1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 

  1. Terminology

The Basic Law (Grundgesetz) (1949 most recently amended in 2020) governs the education system at the Federal level and sets that the right to establish a private school must be guaranteed in its Article 7 (4) specifying however that “Private schools that serve as alternatives to state schools shall require the approval of the state and shall be subject to the laws of the Länder.”

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

Public schools

In the Federal Republic of Germany most schools in primary education (beginning at age 6 from grades 1 to 4, in Berlin and Brandenburg grades 1 to 6), are public schools. All children are obliged to attend primary school. Secondary education is characterized by division into various educational paths. Once pupils have completed compulsory schooling they move into upper secondary education. The type of school pupils entered depends on the qualifications and entitlements obtained at the end of lower secondary education.  General compulsory schooling begins for all children in the year in which they reach the age of six and involves nine years of full-time schooling.

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found. 

Non-state funded, state schools

No information was found.

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Private schools are those that are established and managed by non-state actors. The proportion of private students varies greatly across the Länder which have different laws.  Yet, at primary education level, private schools are the exception. They can only be established on very strict conditions (Art. 7, paragraph 5 of the Basic Law), i.e. when they serve a special pedagogical interest or upon parents’ request they need to be established as Gemeinschaftsschulen (non-denominational schools), denominational schools or schools pursuing a certain ideology and no public-sector primary school of that type exists locally. In almost all cases they are either denominational primary schools, Freie Waldorfschulen (Rudolf Steiner schools), reformist schools and schools with a bilingual and international profile or primary schools with an integrated boarding facility. .  The Waldorf schools  uses a special pedagogy and curriculum to educate pupils.

For secondary education, the law defines two forms of private schools, alternative schools (Ersatzschule) and supplementary schools (Ergänzungsschule). The former are an alternative to public schools, yet they cannot issue certificates unless they have been approved by the state in which case they can hold school-leaving examinations on their own responsibilitySubstitute /Alternative schools  can obtain state recognition if they are not inferior to public schools in terms of their objectives, staff, and facilities (see also Privatschulen in Deutschland – Fakten und Hintergründe 2020). Recognition requires several years of problem-free and successful operation and teaching and it is based on a comprehensive assessment. After having obtained state approval/recognition, the alternative school must apply the state regulations applicable to public schools with regard to admissions, and examinations for instance. In particular they should not encourage segregation according to parental resources.

Supplementary schools are private schools that offer an education that does not exist in the state system. The Ministry of Education can prohibit the operation of a supplementary school in order to protect students and the general public from danger or harm. These schools must not use a designation that could cause confusion with alternative/substitute schools.

Private schools include ecclesiastical or free church, Jewish, Islamic, or independent institutions with a Waldorf or other reform pedagogical orientation.  According to the Education in Germany 2020 report, the number of privately owned institutions has risen steadily, especially in West Germany. In 2018, student attending non-state educational institutions represented 8.3% of students enrolment in Germany in 509 general education schools - 8.9% in western Germany and 10.3% in eastern Germany.

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

Federal states provide subsidize  for private schools. Each federal state establishes specific regulations and requirements for non-public educational institutions to apply for public financial aid.  Financial contributions may be granted on monthly installments based on a per-pupil basis or by calculation based on the budget deficit of the individual school. Financial aid might be used for teachers' salaries, material expenses, infrastructure or other operational expenses according to the federal state regulations. State funded non-public schools are supervised by the competent educational authority and can be required to provide the information and evidence necessary for the grant and comply with additional requirements such as being organized as a not-for-profit institution and not charging fees. (Privatschulen in Deutschland – Fakten und Hintergründe 2020,) A huge number of Ersatzschulen (alternative schools) are maintained by the Catholic or Protestant churches, which fund their schools from their own means to the extent that sometimes little or no fees must be charged. The share of public funding in the overall financing of privately-maintained schools varies between the Länder, and also depends on the type of school (there are also numerous special provisions, for example for approved privately-maintained schools in contrast to recognised privately-maintained schools, for boarding schools and for church-run alternative schools).

