Compulsory education

As compulsory education refers to the legal obligation for children above a certain age, for youth and adolescents up to a certain age to go to school. This must be implemented in the case of a minor, the school-age population by the guardian (usually the parents).

In most European countries there is no compulsory education, but education is compulsory or compulsory education, that is, the transmission of knowledge is tied for the child not to attend school ( compulsory education in the proper sense ). The How and Where of education is free and is not officially defined.


The Duchy of Pfalz- Zweibrücken led to Calvinism among the converted Johann I in 1592 as the first territory in the world of compulsory education for girls and boys a. In Norway, the elementary school system was created by a decree of 23 January 1739 which had to be modified, however, two years later.

Beginning of the 20th century were laws to compulsory education for all of Germany, Austria -Hungary and Scandinavia, France (since 1882). In the years of National Socialism an empire Compulsory Education Act 1938 was enacted. In England was the regulation of compulsory individual communities, reserved in the U.S. the individual states. The first country to legally regulated general compulsory education was Liechtenstein.

Compulsory education by country

Compulsory education in Germany

After starting in the 16th century ( Duchy of Pfalz- Zweibrücken in 1592, Strasbourg in 1598 ) the Compulsory education in the 17th century in Saxony- Gotha (1642 ), Braunschweig -Wolfenbüttel ( 1647) and England ( 1649) has been introduced. In the 18th century followed Prussia ( 1717). Most recently, Saxony 1835, compulsory education a, 1919, she was enshrined in the Weimar Constitution uniformly for all Germany.

In the German education system, compulsory education - because of cultural sovereignty - regulated in the various state constitutions.

The full-time compulsory education usually lasts until the end of the ninth school year, in some states until the conclusion of the 10th school year. The term school year is not to be confused with the grade. Skipped classes will be recognized, however, so that the full-time compulsory education still may end after grade 9 or 10. The compulsory vocational education starts after the full-time compulsory education.

Compulsory education extends mainly on three areas: attendance, enrollment and school choice.

Compulsory education in Austria

In Austria, a compulsory education is defined in the compulsory education law, which can be completed outside of schools. The compulsory education begins with the day following the completion of the sixth year of life September 1, lasts nine years and applies to all children who reside permanently in Austria.

The teaching requirement may be met by attending a public or publicly recognized school ( public school types that cover these nine years of compulsory schooling, compulsory schools are called ), and by participating in an equivalent instruction ( in private schools without public right at home lessons or in a school located abroad ). In Austria, a child can meet the compulsory education through participation in the domestic tuition, if this that at a suitable to meet the compulsory education school ( compulsory education ) is equivalent. Condition is like private schools without public's right to pass an externists exam at the end of each school year before a state commission, which has to examine whether the curriculum has been met. As in other countries that allow such possibilities - - For this reason, the compulsory education in Austria is also known as educational or teaching obligation referred.

The teaching requirements have already been to Austria and the under Habsburg rule countries by signing the " General Rules for the German normal, main and trivial schools in all Kayser Lichen Royal ancestral lands " generally introduced by Maria Theresa on December 6, 1774 (duration time: 6 years ). With the entry into force of the Imperial Primary Education Act in 1869, the compulsory education was extended from six to eight years.

There is also a second form of compulsory education, that apprenticeship / vocational school, which makes mandatory under the dual training the accompanying school. These schools are called compulsory vocational school and compulsory education extends to - depending on the profession - blockwise Absolvierungen of the course until the final exam.

Compulsory education in other countries

In Sweden, regular school attendance is mandatory, exceptions are possible under the law, but are granted only very restrictively.

In Turkey, compulsory education was introduced in 2012 until the completion of the 12th grade (before 8th grade ).

Consists in Switzerland (up to 2 cantons ), Denmark, France, Great Britain, Australia and the United States instead of compulsory education a compulsory education or compulsory education, which can be held by school and by home schooling or unschooling ( self-training ) is satisfied.

In France, on 28 March 1882, the " loi Ferry" (named after Jules Ferry ) a compulsory education ( "obligation scolaire " ) introduced for children aged 6 to 13. On August 13, 1936, this obligation was extended by one year in France by law. Means Ordonnance du 6 janvier 1959 ( Decree of 6 January 1959) was extended from Charles de Gaulle for a further two years. The decree threatened the reduction of family allowances, if such a requirement will be ignored. The extension is inspired by the plan Langevin - Wallon (June 1947) and the Congress of FEN in 1958.

Collects data on education compulsory in all countries of the world and published by UNESCO under its program Education for All (EFA ). Summary tables and reports on compulsory education and other educational indicators in international comparison can be found on the internet site of UNESCO (see links).


Private schools or church- offer an alternative to public school. Some of the private schools ( independent schools ) consciously focus on the use of alternative teaching principles such as Waldorf or Montessori education. Most independent schools charge a on paying school fees from parents because the state, these schools only partially funded.

Outside Germany, provides the so-called compulsory education, which is also with home schooling ( " homeschooling ", cf Ladenthin ) can be satisfied or unschooling, an alternative to compulsory education: she goes in a positive sense from an existing responsibility of parents and guardians.

International -known schools who reject compulsory attendance in class, Summerhill, founded by AS Neill education reformers in England and Sudbury schools (see also Democratic schools).