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Education Reform: 16 States, 16 Systems – Handelsblatt Global Edition

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“We don’t want to end up in the museum of technology. We want to lead the way,” Angela Merkel said in the last German parliamentary session before this month’s elections. All political parties agree that education is crucial in maintaining the country’s top rank in engineering and research.
But science and tech courses in Germany are hindered by a highly decentralized education system. For years, Jürgen Petzoldt, professor of electrical engineering at Ilmenau’s technical university, has measured the practical skills of incoming science students against their grades in the Abitur, the certificate earned by the top one-third of Germany’s secondary students.
The results show a startling lack of consistency. Not only do many top students know very little science, said Mr. Petzoldt, there are also major regional discrepancies. “In states where the emphasis is on science, the results are better,” he said. To boost science education, the professor wants to tilt the Abitur toward a more “unified educational culture.”
Responsibility for Germany’s education system is split mainly between its 16 Länder (states) and local governments. The federal government has precious little influence, thanks to a postwar law designed to prevent the rise of a totalitarian, Nazi-style school system. A constitutional amendment in 2006 reinforced that federalist principle. This means Germany effectively has 16 different school systems, one for each state.
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Ahead of this month’s national election, all parties other than Ms. Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) proposed changes to the law, arguing that modern education requires some degree of centralization. But try getting that past the states’ education ministers. “It doesn’t make sense to hand over responsibilities to the federal government,” says Susanne Eisenmann, education minister of Baden-Württemberg. So far, the states are prepared to give way only on one count, by allowing Berlin to pay for badly needed school repairs, especially in poorer regions. State development bank KfW estimates no less than €34 billion ($41 billion) is needed to upgrade schools across the country.
For the Abitur, decentralization adds up to serious discrepancies among students’ grades. Average grades in the state of Thuringia are considerably higher than in neighboring Lower Saxony, for example. Because nearly half of all university admissions depend on grades, the state where students take their Abitur can influence their prospects, sometimes dramatically.
Families that move between states also feel the effects, as pupils often find things don’t match up. For example, some states have a nine-year Abitur program, but others require just eight years. Or a child may have attended a type of school which simply doesn’t exist in another state. “We see how difficult it is to integrate children coming from other states,” says Heinz-Peter Meidinger, president of the German Teachers’ Association. Given the constitutional restrictions, he thinks a new agreement among states is the only way to improve integration.
Ms. Eisenmann in Baden-Württemberg agrees, but adds that kids’ school experience should still reflect key regional differences. According to Ludger Wößmann, head of Munich’s ifo Center for the Economics of Education Center, that’s not good enough. Excessive state autonomy is “absolutely senseless” when it creates problems for children, he said, adding that the basic school curriculum in Germany should be similar, regardless of where a child lives.
Mr. Wößmann’s testing shows that children from the worst-performing states can lag almost a year behind their peers elsewhere. “Giving every child the same chances is a national task, to some degree,” he said. Ms. Eisenmann laments the quality discrepancies and is calling for more cooperation among the states’ educational bodies.
Cooperation, unfortunately, tends not to work. Years ago, state educators agreed to set common achievement benchmarks for children of various ages. There were also measures to align different versions of the Abitur. An “assignment pool” was drawn up so teachers in different states could more easily find educational materials for math and languages. But the scheme is voluntary, with states able to use as much material as they want – or none. With no central grading system, inequalities are bound to creep in. “The assignment pool is not transparent, and few people have used it so far,” says Mr. Wößmann.
A few years ago Mr. Wößmann put forward proposals for a “core Abitur” with common written exams across the country in German, math and English, allowing for direct comparisons. The Abitur wouldn’t be identical across state lines, since exams form only part of students’ grades. But the written exam results are meant to be published separately, in the hope of putting political pressure on states with poor results.
Why is a standardized approach so tough to sell? “Maybe because there are states which don’t want to see a drop-off of their own quality,” says Ms. Eisenmann. “Standardization often leads to a leveling down for high-performing schools and pupils.”
For Mr. Wößmann, that’s a sobering thought. As long as results aren’t comparable, a federalized education system can never really benefit from competition to implement the best ideas.
 
Stefani Hergert reports on education for Handelsblatt. Jeremy Gray adapted this story for Handelsblatt Global. To contact the author: [email protected]

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Top 5 Best Facebook Video Downloader for Android.

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You can download videos from Facebook with different video downloaders. You can use a computer or laptop to download the video. All you have to do is enter the link, which will download. A robust Facebook video downloader is required for android phones and tablets.

Facebook Video Downloader

You will also find many Facebook video downloading apps for Android devices, just like you can download Facebook videos to your desktop computer or laptop. The video downloader android will allow you to instantly download any Facebook video from your Android smartphone or tablet.

This Facebook guide will share the top and most downloaded Facebook video downloaders for Android.

Top 5 Android Facebook Video Downloaders

You can download any Facebook video using some Facebook video downloader apps. This guide is for those searching the internet for “how to download Facebook video on android” or “what’s the best Facebook video downloader to download Facebook videos”.

Let’s look at these top 5 best Facebook video downloaders for Android and reap the benefits of a free download of Facebook video.

(1) MyVideoDownloader for Facebook

MyVideodownloader for Facebook makes it easy to download Facebook videos. This android video downloader is compatible with all android smartphones and tablets. The best quality video downloads will be available because Myvideodownlaoder for Facebook can download all videos high definition.

Just download the MyVideoDownloader app for Android and log in to Facebook. After logging in, you can download any video you wish to save to your phone.

(2) Video Downloader for Facebook

This is an android video downloader that’s free. With a Video downloader for Facebook, you can instantly download all the videos that you want. The video downloader for Android is easy to use.

This app allows you to download videos uploaded by you and those that have been tagged and uploaded by friends. This app also has a section for funny and crazy videos you can download to your mobile phone.

(3) VideoDownloader for Facebook

video downloader is an android video downloader that can also play Facebook videos. This app allows you to view all videos in your profile and then download them. You can search for a video using the keywords you use. Videos posted to Facebook pages and groups can be downloaded.

This video downloader also allows you to upload videos to Facebook. You can download the Facebook video downloader for free from Google Play Store.

(4) Video Download to Facebook

Video Download for Facebook has over 100 000 downloads. This app will show you how to download Facebook videos to your android phone. Video downloader saves all videos from Facebook to its servers. Then you can download them to your phone at the fastest possible downloading speeds.

The Video Download for the Facebook app has an attractive interface that makes it easy to use. Just add the URL to the video and click the Download button.

(5) Video Downloader

Video Downloader by fnxApps is last but not least. Download Facebook video downloader free of cost from the Google Play Store. The video downloader works in the same way as other video downloaders. Just one click is all it takes to download the Facebook videos.

All videos downloaded with this downloader are saved directly to the SD card. Using the sharing options, you can share the videos you have downloaded with friends.

Conclusion

These are the top five Facebook video downloaders to download Facebook videos to your Android tablet or smartphone. You don’t need to use your laptop or computer to download your favourite videos from Facebook.

Many other android apps can be used to download videos from Facebook. Please let us know if you have any suggestions.

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