[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 December 2005, 03:11 GMT
Lessons on Germany 'need change'
Berlin Wall falls
Great events have taken place in the past 60 years, the QCA says
A "more balanced" study of modern Germany is being encouraged in England's secondary schools.

The move by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority follows concerns about the "Hitlerisation" of history.

It suggests how teachers can cover events as Germany moved from being occupied and divided to a united nation at the end of the Cold War.

The QCA hopes to tap into renewed interest in Germany prompted by next summer's football World Cup.

'Momentous events'

The study unit, aimed at Year 9 pupils (14-year-olds), is called "How has Germany moved from division to unity (1945-2000)?".

It considers German history in the context of other European states and moves towards greater European integration.

The QCA's chief executive, Ken Boston, said: "This year marked the 60th anniversary since the end of the Second World War.

"The momentous events of 1939 to 1945 will always be taught in schools, and rightly so, but children need to understand that German history did not end with the death of a dictator."

The last 60 years had seen great events - the Cold War, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, reunification, and great achievements that too few English children were taught, he said.

"Schools in England need to spend time teaching what happened in Germany after 1945."

Resource issues

The QCA acknowledges that because this has not been a particular focus of study until now, there are few commercially-produced classroom resources.

There is, it says, a wealth of web-based material that teachers can review for classroom use.

And one of the resources it suggests is Sönke Wortmann's 2003 film Das Wunder von Bern (the Wonder of Berne), which follows the West German football team's path to World Cup victory in 1954 and the impact it had on the newly-created country.

Dr Boston said: "Next summer many English people will enjoy the football World Cup in Germany and I hope that the interest in that event will encourage more schools to learn about the Germany of today."

Last week, a QCA report on the teaching of history repeated its criticism that there had been a "gradual narrowing" and "Hitlerisation" of the history curriculum at GCSE and A-level.

In May the outgoing German ambassador to London, Thomas Matussek, said British people were still obsessed with Nazism and ignorant about modern Germany.

The QCA's documentation sets out the expectation that most pupils will:

  • understand the circumstances that led to the partition of Germany, unconditional surrender, Allied occupation and the onset of the Cold War
  • learn about some of the main events and developments in East and West Germany, the contrasts between the two countries and some of the main points of conflict and co-operation
  • learn reasons for the building of the Berlin Wall and its end
  • appreciate the way ideological differences supported different interpretations of events
  • learn about the different experiences of East and West Germans
  • review images and interpretations of German history and understand that unification brought serious political, economic and social challenges

Alarm at history 'Hitlerisation'
04 Feb 05 |  Education
Country profile: Germany
22 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific