They have a three-tiered system: 1st-10th grade, then college prep "gymnasium", then college/university/technical training. Students who plan to go on to university or to study a profession (such as engineering or nursing) have two or three years of what they consider post-high school education first. This gives them years of prep time to take what we consider college general ed courses (higher math, writing, foreign languages, chemistry, history, etc.) . Once they start their higher ed program, they take only courses toward their major. Students who do not plan to go to university or study a profession have two or three years of training in a work field, such as sales, fashion design, firefighting, accounting, bank telling, etc., which also includes further practice in math, writing, foreign languages, but geared to the specific field they want to pursue. Therefore, 16-year olds who do not plan on getting a university degree can study for and intern in their field of interest while still getting basic skills training, while university-bound students can start taking much more rigorous academic courses by the time they are 16. In addition, many 16-year olds take a "gap" year, where they live away from home in dorms at an "after-school", where they can take art, drama, culture, music and other non-traditional classes (none of these are offered in the regular secondary school program). The whole system is very different. The arts and sports teams are offered outside of school time as well--the school day is for academics only. Overall, more students stay in school longer and get more training than we provide. The teacher training program, for example, takes two or three years, while a bookseller has to have a couple of years of training before going to work.