The BBF holds an exceptionally comprehensive collection of curricula, regarding epochs, subjects and school types.

The curriculum holdings reflect the many changes in the history of the BBF and the associated heterogeneous collection profiles of the BBF and its predecessor institutions, this is especially true for time of the two German states after the Second World War: the curricula of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) are almost complete, while those of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) are only available in selection. In addition, the BBF has a large collection of pre-1945 curricula.

As a historical library, you will not find current curricula and guidelines at BBF. A very helpful overview of currently valid curricula is provided by the German Education Server. In addition, the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI) offers the Curricula Workstation, a reference system for German and international, printed and digital, historical and current curricula for the social sciences and German as a foreign language.

Curricula Before 1945

The Zentralblatt für die gesamte Unterrichtsverwaltung in Preußen, published between 1859 and 1934, contains curricula as well as guidelines and advice on how to use these. It has been digitized and is freely available in the text archive Scripta Paedagogica. Each individual article is catalogued in the library catalog and in Scripta Paedagogica and can be researched. The relevant source for curricula in general education schools in Prussia (=Volksschule) are the Richtlinien des Preußischen Ministeriums für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Volksbildung (=Directives of the Prussian Ministry of Science, Arts and Education).

The relevant publication regarding curricula for secondary schools in the National Socialist period (1933 to 1945) dating from 1938 is Erziehung und Unterricht in der Höheren Schule (=Education and Instruction in Secondary Schools).

For the four lower grades of elementary school there is a compilation of guidelines issued in 1937, and regarding general education (=Volksschule) as a whole there is a compendium from 1940.

The Amtsblatt des Reichsministeriums für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung (=Official Gazette of the Reich Ministry for Science, Education and National Education), published between 1935 and 1945, contains all curricula ordinances  and laws. It has been digitized and is freely available through the digital text archive Scripta Paedagogica. Each individual contribution is also recorded in our library catalog.

Curricula from the GDR

The collection of curricula from the GDR is nearly complete. Together with student textbooks, teacher manuals and other teaching materials from the publishing house “Volk und Wissen”, this collection presents a highly relevant source for researching (school) education in the GDR.

The printed inventory for this holding contains all curricula. Alternatively, you can search the library catalog  to gain an overview of the curricula. Combinations in the catalog's advanced search of the title keywords "Lehrplan" or "Lehrpläne" with the school subject searched for, the publisher keywords “Volk Wissen”, and a narrowing of the publication years to 1949 to 1989 lead to the desired titles.

For reasons of preservation, almost all curricula have been filmed. In these cases, priority is given to providing the roll film for use so that the original printed documents are preserve. It is recommended to reserve the reader-printer in advance at the information desk, by phone or by e-mail. If more than one copy is available for an individual title, you will be permitted to borrow such a copy or order it via interlibrary loan.

Curricular of some subject groups have already been digitized and they are openly accessible via Scripta Paedagogica:

The curricula of Sorbian schools have also been digitized.

Lists of digitized curricula of individual subjects from these subject groups can be found in the library catalog under "Public Lists":

Notes on working with the curricula were published by the GDR Ministry of Education, issued in a journal that was published between 1953 and 1989 (Verfügungen und Mitteilungen des Ministeriums für Volksbildung). We have also digitized this journal and it is openly accessible. Additionally, each contribution that was published in the journal is recorded in our library catalog and can be searched for.

Curricula from the Federal Republic of Germany

The BBF has a small selection of curricula from the federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The size of the individual corpus of curricula varies considerably depending on the federal state. The curricula are listed in the library catalog, otherwise they have not been indexed in a special way. It is recommended to search in the library catalog using the advanced search with a combination of different German keywords for the federal state, school subject, type of school and curriculum with a limitation of the publication years. Some of the existing curricula are not yet catalogued, therefore contact us, if you do not find a specific curriculum.