I'm introducing a new feature on German Joys, which I'll call 'German Joys Uncut.' One news story from a German newspaper, translated into English by yours truly, without cuts or changes. I’ll provide a short introduction to clarify things that might be unfamiliar to non-Germans, but no commentary.
The first German Joys Uncut comes from last week’s Die Zeit, Germany’s leading broadsheet newspaper. The article (G) address social tension among high-school students in a town in Saxony-Anhalt, a part of the former East Germany.
To understand the piece, it’s important to understand that fairly early in their school careers, students are separated into different skill groups, and then sent to different sorts of high schools. The top 1/3 of students are allowed to go to a Gymnasium high school (nothing to do with exercise), which provide the best chance of getting into universities. Less-prestigious high schools, which I've translated as “secondary schools,” lead to trade careers. This is oversimplified, but it's all you need to know to understand the piece. If you're interested, you can learn more here.
The article appeared in the “Life” section of Die Zeit, accompanied by a picture of the Karl Marx school and of two female Karl Marx students, who wore t-shirts, apparently printed in celebration of their graduation, which read “Even if we’ve missed out on a lot and done some things wrong, we still have chances.”
In Gardelegen, in Saxony-Anhalt, secondary schoolers attacked a Gymnasium after their graduation celebration – among other things, out of anger over their disadvantages.
by André Paul
The celebrated their graduation on June 8, 2006, although most of them really didn’t have much reason to celebrate. 153 boys and girls ended their stay at the Karl Marx Secondary School in Gardelegen, Saxony-Anhalt. Most of them had an ordinary secondary school certificate in their pocket, some of them a qualified certificate. They could start their careers. But for 100 of the young people, the key word was: “could”. They had no apprenticeship slot. The employers in the local region Salzwedel can take whom they want, and they preferred others. They wanted better-qualified people, even when education ministers, teachers, employers, and parents all shy away from this word. The apprenticeship slots and the jobs, the money and the careers, don’t go to Karl Marx School students, they go to others. And the young people wanted to pay a visit to these “others” on that very morning. At the end of the day, the results were: severe property damage and aggravated assault. Their little town made it into the headlines: Secondary School Students Attack Gymnasium.