Post 5: Nordrhein-Westfalen

Unlike both France and Bavaria, the folks at the Ministry of Culture for North Rhineland-Westphalia were more immediately able and willing to provide guidance on the location of materials, curricula and lessons. In an unsurprising turn of events, this made information easier to find, and indicated further to me the materials that needed to be examined in order to understand what the government wants its students to learn. Specifically, this refers to mandated curriculum, but also the official textbooks, the provided material, and ultimately the national exams for which all the student’s education is preparing for. These exams perhaps best indicated the interests of the Federal Government of Germany, as these exams are administered nationally and are supposed to be uniform across the country. However, how exactly these tests are prepared for in the Lander is what is different between lander, and how much support teachers have across lander.

Similarly to Bavaria, the topic of Political Education is divided across several other subjects. There is the main section of Political Education, which is focused in Social Studies, but is also relevant in the subjects of Geography, History, and Economics. The official curricula of these subjects mandates learning about Europe and the European Union, though certainly in different amounts. Most of the Citizenship education about European Union in contained within Social Studies but is also prevalent in History and Economics, while geography includes the EU the least, as it is only referenced in a very limited fashion. Such references were in the competence expectations, where, particularly in secondary education, the government expected “the students… to explain the European Integration process in the context of the discussion of national and supranational interests and responsibilities”[1] and, in the judicial competences “the students… can discuss the connection between Germany, Europe and world politics in the context of German reunification … can assess the opportunities and risks of the European Integration process in its historical dimension and from the current perspective”.[2] Interestingly, Economics, in the Gymnasium, discusses the European Union and its practical effects most of the other subjects, besides social studies, and describes its section on the European Union as

“This content area deals with the central role of the European Union in securing peace and stability in Europe and the current opportunities and freedoms of EU citizens. The goal is a basic understanding of structures and processes of policy-making at European level and the opportunities and challenges of a common internal market and the monetary union and their importance for both everyday life and social,

economic and political life in Germany. This allows an assessment the importance of developing a European identity as a basis of legitimacy the process of unification of economic and political union.”[3]

The Mandate competences similarly include “The European Union as an economic and political community … Europe as a community of values… Institutions of the European Union… Fundamentals of the EU Internal market…. Basic features of the European Monetary Union”[4] amongst many other competences involving the EU. This perhaps indicates how integrated into the EU Germany is, as huge segments of the Economy class are dedicated to the involvement that Germany has in the EU and the influence that the EU has on Germany.

Similarly, the State Government has subdivided the official curriculum and its content fields into the different school types, with some differences between the schools. Specifically, the curriculum sees some changes between the Gymnasium, Hauptschule, Gesamtschule, Realschile, and Gynasiale Oberstufe. However, much of the mandated materials are still in the curricula. However, it more accurately illustrates when the topics on Europe enter the student’s education, which tended to be later. For the most part, Europe as a topic appeared at the earliest in the 7th year, but most of the information was taught to the students during the 9th and 10th years of education. This points to Europe and European Topics occupying a later part of the curriculum, when students are perhaps more knowledgeable and developed mentally.

Most interestingly in this Lander was their material database, which itself was most a series of links to other materials, created or provided for free or with a paid service, by private education companies or non-profits interested in education. Though these databases covered, for the most part, all subjects and all levels, they showed what materials were considered acceptable for use by students by the administration of the Lander. Unfortunately, as of this time, I found the database difficult to decipher, and will have to approach it again later.

Most significantly, however, to understanding how the national government wants students to understand the European Union are how the students are tested. North Rhineland-Westphalia has the exam parameters and content fields for 2019, 2020, and 2021, which illustrate what the state expects students to know and understand at the end of their mandated public education. Notably, the Social Studies, History/Social Sciences, and Economics examinations have dedicated sections and topics relating to the European Union. The Social Studies Exam had the clearest exam of this, as the fifth content field of the exam was “The European Union”, with subsections on “EU norms, intervention and regulation mechanisms as well as institutions”, “Historical development of the Eu as an economic and political union”, “European Internal Market”, and “European Integration Models”[5], amongst others, including current issues and crises for the European Union. Similar Content fields existed inside of History (“The Development of European Integration after the Second World War”[6]) and Economics (“European Internal Market and Monetary Stability…Economic Institutions of the EU and their normative and regulatory mechanisms”[7]). These exam requirements also illustrated what types of questions were going to be asked, exemplified by this question in the Social Sciences Examination:

“Example: speech

Theme: The Future of the EU in a Globalized World – Further Development guided by “reason and feeling”?

