January 1995, the time after the Great Hanshin Earthquake (a.k.a. the Kobe earthquake). While holding our one-year old in my arms, I watched the NHK channel run lists of people who had perished in the big earthquake. I often saw the same name mentioned five, six, seven times in a row. The age given behind each name was conclusive enough to see that in each case, two or three generations of one single family had been wiped out.

In Kitakyushu, we had felt only a very slight tremor. But so many Kyushu residents had family, or friends, or somebody gone missing in and around Kobe.

My thoughts are with you, the people of Japan.

Sailing and Lesson Plans

Nadine Slavinski, a long time friend of mine and the author of several books, has just published a new title. Her latest book Lesson Plans Ahoy! is for sailing families who want to undertake educational activities with their children – but the practical, hands-on units she describes can be applied to many other contexts. It’s really about learning outside the classroom and in the real world.

Nadine writes:

Lesson Plans Ahoy! is a resource for sailing families heading out on a short cruise, an ocean crossing, or a year of home schooling. The book includes detailed instructions for six units in Science, Math, History, and Physical Education; all are designed to be fun, practical, and relevant to sailing children. Dissect a fish, graph resource use, and even exercise on board – have fun while learning! What were the consequences of Columbus’ “discovery” of America?  Why isn’t there a lunar eclipse every month? All units include tips on how to adapt the lessons to each child’s own level through a section called Age-Appropriate Adaptations.

My website, www.sailkidsed.net, lists many free resources for families interested in education, including recommended books and educational projects described online, as well as tips from families who home school their children aboard boats. Reviews of my book and links to recently published articles can also be found on the website.

Nadine is a sailor, teacher, and parent. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University and she has been teaching in international schools since 1996. A lifelong sailor, she took a 10,000 mile, year-long sailing sabbatical with her husband and four-year-old son. On their 35-foot sailboat, the family explored the Mediterranean, crossed the Atlantic, cruised the Caribbean, and sailed on to home waters in Maine.

More on Lesson Plans Ahoy!: Hands-on learning for sailing children and home schooling sailors (where a “Look Inside” feature allows browsing) from Amazon.com.

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