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Schools and Universities in the German Democratic Republic, 1949 – 1989

Resource Type
  • Köhler, Helmut
  • Rochow, Thomas
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    The Study’s context With the publication of this data manual on education in the former GDR, the publication series of data manuals on German Education History, funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) since 1987, is continued. Koehler’s and Rochow’s volume to the education system of the former GDR follows up in a temporal perspective on the following data manuals of: - Müller und Zymek über die mittleren und höheren Schulen im Deutschen Reich zwischen 1800 und 1945 ( Data manual on lower and upper secondary schools of the German Empire between 1800 and 1945), (GESIS-Study-no.: ZA8240) and - Titze über das Hochschulstudium in Preußen und Deutschland von 1820 bis 1944 (Academic studies in Prussia and Germany between 1820 and 1944) (GESIS-Study-no: ZA8142). Koehler’s and Rochow’s data compilation supplements the Data Manuals on the development of schools and universities in the Federal Republic of Germany of Peter Lundgreen: - Köhler, Helmut; Lundgreen, Peter (2014), Allgemeinbildende Schulen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1949 – 2010. ( Schools of general education in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949 – 2010)(GESIS-Study-no: ZA8570); - Lundgreen, Peter; Scheunemann, Jana (2008 ), Berufliche Schulen und Hochschulen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1949-2001 Teil I: Berufliche Schulen. (Vocational Schools and Universities in the Federal Republic of Germany. Part I: Vocational Schools)(GESIS-Study-no: ZA8201) - Lundgreen, Peter; Schwibbe, Gudrun (2008 ), Berufliche Schulen und Hochschulen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1949-2001 Teil II: Hochschulen. (Vocational Schools and Universities in the Federal Republic of Germany. Part II: Universities) (GESIS-Study-no: ZA8202) All these studies’ data have been archived under the Study-number mentioned in the brackets and the data are free of access via GESIS-data archive in Cologne. The data can be downloaded via the Online-Database HISTAT ( under the subject ‘Bildung’ (Education). Subject of the Study The whole educational system of the former GDR is described statistically. Because the public access to educational statistics in the GDR was restricted to the information given by the Statistical Yearbook of the GDR, the data compilation of Koehler and Rochow is a documentation of not yet published data, which are partly discoverable only in archives. The compilation focuses on a general government perspective. The whole educational system, from pre-school education up to advanced education in the GDR, has considered by the authors. With the founding of the two German states, GDR and FRG, the development of the educational history followed two different ways until 1990, the year of reunification. The educational system of the former GDR underwent a break with some of the central characteristics of the traditional German Educational System’s Structure. Vertical institutional differentiations as well as regional characteristics of the educational system have been dissolved in the centralized GDR-System. A consistent opening and access of educational institutions should eliminate previously existing educational privileges of the upper classes. For this purpose, a unified school system should be established, which is open for all students, regardless of their regional and social origin, offering equal access and educational opportunities from primary school to university. Koehler and Rochow enrich ther Data manual by explaining the political and social contexts of the statistical collection in a detailed preceding text part. The break with dominant features of the German educational system leads to a different composition and structure of the data manual on the GDR. The division of general education into lower and higher school types was replaced by a sequence broken down by grade levels. The development of general education in the GDR is closely linked to other parts of the educational system, such as the Pre-school field and aspects of non-formal education. Vocational education and advanced education have added the system of education in the GDR. Specialized schools and universities were linked by the authorization system and the registration rules closely with the school system. The detachment of technical schools from the field of vocational schools and their development into an educational institution oriented at university level justifies the common statistical treatment of technical schools and universities. The educational system of the GDR was geared to the needs of the GDR’s employment system and because of the planned economy system and the agreements between educational and occupational system the educational system was subject to political interference and control. The compiled statistics begin first at the state level, then the representation at the country level follows and finally the document at the district level is offered. The first part of the manuals data tables deals with information on general schools. First, basic data are compiled for the development of school types. Then special data tables on the development of various types of schools follow. In a second part data on pre-school education and day-care centres are shown. The third part deals with data on the academic and vocational education and training. Finally, the development of colleges and universities is statistically reproduced in the fourth part. Datatables in HISTAT (Thema: Bildung (Education)): 1. Allgemeinbildende Schulen der DDR 1.1 Übersichtstabellen 1.2 Grund- und Mittelschulen bzw. Polytechnische Oberschulen (POS) 1.3 Oberschulen bzw. Erweiterte Oberschulen 1.4 Sonderschulen 1.5 Spezialschulen 1.6 Kinder- und Jugendsportschulen 2. Vorschulen und Einrichtungen der Tageserziehung der DDR 3. Berufliche Bildung und Weiterbildung der DDR 3.1 Schulische und betriebliche Berufsausbildung 3.2 Weiterbildung 4. Fachschulen und Hochschulen der DDR 4.1 Fachschulen 4.2 Hochschulen 5. Daten des Bildungssystems für die Länder bzw. Regionen der DDR 6. Daten des Bildungssystems für die Bezirke der DDR (CD-Rom) 6.1. Grund- und Mittelschulen 6.2 Oberschulen 7. Zusätzliche Informationen zum Bildungssystem der DDR 7.1 Bevölkerung und Jugendorganisation 7.2 Die POS 7.3 Die EOS
Temporal Coverage
  • 1949 / 1989
Geographic Coverage
  • German Democratic Republic (1949-1990) (DDDE)
Collection Mode
Data and File Information
  • Number of Variables: 8133
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8381 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • 1 (Type: VerbundFDB)
  • Köhler, Helmut/ Rochow, Thomas: 2008: Datenhandbuch zur deutschen Bildungsgeschichte Ban IX: Schulen und Hochschulen in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik 1949-1989. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck&Ruprecht.

Update Metadata: 2019-04-27 | Issue Number: 5 | Registration Date: 2014-12-15

Köhler, Helmut; Rochow, Thomas (2014): Schulen und Hochschulen in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1949 - 1989. Version: 1.0.0. GESIS Datenarchiv. Dataset.