Gymnasium (school)

Gymnasium (school)

A gymnasium (pronounced with IPA2|ɡ- in several languages) is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word "γυμνάσιον" (gymnasion) was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual education of young men (see gymnasium (ancient Greece)). The latter meaning of intellectual education persisted in German and other languages, whereas in English the meaning of physical education was retained in the word gym. The gymnasium prepares pupils to enter a university for advanced academic study.

chool structure

In Germany, for instance, pupils study subjects like German, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography, biology, arts, music, physical education, religion, history and social sciences. They are also required to study at least two foreign languages. The usual combination is English and French, although many schools offer combining English or, in some cases, Latin, with another language, most often Latin, Spanish, Ancient Greek or Russian.

The number of years gymnasium consists of differs from state to state in Germany. It consists of seven years in Berlin and Brandenburg (primary school includes six years in both as opposed to four years in the rest of Germany) and newly eight in Bavaria, Hessen and Baden-Württemberg among others. While in Saxony and Thuringia pupils never were taught more than eight years in Gymnasium (by default), nearly all states are going to provide Abitur after 12 years in primary schools and Gymnasium. The Abitur exams which complete the Gymnasium education are centrally drafted and controlled ("Zentralabitur") in almost all German States.

In the Netherlands, gymnasium consists of six years, after 8 years of primary school, in which pupils study the same subjects as their German counterparts, with the addition of compulsory Ancient Greek, Latin and "KCV" ("Klassieke Culturele Vorming", Classical Cultural Education), history of the Ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature. The equivalent without classical languages is called "atheneum", and gives access to the same university studies (although some extra classes are needed when starting a study in classical languages or theology). All are government-funded. See VWO.

In Sweden, Denmark and Norway, gymnasium consists of three years, starting at age 16 after nine years of primary school. Both primary school and gymnasium are totally free of charge and financed by taxes.

In Austria, gymnasium consists of eight years. The usual combination is English, French and Latin, sometimes French can be swapped with another foreign language (like Spanish, Italian or Russian) or a more technical subject like Engineering drawing or further hours of biology, physics or chemistry.
Latin is almost obligatory, since it is a requirement for several studies in Austria. Also Ancient Greek is obligatory in some Austrian classes.

In Italy originally the Ginnasio indicated a typology of five-year junior high school (age 11 to 16) and preparing to the three year Liceo Classico (age 16 to 19), a high school focusing on classical studies and humanities. After the school reform that unificated the junior high school system, the term Ginnasio stayed to indicate the first two year of Liceo Classico, now five years long. Oddly enough, an Italian high school student who enrolls in Liceo Classico follows this study path: Quarta Ginnasio (gymnasium fourth year, age 14), Quinta Ginnasio (gymnasium fifth year, age 15), Prima Liceo (Liceo first year, age 16), Seconda Liceo (Liceo second year) and Terza Liceo (Liceo third). Some believe this still has some sense, since the two-year Ginnasio has a very different set of mind from the Liceo. Ginnasio students spend almost all their time studying Greek and Latin grammar, laying the bases for the "higher" and more complicated set of studies of the Liceo, such as Greek and Latin literature, Philosophy and History. Furthermore, Liceo includes some scientific subjects, which are completely absent in Ginnasio.

This meaning of a secondary school preparing for higher education at university in the German-speaking, the Nordic, the Benelux and the Baltic countries has been the same at least since the Protestant reformation in the 16th century. The first general system of schools which provided for the Gymnasia was that of Saxony, formulated in 1528. They are thus meant for the more academically-minded students, who are sifted out at about the age of 10–13. In addition to the usual curriculum, students of a gymnasium often study Latin and Ancient Greek.

Some gymnasiums provide general education, others have a specific focus. (This also differs from country to country.) The three traditional branches are:
*humanities education (specialising in Classical languages, such as Latin and Greek)
*modern languages (students are required to study at least three languages)
*mathematical-scientific education

Today, a number of other areas of specialization exist, such as gymnasiums specializing in economics, technology or domestic sciences.

In some countries, there is a notion of progymnasium, which is equivalent to beginning classes of the full gymnasium, with the rights to continue education in a gymnasium. Here, the prefix "pro" means "instead of".

