The Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region has an excellent educational and vocational training landscape. Over the three states, the region has a diverse range of schools and insitutions of higher learning. And there are an increasing number of international schools in the region offering bilingual education. In Germany, there are numerous educational tracks, but the two main choices are either vocational dual system or university.
In addition to higher education at the university, Germany offers a unique dual system of occupational and vocational training. This form of education takes place in two locations - on the job as well as at the vocational school. Students typically spend 1-2 days in the vocational school and the rest of the week at the company. Depending on the occupation and the level of existing knowledge, the training lasts 2 to 3.5 years.
The training for many occupations is done through this dual vocational system. Roughly two-thirds of all young people in any given year opt for vocational training. Currently, about 1.5 million young people in Germany are enrolled in the system.
The instruction at the school is closely coordinated with that offered by the company, The vocational school is responsible for the general coursework and theory while the company handles the practical application. Both adhere to the same training requirements, The curriculum is real-world oriented and very practical. Both partners are committed to offering the young person a job at the company upon successful completion of the training.
A wide variety of training programs for more than 340 occupations is offered, including business, public administration, IT, health care, social services, agriculture, to skilled crafts, and many more.
At the end of the training period, the student must pass a final exam which is administered by the Chamber of Commerce or the Crafts Council. The quality of the training is often considered equivalent to a technical degree from the university in many other countries.
Students can choose from 22 different universities and technical colleges as well as numerous vocational schools throughout the region. The cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim are university strongholds which enjoy an excellent reputation both within Germany and internationally. The range of universities includes the unqiue Popakademie Mannhein for popular music, the University of Jewish Studies in Heidelberg, the elite DHV Speyer for civil servants, and the world's largest insitute for translators from the Mainz Univeristy in Germersheim. A full listing of universities in Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region can be found under www.m-r-n.com.
German universities are all in the midst of reform as required by the EU-mandated Bologna process. Among other things, this has meant that universities have introduced the internationally-recognized bachelors and masters degrees (replacing the Diplom) in all academic disciplines. At the same time, both the federal and state governments have increased funding to the universities.
All institutions welcome international students. While the standard working language is German, increasingly courses are being offered in English (although infrequently at the Bachelor degree level). University study in Rhineland-Palatinate, Hessen and Baden-Württemberg is tuition free for both German and international students. There are administrative charges that usually add up to at least 300 euros per semester, but this includes a discounted public transportation ticket.
Here is a general overview of the main educational institutions in Rhine-Neckar:
- Heidelberg University
- University of Mannheim
- University of Koblenz-Landau
- Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University
- Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen)
- Schiller International University
- Heidelberg International School
- International School Neustadt
- Metropolitan International School
- European School Karlsruhe