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools


All children of school age residing in Germany have by law to attend a duly-certified school or be taught at home by a qualified teacher certified under the German system..  for 1) Pupils who are unlikely to be able to attend school for more than six weeks due to illness; Pupils who are unable to attend classes regularly and at least one day a week for a long period of time due to a long-term illness; and schoolgirls before and after childbirth The situation with respect  to the lack of legalization for homeschooling  has raised many concerns during the pandemic. In 2020 for instance a parent lobbying organization launched a petition to legalize homeschooling

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found on the existence of voucher schools in Germany.

  1. Governance and regulations

The Federal Republic of Germany is made up of 16 Länder: Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rhineland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thüringen. According to the 1949  Basic Law(Grundgesetz) (as lastly amended in 2020), the exercise of governmental powers and discharge of governmental functions are divided between the Federation and the Länder. Responsibility for the education system restss primarily with each Länder. The main legal provisions for the establishment of privately-maintained schools are the relevant provisions in the Education Acts and the special laws on privately-maintained schools, as well as financial aid regulations in the form of laws and regulations of the Länder. Standard framework conditions in the Länder are guaranteed by an Agreement on Private Schools (Vereinbarung über das Privatschulwesen) of August 1951 drawn up by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz – KMK). ). All private schools are subject to state supervision. School supervision extends to supervision of compliance with the approval and recognition requirements and other legal provisions applicable to private schools.

 The Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCE) sector is governed through the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and youth (BMFSFJ) and corresponding Länder-level ministries. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) steers national policy for VET and some aspects of tertiary education.  Higher education is under the responsibility of the Länder which specifically grant recognition to nonpublic institutions. The Federation and the Länder have agreed that non-public institutions are to be accredited by the Science Council

 In fact, the Länder have authority over the organization, planning, management and supervision of the entire school system. They also grant authorization and recognition to non-state educational institutions. With a view to coordinating cooperation in the areas of education and training, higher education and research, as well as cultural matters, the Länder established the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Ständige Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder) in 1948, which has served as a forum for cooperation ever since (as to its special status see chapter 2.7

Vision: Each Land has regulations on non-public providers atr each education level, therefore regulatory frameworks across the Länder. The Basic Law (Grundgesetz) (1949 most recently amended in 2020) guarantees the right to establish private schools.

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

Since 2013 in Germany, all children aged 1 and over have a legal right to education, early learning and care at a day nursery/preschool or with a childminder. Germany's federal states have invested heavily in the expansion of childcare for infants and school children. In Germany, most Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE) is provided by non-state actors mostly working  non-profits (96%) i.e. (Freie Träger der Jugendhilfe). Responsibility is decentralised to individual Länder, with each Land having its own legislation and administration. Private for-profit providers are  not entitled to receive public subsidies  and  there are no restrictions on the fees they charge. Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE) facilities are established and managed by various actors including denominational organizations, welfare organizations, parents’ cooperatives, non-denominational organizations, companies running services for their employees, and only a small share operates on a for-profit basis by private companies; different types of for-profit providers have been defined: quasi-public services, single services and chains. The regional distribution of the different types of providers does, however, vary across Germany in 2019, non-state daycare centers represented 67% of all facilities and 64% of child enrolment in daycare centers.


Registration and approval: According to the 1990 Social Code Child and Youth Assistance (as lastly amended in 2021), proprietors must apply for authorization at the competent authority in each Länder and comply with the legal and professional requirements for the operation of the institution to establish and operate a day care center facility,. According to the S﷟ocial Code Child and Youth Assistance (1990 as amended in 2021) institutions must provide information on the name and address of the institution, type and location of the institution, the number of places available, and the names and vocational training of the head and caregivers. ECCE centers must c﷟omply with space requirements, child-staff ratio, staff qualification, and standards relating to equipment, hygiene and safety.

