Children of affluent parents often went on to attend preparatory private schools for an additional four years, but the general population had virtually no access to secondary education and universities.
In 1810, after the Napoleonic wars, Prussia introduced state certification requirements for teachers, which significantly raised the standard of teaching.
The final examination, Abitur, was introduced in 1788, implemented in all Prussian secondary schools by 1812 and extended to all of Germany in 1871.
The state also established teacher training colleges for prospective teachers in the common or elementary grades.
During the 18th century, the Kingdom of Prussia was among the first countries in the world to introduce free and generally compulsory primary education, consisting of an eight-year course of basic education, Volksschule.
It provided not only the skills needed in an early industrialized world (reading, writing, and arithmetic) but also a strict education in ethics, duty, discipline and obedience.