The analytical study has three parts. The first part describes the historical context of teacher training in Germany from the 19th century to the 1970s when undergraduate education of teachers was transferred to universities. Teacher training is primarily a matter for the individual federal lands and minimal congruence is secured by what is known as the Conference of Ministers of Culture of the Federal Lands. Its resolutions, however, have no more than the force of recommendations. In Germany the undergraduate training of teachers has two stages: first students undergo two years of university education in their chosen teaching subjects, and then they must go through two years preparatory service, in which study in training seminars is combined with teaching practice undertaken directly in schools. Studies are concluded by a state examination.
The second part of the study is devoted to the reform of teacher training in 1998. An expert committee criticised the considerable fragmentation of the training of German teachers and proposed the creation of Centres for Teacher Education and Educational Research that would come under universities. Standards for the undergraduate education of German teachers were also drawn up. In 2009 the principles of the Bologna Process started to be applied in Germany and the training of teachers was divided into bachelor’s and follow-on master’s degree courses. The usual overall length of studies is between 8 and 10 semesters. In most of the federal lands the state final examination has been replaced by a university examination. Discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of structured studies is now starting in Germany. There is also discussion of the possibility of the establishment of independent Schools of Education in the Framework of universities. The third section of this study summarises the five basic criteria that any reform of undergraduate education of teachers needs to meet.