Licence: Based on the 1990  Social Code Child and Youth Assistance upon fulfillment of the minimum requirements to obtain the operating licence, permits are issued for five years, after which proprietors can apply for renewal

Financial operation

Profit-making: The structure of services provided by Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE) is strictly regulated . Some Länder allows for facilities to be organized as non-profit or profit organizations, while others do not allow for-profit institutions. Although currently for-profit organizations are allowed in some Länder, ﷟Hr-profit providers were not permitted for a long time

Taxes and subsidies: Non-state institutions are eligible to receive subsidies for expansion of day-care facilities and for the appropriate personnel and material expenses for the day-to-day operation if they operate on a non-profit basis. The Childcare Funding Act (2008)  provides financial support to the Länder to expand ECEC provision to support the ECCE growth through investment programmes. From 1 August 2019, the Act on the Further Development of the Quality and Participation in Child Day Care exempts not only families receiving transfer payments, but also families with a low income from childcare contributions, for example if they receive a child supplement or housing benefit. The Länder can also use these funds for additional Länder-specific measures to relieve families of the fees. Maintaining bodies for child and youth welfare services from the private sector receive financial support from the Land as well as from the local authorities (Kommunen) to run day-care centres for children(e.g. for operating costs and investments).

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: The Länder develop their own curricula based on the national 2004 ﷟Common Framework of the Länder for early education in the early childhood sector  which specifies the basic notion and principles of the educational work in a day care center. It is the responsibility of each day care center to organize and develop their own educational plan but are free to organize their pedagogical concept.

Teaching profession: According to the Social Code Child and Youth Assistance (1990 as amended in 2021) caregivers and staff working at ECCE centers should have their personality, expertise and willingness to cooperate with guardians and other day-care workers. The teaching staff must meet minimum training requirements, pedagogical expertise . Centers must notify the competent authority of any changes or new staff recruitments and provide their professional qualifications. According to the Education in Germany 2020 report some Länder have included additional qualifications and training for ECCE workers.

Equitable access

Fee-setting:  The regulation of fees and contributions varies across the federal states, with some Länder allowing for parental contributions to public and non-state facilities. According to 2019 Good Daycare Facilities Act (Gute-KiTa-Gesetz) parental contributions are socially staggered nationwide and all child allowance and housing benefit recipients throughout Germany will be exempted from the fees. ECCE centers working for profit have the right to set their own fees.

Admission selection and processes: No information was found at the Federal level. The admission criteriaare set by the providers but municipalities are in charge of regulating the details of admission.

Policies for vulnerable groups: The federal government has enacted several initiatives to ensure that every family can afford childcare.  The Good Daycare Facilities Act (Gute-KiTa-Gesetz) wants to improve the quality of the child day care in Germany and parental contributions to ECCE must be staggered, and recipients of certain social supports must be exempted. Länders may decide how to use federal funds as they see fit; many have decide to use part of the money to reduce or even abolish parental contributions (OECD 2020).

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: According to the Social Code Child and Youth Assistance (1990 as amended in 2021), any  institution shall follow the principles of proper accounting and file management, draw up records of the facility's operation and its results, and ensure that the facility-related records be kept for at least five years.

Inspection: The Education System in the Federal Republic of Germany 2017/2018  sets that daycare centers for children established by local authorities or non-public bodies are subject to public supervision by the responsible bodies for the public child and youth welfare services in the Länder. According to the Social Code Child and Youth Assistance (1990 as amended in 2021), the competent authority shall verify whether the conditions for granting the permit continue to exist.

Child assessment: Direct assessments, narrative assessments, and/or observational tools are commonly used to monitor child learning and development.

Sanctions: According to the Social Code Child and Youth Assistance (1990), centers must notify the competent authority in the case of imminent closure of the facility. The Social Code Child and Youth Assistance (1990 as lastly amended in 2021) set that if the best interests of the child or young person in the nursing home are endangered and the caregiver is not willing or able to remediate, the permission must be withdrawn or revoked.


Registration and approval: At the Federal level, the 1949  Basic Law (Grundgesetz) (as lastly amended in 2020) set that the right to establish a private school must be guaranteed, but private schools require the state's approval and are subject to specific laws of each federal state (Länder). According to article 7(4) of the  Basic Law (Grundgesetz) (1949 as amended in 2020, “approval shall be given when private schools are not inferior to the state schools in terms of their educational aims, their facilities or the professional training of their teaching staff and when segregation of pupils according to the means of their parents will not be encouraged. Approval shall be withheld if the economic and legal position of the teaching staff is not adequately assured.” It further specifies,” a private elementary school shall be approved only if the education authority finds that it serves a special educational interest or if, on the application of parents or guardians, it is to be established as a denominational or interdenominational school or as a school based on a particular philosophy and no state elementary school of that type exists in the municipality.” Standard framework conditions in the Länder are guaranteed by an Agreement on Private Schools (Vereinbarung über das Privatschulwesen) of August 1951 drawn up by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz – KMK). In general, the establishment of a private elementary school may only be approved if either a special pedagogical interest is recognized, or at the request of legal guardians, a community, denominational or ideological school is to be set up and there is no public school of this type in the community.

Alternative schools (Ersatzschule) require  state approval with regulations that can differ across types and across Länder An alternative school (Ersatzschulen)  approval is to be granted subject to  (1) the equivalence of education aims; 2) the equivalence of teache training; is not inferior to publicly funded schools in terms of its teaching objectives and facilities, as well as in the scientific training of its teachers, (3) teachers economic and legal security and 4) does not imply segregation of pupils according to meanss. The Mecklenburg-West Pomerania Ordinance for Private Schools (2010 amended most recently in 2021) further specifies that an application for the establishment of an alternative school must contain: (1) information about the proprietor (physical person,  association or legal entity)  (2) the indication of the place where the school is to be built, (3) the indication of whether the operation of a boarding school is to be connected with the school, (4) the time of the intended start of teaching, (5) the designation of the head teacher and the teachers, stating their first and last name, date of birth and place of birth, (6) information about possession or ownership, location and previous use of the school building and its renovation and restoration efforts as well as the number, type and size of the classrooms (7) information about the subject areas of the lessons, learning goals, organization of the training and the school, (8) information on school fees, reductions in school fees, freedom from learning materials and other costs incurred by the pupils in connection with attending school, including adequate budget planning that provides a complete view of all available income and expected expenditure, including their planned, actual and forecast values allowed, (9) information  on the participation of students and legal guardians, and (10) information on the special profile of the school, in particular on educational issues and the planned capacity (class formation), in the case of vocational schools, additional information on the desired training courses, subject areas and focal points as well as the desired vocational qualifications.

In the case of supplementary schools, the school supervisory authority must be notified of its opening three months before classes begin. The notification must be accompanied by the curriculum and evidence of the school authority, the school facilities and the previous training of the head and teachers. In Bremen, The advertisement must contain precise information about the type of school, the structure of the lessons and the school objective (art. 14 Part 3). The notification procedure can be handled by a uniform body in accordance with Sections 71a to 71e of the Bremen Administrative Procedures Act .  The operating permit may only be granted if the physical or moral well-being of the pupils is not impaired or endangered and education and training are adequately guaranteed.  Further specifications are made for international schools in each federal state. Recognition of supplementary schools is required in specific case (see infra diplomas and degrees).

Licence: State approval is given by the competent education authority of the respective Land. The permit expires if classes at the school do not start at the beginning of the school year following the year in which the permit was issued, or if the school does not operate for a year without a specific consent to do so or if it is closed.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH):  To establish a private school in Germany, providers must comply with general requirements including fulfilling safety regulations, hygiene and health protection requirements.

Financial operation

Profit-making: In some Länder, in order for a private school to beneficiate from state contribution, the private school must operate as a ﷟on-profit basis and do not charge tuition fees or other fees.

Taxes and subsidies: The maintaining bodies of privately-maintained schools receive some financial support from the Länder, in various forms. The reference value is the situation pertaining to costs in the public-sector schools. All of the Länder guarantee standard financial support to schools entitled to such assistance; this includes contributions to the standard staff and material costs. The Länder either grant a lump-sum contribution, calculated on the basis of specific statistical data and varying according to school types, or the individual school may have to set out its financial requirements and receive a percentage share in subsidies. Other forms of financial support include contributions to construction costs,  to help provide teaching aids to pupils free of charge, to old-age pension provision for teachers, and granting sabbatical leave to permanent teachers with civil servant status while continuing to pay salaries. Parents and guardians may have school fees and transport costs reimbursed. The funds are mostly provided by the Länder, but a small proportion is provided by the local authorities. In Baden-Württemberg  non-profit private secondary schools recognized as pedagogically valuable may receive subsidies in the form of remuneration for teaching and learning aids. In Rhineland-Palatinate private schools only receive state subsidies if they do not charge school fees  and they work on a non-profit basis. Recent data based on income and wage statistics show that tax deductions exist (between 30% up 5,000 euros/year).In 2016, school fees were tax-deductible for a total of around 562,000 children between the ages of 6 and 23 (about 57% of the students of private schools while the remaining The remaining 43% attended free of charge private schools as in North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

Other type of schools can  receive grants on request subject to availability of budgets if they are non-profit. In Saxon  subsidy is granted for each student as an annual lump sum (per student basis), and financial aid applies also to non-profit state-recognized international schools. In Bremen approved alternative schools that operate as non-profit and do not seek gain in the economy receive a subsidy from the educational authority. The schools are granted financial subsidies based on the per-pupil finance formula. Furthermore, the 2019  Bremen Private School Act  (as amended in 2020), establishes the basic sum of financial subsidies can be increased if the individual alternative school contractually assumes the following special obligations: reliable training until the end of the program, the training of a number of students with a migrant background corresponding to a comparable public school, the obligation to dismiss their pupils for disciplinary reasons exclusively in accordance with the legal provisions on regulatory measures applicable to public schools; and the obligation to provide sufficient support to pupils. Pupils with a migrant background are those with at least one parent born abroad.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: Alternative schools must possess the equivalence of educational objectives and quality standards as public schools; however, private schools are free to decide on a particular curriculum, pedagogical, religious or ideological orientation, the determination of the lesson and teaching methods, as well as the teaching content and the organization of the lessons.  State-approved alternativeschools must take into account the curricula existing for their type of school as guidelines, the principles of the examination and transfer regulations of the individual types of schools with the exception of the substitute schools of special pedagogical character.

Textbooks and learning materials: Different teaching material and methods are possible f this does not affect equivalence with the corresponding public schools.

Teaching profession: Teachers of private educational institutions must have or prove to have similar professional and educational training as those required for teachers in the corresponding public school. In alternative schools,  the economic and legal position of teachers l is sufficiently ensured when  (1) a written contract is concluded for the employment relationship, in which the regular number of compulsory hours, the entitlement to holiday and clear conditions of termination are specified, (2) the salaries and allowances do not fall significantly short of the salaries of teachers at comparable public schools and are paid at regular intervals(3) an entitlement to pension is acquired for the teachers, which at least corresponds to the provisions of the statutory pension insurance. In some states the school supervisory authority can prohibit head teachers, teachers and employees or other school employees who are entrusted with educational or nursing tasks from carrying out their work if existing conditions suggest that they are nt suitable for employments, or may require for the pedagogical director and teachers a  permit to carry out their activities. In the case of teachers who are qualified to teach in public schools, permission to carry out their duties is deemed to have been granted.  According to the the 2015  Saxon Law on Private Schools   (as lastly amended in 2021),  public and private schools have equal rights in the use of state offers for teacher training, teacher training, school evaluation and support, including the work of school psychologists.

Corporal punishment: The Act to Prohibit Violence in the Upbringing of the Child to state: “Children have the right to a nonviolent upbringing. Corporal punishment, psychological injuries and other humiliating measures are prohibited.” Some states clarify under its state education act that physical punishment is inadmissible.

Other safety measures and COVID-19:  In 2020 in the view of the spread of the Corona virus, the Länder agreed on a joint and coordinated action, schools have gradually re-opened based on state-specific guidelines taking into account the infection protection and hygiene measure.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: School fees may be charged but must be socially equitable. State-approved alternative schools therefore only charge moderate fees or guarantee relief to pupils whose parents are of limited financial means (e.g. reduction in school fees, reduction for additional siblings attending the same school).  Monitoring and regulation of school fees vary in the federal states. The schools are therefore obliged to stagger the school feesaccording to the income of the parents or to offer other benefits. For instance aAccording to the Berlin Senate from 2019, school fees for children from low-income families who  receive free learning material can be reduced.

Admission selection and processes: Private schools recognized by the  state must follow the admission and promotion regulation applicable to public schools, this does not apply to alternative schools of special pedagogical character. It decides on the admission of pupils according to its own guidelines. In particular, it must also take into account the general principles of an inclusive school system.