Countries with gymnasium schools

*Argentina: Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires, 6 years; Rafael Hernández National College of La Plata, 5 years (formerly 6 years), after 7 years of primary school.
*Austria 8 years, after 4 years of primary school, or 4 years, after primary school and 4 years of Hauptschule, ends with Matura at the age of 18.
*Belarus.
*Brazil Humboldt Schule of São Paulo is a German School in São Paulo. There are more Gymnasiums in the country and some of them receive recurses from German Government.
*Bulgaria 5 years, after 7 years of primary school. Currently graduation after passing at least two Matriculation Examinations.
*Bosnia and Herzegovina (4 years, starting at age 14/15 after 9 years in elementary school, ends with Matura)
*Canada
*Croatia (4 years, starting at age 14/15 after 8 years in elementary school, ends with Matura)
*Cyprus 3 years, starting at age 12 and following 6 years of Elementary School. Compulsory for all students. Followed by the non-mandatory Lyceum (ages 15-18) for students with academic aspirations or TEL for students who prefer vocational training.
*Czech Republic (4 years starting at age 14/15; 6 years starting at age 12/13; 8 years starting at age 10/11; all of them end with a Maturita)
*Denmark 3 years (4 years for athletes who are part of the "Team Danmark" elite sports program, or musicians who have chosen "MGK" ("Musical Elementary Course")), usually starting after 10 or 11 years of primary school). This is more like a prep school or the first years of college than high school. Everyone is eligible to go to a US high school, but you have to be deemed competent to get into a gymnasium. (For more information, see "Gymnasium (Denmark)".) Gymnasium is also available in an intensive 2 year program leading to the "Højere Forberedelseseksamen" ("Higher Preparatory Exam").
*Estonia (3 years, after 9 years of primary school)
*Finland, "lukio" (educational language is finnish) or "gymnasium" (educational language is swedish) , 2.5-4 years (most students spend 3 years), after 9 years of primary school, starting usually at age 15/16, Abitur after passing the Matriculation Examination; not compulsory, entrance is competetive.
*Germany (formerly 8-9 years depending on the Bundesland - now being changed to 8 years nationwide, starting at 5th (at age 11) , Abitur in 12th or 13th grade); for more information, see Gymnasium (Germany).
*Greece 3 years, starting at age 12 after 6 years of Elementary School. Compulsory for all children, it is followed by the non-mandatory Lyceum (ages 15-18) for students with academic aspirations, or the Technical Vocational Educational School (TEE) for students who prefer vocational training.
*Hungary (4/6/8 years, starting after 8/6/4 years of primary school, ends with Matura), see Education in Hungary
*Iceland (usually 4 years, starting at age 15/16 after 10 years of elementary school, though 3 years can also be chosen. If chosen, students at Menntaskólinn Hraðbraut finish the school in 2 years.)
*Israel, five schools termed "gymnasium" located in Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion, Jerusalem and Haifa.
*Italy, "ginnasio" is the name of the two first years of Liceo Classico
*Liechtenstein (ends with Matura)
*Latvia (3 years, after 9 years of primary school)
*Lithuania (4 years, after 4 years of primary school and 4 years of secondary school)
*Luxembourg (usually 7 years, starting at age 12-13 after 6 years of primary school)
*Macedonia (4 years, starting at age 14 after 8 years in elementary school, ends with Matura)
*Montenegro (4 years, starting at age 14/15 after 8 years in elementary school, 3 years for those who went in the elementary for 9 years, ends with Matura)
*Netherlands (6 years, starting at age 11-13, after 8 years of primary school. Prepares for admission to University. Gymnasia in the Netherlands have compulsory classes in Ancient Greek and Latin; the same high level secondary school without the classical languages is called "Atheneum")
*Norway - the traditional but now discontinued gymnasium led to the completion of examen artium. This has now been succeeded by a 2, 3, or 4 year program ("videregående skole"), depending on course path taken, starting at the age of 15/16, culminating with an exam that qualifies for university matriculation ("studiekompetanse")
*Poland - 3 years, type of middle school, starting at age 13/14 and following 6 years of Elementary School. Compulsory for all students. Followed by the non-mandatory 3 years Liceum, 4 years technikum, or 2 or 3 years vocational technical school.
* Romania - 8 years, after 4 years of primary school, ends with BAC (bacalaureat) at the age of 18.
*Russia
**Imperial Russia: since 1726, 8 years since 1871. Women gymnasiums since 1862; 7 years + optional 8th for specialisation in pedagogy. Progymnasiums: equivalent to 4 first years of gymnasium.
**Russian Federation (?)
*Serbia (4 years, starting at age 14/15 after 8 years in elementary school, ends with Matura)
*Slovakia (4 years starting at age 14/15; 8 years starting at age 9/10; both end with a Maturita)
*Slovenia (4 years, starting at age 14/15, ends with Matura)
*South Africa (5 years, starting at age 13/14, at a secondary institution, after 7 years of primary school, ends with Matric)
*Sweden (3 years, starting at age 16 after 9 years of primary school)
*Switzerland (either 6 years after 6 years of primary school or 4 years after 6 years of primary school and 2-3 years of secondary school, ends with Matura)
*Ukraine (8 years, starting after 4 years of primary school)
*United Kingdom: historically, grammar schools have been the English equivalent of the gymnasium, selecting pupils on the basis of academic ability and educating them with the assumption that they would go on to study at a university; such schools were largely phased out under the Wilson and Heath governments, with less than 5% of pupils now attending grammar schools, and the UK now has no widespread equivalent of the gymnasium. The exception is Northern Ireland and parts of England including the counties of Kent and Lincolnshire which retained the system.
*United States
**Public school: As school districts continue to experiment with educational styles, the magnet school has become a popular type of high school. Boston Latin School and Central High School (Philadelphia) are both the oldest public schools in the country, and the oldest magnet schools. As the concept has not become entrenched in the various American educational systems, due partly to the federal, rather than unitary style of education in the US, the term may vary among states.
**Private school: The equivalent among private schools is the preparatory school.

