THE ASSOCIATION'S WORKThe federal state of Lower Saxony oversees the education of prospective teachers on the levels of primary schools as well as secondary schools, grammar schools, and vocational colleges. In Lower Saxony, there are a total of eight universities, one college of music, one college of fine arts, and one university of applied sciences, which are involved in teacher education. Some of these universities and colleges offer teaching degrees for all school forms while others may focus on a specific type of school for which to prepare prospective teachers. The same applies to the respective subjects which can be studied for a teaching degree at each site. In the majority of universities and colleges, a Professional School of Education or Centre for Teacher Education functions as a central organ to manage the qualification of teachers. In Lower Saxony, around 3,000 graduates finish a teaching degree each year.
Following the EU Bologna reform, the entire academic system of teacher education in Lower Saxony needed to be remodelled. Since the beginning of the winter term of 2007/2008, all prospective teachers in Lower Saxony are to finish an interdisciplinary Bachelorís degree including their two future school subjects, after which they complete a Masterís degree focusing on the specific school type. In order to allow students for broad employment options, the six- or eight-semester Bachelor programmes are polyvalent, while the consecutive Master programmes (4 semesters) focus more closely on teaching and educating to prepare students for the following training programme as probationary teachers in schools.