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Germany

 
Capital: Berlin

 

Background:

 

As Europe's largest economy and most populous nation, Germany remains a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.

 

Higher Education:

 

Germany has more than 300 colleges and universities called Hochschulen with more than 1.9 million students and approximately 200,000 new students entering the system each year.

 

The modern German university system has undergone some radical changes since its inception in 1949 and many of these have occurred over the last decade. Three decades ago only 15% of students gained their academic diploma called an Abitur and which leads onto German college or university study however now that number is closer to over 45%. Even right now there are many changes happening in the German University system with things like free college tuition and automatic acceptance to a university being under review. Many German universities and colleges are being faced with budgetary cuts and the German government has been looking at new ways of deriving revenue to bolster the system including the changing the traditional ways of student selection as well as making students pay for their higher education.
 
 
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