Policies for vulnerable groups: The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (1949 as lastly amended in 2020) prohibits private schools from "separating" pupils "according to their parents' means", the schools are therefore obliged to set fees according to the income of the parents or to offer other financial aidss. The different Länder oversee the implementation of regulations. Regulations and initiatives are evident in all states. In Bavaria in order to avoid separating pupils according to their parental resourczs, the private school authorities shall, if necessary, provide financial support .  No distinction should be  made according to the origin, status, income and assets of the parents. (Article 96). In Berlin, the Second Implementing Decree to the Law on Private Schools and Private Tuition (Private School Law) (1959)  specifies that those with lower resources shall benefit of a specific waiver of school fee, as well as those that have two or more children subject to particular economic circumstances. The 2019  Bremen Private School Act  (as amended in 2020), establishes the basic sum of financial subsidies can be increased if the school contractually assumes certain obligations such as the number of students with a migrant background.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: In order for a private school to be approved, the school administration, its legal or statutory representatives have the necessary personal reliability and the head of the school is personally and professionally suitable to run the school responsibly.

Reporting requirements: Alternative schools must inform to the competent education authority in each Länder any modification on the school operation. The State Statistical Office provides the State Ministry for Education with data from the publicly funded schools every year for the purpose of calculating a future student cost rate based on the ordinary expenses of the publicly funded schools (Saxon Law on Private Schools 2015 as lastly amended in 2021 In Bremen,private education institutions are obliged to provide the supervisory authority with the information required to carry out their tasks on request, to submit the necessary documents in the form specified by the supervisory authority. The provider of an alternative school or a recognized supplementary school is obliged to notify the competent authority without delay of any significant changes in the conditions relevant to the approval or recognition, such as the specified location and the specified rooms.

School inspection: Private schools are subject to the supervision and monitoring of the school supervisory authority. They also have to allow inspections of the premises and rooms used for teaching, as well as class visits .  Officials and representatives of the school supervisory authority are authorized for the purposes of school supervision, to enter the premises the school during general business hours and after prior notification in order to carry out their supervisory activities, and to view and reproduce school-related documents and files of the school authority that are relevant for the approval requirements, the recognition requirements and the state financial aid. (Saxon Law on Private Schools 2015 as lastly amended in 2021) 

Student assessment:  In Germany the degree in general education is obtained through an examination. The providers of recognized alternative schools are also obliged to take part in quality studies if the conditions are comparable to those in public schools, and to transmit data for statistical purposes.

Diplomas and degrees: A private school either alternative or supplementary recognized by the State obtains the right to issue certificates that give the same entitlement as those of public school. While alternative schools generally go for recognition, supplementary schools (Ergänzungsschule), that provides education or training in which there is a public interest may be awarded the status of a recognized supplementary school if the teaching, the school facilities, the technical skills of its staff and the financial situation of the institution are suitable are to achieve the educational goal or training goal aimed at by the school and upon fulfillment of specific requirements. Upon application, a supplementary school providing general education will be awarded the status of a recognized supplementary school if its school-leaving certificate is aimed at the "International Baccalaureate Diplome/ Diplôme du Baccalauréat International" (IB), the "International General Certificate of Secondary Education" (IGCSE) or to award the "Advanced International Certificate of Education" (AICE) and the degrees obtained by the students to be recognized internationally.

Sanctions: The approval of a private school may be revoked if the conditions for approval are not met. The revocation occurs if  the school administration has not rectified the situation within a period set by the school supervisory authority. In the case of supplementary schools, the school supervisory authority may prohibit the operation of a supplementary school in order to protect students and the general public from danger or harm.  In the case of voluntary closure, the Bavarian Law on Education and Training (BayEUG)  (as amended in 2000) establishes that the dissolution of a school is only permitted at the end of a school year; it must be notified to the school supervisory authority at least three months in advance.

The Framework Act for Higher Education (Hochschulrahmengesetz) and the Länder laws governing higher education (Hochschulgesetze) stipulate what minimum requirements have to be satisfied if non-public institutions are to be recognised as institutions of higher education by the state. The Länder alone are responsible for awarding recognition to non-public institutions. Higher education institutions in Germany are divided into universities (including pedagogical and theological colleges), universities of applied sciences (UAS) and universities of art and music. Non-state institutions of higher education include private institutions, international institutions, and church institutions. According to the Education in Germany 2020 report the number of independent institutions has increased, in particular, the number of universities of applied science that are privately owned with a range of distance learning courses.  In 2020 there were 111 private universities and 39 church universities, accounting for 38.5 percent of all universities and 8.6% of the total number of students enrolled in higher education institutions in Germany.