  1. a) Analyze the text in terms of the position and reasoning of the Speakers on challenges to the further development of the European Union (EU). (30 points)
  2. b) Arrange the speaker’s statements in the range of models of European Integration. (16 points)
  3. Establish three central points of the previous European integration process. (24 points)
  4. Make a speech as a guest of the event “Europa-Rede”

Answer to Jean-Claude Juncker. Refer to two aspects of Juncker’s vision of Europe and make your own proposal for further development of the EU, which refers to the “problems associated with Globalization […] “. (30 points)”[8]

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This question, and the other questions similar to it, encourages students to think critically about the institutions of the EU and requires them to have a significant understanding of the European Integration process, along with current problems and issues of the EU. Ultimately, this indicates that the State of North Rhineland-Westphalia is interested in Europe and the European Union being well understood and considered equally among other topics in the political education curriculum.

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[1] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Ministerium Für Schule Und Weiterbildung Des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Statsinstitut Für Schulqualität Und Bildungsforschung. Kernlehrplan Für Das Gymnasium – Sekundarstufe I (G8) in Nordrhein-Westfalen: Geschichte. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. Accessed July 15, 2019. https://www.schulentwicklung.nrw.de/lehrplaene/lehrplan/156/gym8_geschichte.pdf. 38.

[2] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Ministerium Für Schule Und Weiterbildung Des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Statsinstitut Für Schulqualität Und Bildungsforschung. Kernlehrplan Für Das Gymnasium – Sekundarstufe I (G8) in Nordrhein-Westfalen: Geschichte. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. Accessed July 15, 2019. https://www.schulentwicklung.nrw.de/lehrplaene/lehrplan/156/gym8_geschichte.pdf. 39.

[3] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur. Landesinstitut Für Schule. Kernlehrplan Für Die Sekundarstufe I: Gymnasium in Nordrhein-Westfalen: Wirtschaft-Politik. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. Accessed July 18, 2019. https://www.schulentwicklung.nrw.de/lehrplaene/lehrplan/215/3429_Wirtschaft-Politik.pdf. 16.

[4] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur. Landesinstitut Für Schule. Kernlehrplan Für Die Sekundarstufe I: Gymnasium in Nordrhein-Westfalen: Wirtschaft-Politik. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. Accessed July 18, 2019. https://www.schulentwicklung.nrw.de/lehrplaene/lehrplan/215/3429_Wirtschaft-Politik.pdf. 34.

[5] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Ministerium Für Schule Und Weiterbildung Des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Landesinstitut Für Schule. Zentralabitur 2019 – Sozialwissenschaften. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. 1-4.

[6] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Ministerium Für Schule Und Weiterbildung Des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Landesinstitut Für Schule. Zentralabitur 2019 – Geschichte/Sozialwissenschaften. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. 1-5.

[7] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Ministerium Für Schule Und Weiterbildung Des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Landesinstitut Für Schule. Zentralabitur 2019 – Volkswirtschaftslehre. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. 1-4.

[8] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Ministerium Für Schule Und Weiterbildung Des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Landesinstitut Für Schule. Abiturprüfung Auf Basis Der Kernlehrpläne– Beispielaufgabe – Sozialwissenschaften, Leistungskurs. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. Accessed July 15, 2019. https://www.standardsicherung.schulministerium.nrw.de/cms/zentralabitur-gost/faecher/getfile.php?file=4934. 1.

[9] Nordrhein-Westfalen. Ministerium Für Schule Und Weiterbildung Des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Landesinstitut Für Schule. Abiturprüfung Auf Basis Der Kernlehrpläne– Beispielaufgabe – Sozialwissenschaften, Leistungskurs. Soest: Qualitäts- Und UnterstützungsAgentur – Landesinstitut Für Schule, 2019. Accessed July 15, 2019. https://www.standardsicherung.schulministerium.nrw.de/cms/zentralabitur-gost/faecher/getfile.php?file=4934. 1.

[10] NRW, QUA-LiS. “Standardsicherung NRW – Zentrale Klausuren S II – Termine Für Die Durchführung Der Zentrale Klausuren Am Ende Der Einführungsphase Der Gymnasialen Oberstufe (ZKE).” Standardsicherung. Accessed July 18, 2019. https://www.standardsicherung.schulministerium.nrw.de/cms/zentrale-klausuren-s-ii/termine/.