There has for a long time been an apparently insurmountable gulf between competitive sport and school achievement. Both elements appeared to be too time-consuming for them to be combined. In order to bridge the gap between the two elements Germany established elite sports schools in the 1990s. The aim of these schools is to guide pupils towards a school leaving certificate, while also enabling them a successful sporting career.
The basic premise has its roots in similar sporting institutes in the GDR, which were used as the template for these new schools after the reunification of Germany. A fact illustrated by the statistics: as although there are 43 such elite sports schools in Germany, the largest and most successful are those in the states that were formerly part of East Germany.
Although the pupils have twice as much to do, they do not receive fewer lessons. They must complete the same material as their fellow learners and must make up any work they miss due to competitions. The schools however, do provide help. The central organisation of training sessions and travel to and from competitions saves a great deal of time. In addition the pupils are allowed longer to complete their leaving certificates. They can, for example, study for four years for their Abitur (university entrance examination) instead of the usual two.
Editorial team (alb, at)