Berufsakademien (professional academies) are governed by regulations specific to the Länder. Whilst the professional academy is publicly maintained in Sachsen, the Berufsakademie laws in Hessen, Niedersachsen, Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein only provide for the existence of exclusively state-recognised professional academies, which require the approval of the relevant Land ministry. The Hamburg Berufsakademie law facilitates the establishment of state as well as state-recognised institutions. In Baden-Württemberg and Thüringen, the state Berufsakademien have been converted into the duale Hochschulen (dual institutions of higher education). Unlike the state institutions, the non-public professional academies in Germany are not financed by the Länder.


Registration and approval: To establish and operate a non-public institution of higher education, providers must apply for state recognition and be accredited by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat).. Non-public institutions must be organized as legal entities and comply with a minimum set of requirements established bythe  Higher Education Framework Act (1976 amended 2019) (Hochschulrahmengesetz) and the Länder laws governing higher education (Hochschulgesetze). The Higher Education Framework Act (1976 as amended in 2019) dictates for providers to fulfill requirements on teaching staff, financial suitability and must satisfy the demands, standards and performance of a comparable state institution. Non-public institutions of higher education must also apply for accreditation by the Science Council to ensure comparability of the degree with state universities. Church institutions are granted flexibility and allow certain exceptions. The Länder is responsible for awarding recognition.

Licence: Upon approval, non-public institutions of higher education are granted an operating license subject to supervision and compliance with the approval requirements. “Institutional accreditation is a procedure of quality assurance which is to determine whether an institution is capable of providing study courses which according to legislation belong to the sector of higher education. Within the framework of the accreditation procedure, thus is to be examined and established whether standards of quality are fulfilled. These standards follow the requirements laid down in the Framework Act for Higher Education of the Federation (Hochschulrahmengesetz – HRG) and Länder laws governing higher education and should be related to the individual profile of the institution to be recognised.”

Official recognition by the respective Land is dependent on proof of that the non-public higher education institution is of equivalent status (not identical in form) to state higher education institutions. Therefore there is a whole list of points where the non-public institution must prove that it satisfies the demands, the standards and the performance of a comparable state institution. Furthermore, it must also be ensured that those belonging to the institution of higher education have at least a minimum level of co-determination in teaching and research matters. Recognition involves establishing the designation and organisation of the higher education institution, as well as the courses of study and examinations it plans to offer and the award of higher education degrees.”

Financial operation

Profit-making: At the Federal level no information was found on the prohibition from establishing for-profit higher education institutions.

Taxes and subsidies: According to the report role and future of private universities in Germany , funding of non-state higher education institutions differ across the Länder. In some federal states the higher education act specifies that institutions of state-recognized universities are not entitled to state financial aid.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: According to the  Higher Education Framework Act (1976 amended 2019), degrees and training must be comparable to the one provided in State universities. All degrees delivered by non-state institutions of higher education must be accredited by a Certified Accreditation Agency

Teaching profession: According to the  Higher Education Framework Act (1976 amended 2019), teaching staff at non-state institutions must possess the same qualifications as teachers in State universities.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: While tuition fees are charged at non-state-maintained higher education institutions in all Länder, no regulation was found at the federal level. At the Länder level, regulations were found on the fees to be charged by private universities. In Bremen, fees shall be charged in accordance with the Bremen Costs Ordinance.

Admission selection and processes: According to the  Higher Education Framework Act (1976 amended 2019), non-state institutions of higher education must organize their admission requirements as those that apply for state universities, such as university entrance qualification.  Furthermore, the Higher Education Framework Act (1976 amended 2019) stipulates that Universities promote the effective enforcement of equality between women and men and work towards eliminating existing disadvantages. The tasks and participation rights of the women’s and equality officers of the universities are regulated by state law.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: Every university must have an administrative body in charge of administering and governing the institution. While no federal law was found, it was found that some Länder requires the internal freedom of science is sufficiently guaranteed; in particular, academic self-government must have a decisive influence on the appointment and dismissal of the university management, and autonomous decision-making by the academic bodies must be guaranteed in the core academic area for state recognition to be granted

Reporting requirements: Institutions are required to apply for state recognition from the Science Council. The Science Council carries out the institutional accreditation of non-public universities on behalf of the Länder. This quality assurance procedure is designed to clarify whether a non-governmental university can provide research and teaching services that meet recognized scientific standards.  All non-public institutions of higher education must ensure quality standards as expected from State Universities.

