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Recommendations for Merging the Two Education Systems (September 26, 1990)

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Within the framework of the Education Commission, recommendations for a legal reorganization of vocational training assistance in the GDR have been drafted. On the basis of these recommendations, Appendices I and II of the Unification Treaty stipulate how the Federal Education and Training Assistance Act [BAföG] will be amended before it takes effect in the newly formed federal states on the territory of the present-day GDR on January 1, 1991, and they [also] stipulate which of the former GDR regulations on financial assistance for students will remain in effect up until then.

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4. The Commission believes that the Unification Treaty will open up important opportunities for individual areas of the education system in the new federal states.

Regulations that are necessary within the scope of the reorganization of the school system, including transition regulations, are to be drawn up by the five new federal states. The necessary regulations for recognizing degrees based on school law will be agreed upon by the Conference of Ministers. Both cases are based on the Hamburg Agreement and other relevant agreements by the Conference of Ministers.

In the area of vocational training, it is essential that training leading to qualifications be guaranteed for all young people, thus promoting and ensuring their competitiveness on the labor market. Companies, the appropriate government offices, and sponsors of other educational facilities should develop and offer corresponding programs for further vocational education for young adults who completed their training under the system of skilled craftsmen’s trades in the German Democratic Republic, and who also want to acquire qualifications in a related skilled vocation recognized by the Vocational Training Act or the Crafts and Trade Code.

In the area of higher education, it is most important that the freedom and plurality of teaching and research be reinstituted. The most important prerequisites to this end are university autonomy, the ongoing expansion of access to study and academic work, and greater independence and self-reliance for university instructors, researchers, and students. University research needs to be strengthened.

Democracy and the social market economy necessitate continuing education on a totally new scale in the acceding federal states. This is the instrument needed to give many people, as quickly as possible, the information they need to actively shape the new social and economic order. Continuing education initiatives must facilitate mutual familiarity [between Germans in East and West], and they must make it possible to shape the future together in a unified Germany.

The Unification Treaty provides for the incorporation of the five new federal states into the joint educational planning and research promotion of the federal government and the federal states. The federal and regional governments are to quickly pass the corresponding agreements pursuant to Article 91b of the Basic Law.

5. The federal government and the federal states of the Federal Republic will support the new federal states in their efforts to reform education and research, establish the administrations in the new federal states, and execute administrative decisions.

In conclusion, the Joint Education Commission noted that in its short period of activity, important prerequisites and orientation guidelines for merging the two education systems have already been drawn up. It has thus succeeded in making a contribution to the unification process. As future joint bodies, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs [KMK] and the Federal-State Commission for Educational Planning and Research Promotion [FLK] are called upon to continue working toward a joint education system.

Source: Joint Education Commission, “Ergebnisse der dritten und abschließenden Sitzung vom 26. September 1990” [“Joint Education Commission Results of the Third and Final Session of September 26, 1990”], BMBW Presseinformation, no. 143/90, September 26, 1990.

Translation: Allison Brown

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