How German – Your Children Will Be Educated By The State, Not Homeschooled

The usual stereotype of Germany, where everything not forbidden is mandatory, is only a little overblown. After all the one great lesson of the social sciences is that all stereotypes are based upon at least a nugget of truth. However, this latest, that all children must be educated by the state with no exceptions does rather take that a little further than most countries think right.

All one family wanted to do was home educate their children. This would seem to be a reasonable enough idea, they are indeed the children of that family after all. The German authorities had other views up to and including taking the children into care when the insistence upon state education was not agreed to.

So, the family decided they’d go to the European court to see what they had to say about that legal right to a private family life. A right which doesn’t seem to extend very far really, as the court has now said that yes, the State is indeed allowed to take your children away if you do try to educate them yourself:

German parents whose four children were taken into care because they refused to send them to school did not have their human rights breached, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled. Home education is banned in Germany but the Wunderlich family, from Darmstadt, who are Christian, wished to educate their children in this way. Their four children were taken into care for three weeks in 2013. Afterwards the parents took their case to the ECHR in Strasbourg, They claimed their right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been breached. But the court has now ruled that taking the children into care was justified.

So much for that privacy then.

It added that the “actual removal of the children did not last any longer than necessary in the children’s best interest, and was also not implemented in a way which was particularly harsh or exceptional.”

Super, eh? We are but playthings of the authorities instead of what we should be, those who hire said authorities to do society’s scut work on our behalf. And do note this is the court supposedly upholding human rights which has decided this way.

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Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

So, in Germany private schools are illegal? And home tutors? Y’mean the Prinz Wilhelms are legally required to mix with the polloi in a state school?

Chester Draws
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Chester Draws

There are plenty of “international” schools in Germany. Most of Europe doesn’t really do private in the English way. I would suggest that the Germans are required to send their children to a recognised school, not necessarily a state one. I believe that is the case in Britain too, as the default, and you have to show that you are capable of home-schooling to be exempted. You can’t just announce you are home-schooling and pull your child in NZ, for sure. I know people who have not been given permission (correctly IMO) and told to put their child into a… Read more »

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

The legal requirement in the UK is that you “ensure your children are educated”. That doesn’t require that you send them to school, or show you are capable of home-schooling, just demonstrate that your children are educated. I used to be on a Schools Admissions Board, and one of the things we had to juggle was balancing our legal duty to protect the welbeing of the children in our area with the right of parents to choose how to educate them. By and large we just encouraged them to join the local Home School Association. The numbers were too small… Read more »

Pat
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Pat

I dimly remember a report from a couple of years back about a German family which successfully gained asylum in the US on these grounds.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

Worth checking as to who instituted this law. I believe it dates from the thirties?