Final degree

Depending on country, the final degree (if any) is called Abitur, Artium, Diploma, Matura, Maturita or Student and it usually opens the way to professional schools directly.However, these degrees are often not fully accredited internationally, and students willing to attend foreign university often have to submit to further exams to be permitted access to them. The final two or three years at a gymnasium can be seen as an equivalent to the first two years at college in the United States.Fact|date=April 2008

Relationship with other education facilities

In countries like Croatia, most university faculties only accept students from secondary schools that last four years (rather than three). This includes all Gymnasium students but only a part of vocational high schools, in effect making Gymnasium the preferred choice for all pupils aiming for university diplomas.

In Germany, other types of secondary school are called "Realschule, Hauptschule" and "Gesamtschule". These are attended by about two-thirds of the students and the first two are practically unknown in other parts of the world. A Gesamtschule largely corresponds to an American high school. However, it offers the same school leaving certificates as the other three types of German secondary schools—the "Hauptschulabschluss" (school leaving certificate of a Hauptschule after 9th Grade or in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia after 10th Grade), the "Realschulabschluss", also called" Mittlere Reife" (school leaving certificate of a Realschule after 10th Grade), and "Abitur," also called "Hochschulreife", after 12th Grade. Students who graduate from Hauptschule or Realschule may continue their schooling at a vocational school until they have full job qualifications. It is also possible to get an "erweiterter Realschulabschluss" after 10th grade that allows the students to continue their education at the "Oberstufe" of a gymnasium and get an Abitur. There are two types of vocational school in Germany. The "Berufsschule", a part time vocational school and a part of Germany's dual education system, and the "Berufsfachschule", a full time vocational school outside the dual education system. Both types of school are also part of Germany's secondary school system. Students who graduate from a vocational school and students who graduate with a good grade point average from a Realschule can continue their schooling at another type of German secondary school, the "Fachoberschule", a vocational high school. The school leaving exam of this type of school, the "Fachhochschulreife", enables the graduate to start studying at a Fachhochschule (polytechnic), and in Hesse also at a university within the state. Students who have graduated from vocational school and have been working in a job for at least three years can go to Berufsoberschule to get either a "Fachabitur" (meaning they may go to university, but they can only study the subjects belonging to the "branch" (economical, technical, social) they studied in at Berufschule.) after one year, or the normal "Abitur" (after two years), which gives them complete access to universities.

In Sweden, the term "gymnasium" was traditionally reserved for the theoretical education described above. However, due to the egalitarian strivings of post-war Sweden's social democratic governments, the term is today used for all kinds of secondary education, both theoretical and vocational.


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