Inspection: The state-recognized universities are subject to the legal supervision of the Senate administration responsible for universities. The institution and the heads of the state-recognized universities are obliged to provide information to the Ministry of Science and to make available all documents necessary to carry out supervision which can include a visit to the institution’s premises.

Assessment: With state recognition, the university receives the right to organize university examinations.

Diplomas and degrees: Private universities that have been recognized can award state-recognized higher education degrees.

Sanctions: State recognition can be revoked if one of the conditions for establishment are not met, and if such conditions are not fulfilled within a set period. The voluntary dissolution of a non-governmental university must be reported to competent education authority. During dissolution, it must be ensured that students can properly complete their studies.


3.3 Supplementary private tutoring

At a regional level each Länder is responsible for creating specific regulation for independent teaching and education institutions, and regulations varies. During primary and secondary school, it is not unusual for children and youth to join private tutoring and homework assistance (Grabbe, 2018). Providers are profit- oriented nationwide tutoring enterprises or non-profit organizations, among the non-profit organizations, small and regionally concentrated organizations and the Free Welfare Associations offer homework assistance targeting needy children.  (Grabbe, 2018). The VNN , founded in 1998, is the only representative of the tutoring industry in Germany. Its members are present at more than 1,400 locations in Germany. They represent over 140,000 students and their parents and up to 14,000 teachers. To offer a guarantee of quality, the members undertake to meet the quality standards set by the association and to comply with the association's code of ethics.  One of its goals is that the education of children and young people remains VAT-free and therefore affordable. The VNN is committed to the reputation of extracurricular learning support in politics and society. Tutoring complements the school system. The value of private tutoring was sort of acknowledge including learning support in the  BuT (Bildungs- und Teilhabe-Paket (BuT) amended in 2021. The BuT  was launched by the federal government in 2011 and passed by the Bundestag. This was based on a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, which criticized the benefits for children as not being transparent and called for improvements from politicians. Specifically, it is about securing social participation and equal opportunities in education for children and young people from low-income families. The BuT comprises six areas, one of which is learning support though least frequently used. Pupils can receive learning support/tuition if the school issues a certificate confirming that the learning support is necessary. Have the certificate completed in school and submit it together with your application. 


No legal framework at the Federal level was found that regulates the entry and establishment of private tutoring institutions (nachhilfe). However, information was found on the prohibition of using any designation that could cause confusion with a public or a private school.  In some federal states unless otherwise provided by law, teaching and educational institutions that are not private schools are only subject to notification to the school supervisory authority if they are operated commercially and  the school supervisory authority may prohibit the provision of lessons at independent institutions and private lessons in order to avoid  damage or dangers posed by the teachers.

Financial operation and quality

To obtain financial support within the BuT the application is submitted to the responsible job center or social welfare office. The teachers must confirm the need for support in writing. Of course, parents can also contact a PTE in their area . There they get support with the application and help if there are any problems. The Federal Government's Education and Participation Package (BuT) enables learning support for pupils whose essential learning goals are at risk. Cooperation with schools is an important part of our work and PTE cooperates with local schools on many levels. Tutors that are member of the VNN commit to specific quality standards and code of ethics.

Teaching profession

In some federal states a person who acts teachers at independent institutions or gives private lessons may be prohibited from this activity due to a lack of personal reliabilityto prevent  students danger or harm or protect the general public interest. Also, proof of sufficient technical training may be required for individual branches of teaching in some federal states. Members of the VNN are required to fulfil specific requirements. This includes both evidence of expertise in the subject they teach and their pedagogical and didactic skills. They also need to continue professional developmentThis can be both internal further training and training to become a certified tutor at TutorWatch or further training to become a coach or tutor at the learning server . The basic suitability of the tutors in the institutes is also regularly checked by the responsible school authorities/regional councils .


Last modified:

Fri, 25/02/2022 - 18:35