Bernd Zymek

Demography, School Development, School Reform

What We can Know from German Educational History


free download


This article outlines relationships between population development and school development, drawing on selected topics from German educational and social history: Population development encompasses various processes that are often long-term and difficult to influence, such as birth trends, regional mobility, and migration. Their consequences, however, only become manifest in local contexts and, because of large regional differences, gave rise to a specific German strategy of school development. Whereas processes of demographic expansion were fundamental structural framework conditions in the political enforcement of the “tripartite school system”, its current dissolution is conditioned by processes of demographic contraction. Yet, in the historical process, school and university development was not only a dependent variable of demographic processes. Rather, educational processes also were a driving factor of demographic change.

demographic change, historical school development, school reform, regional mobility, educational expansion