Education is the second largest item of public spending after social security and welfare and in the 1990-91 academic year amounted to 4 percent of GNP. Education is not paid for by local property taxes but rather out of general revenues. Since 1949 the federal government, the Länder , and the local governments, including in some cases intercommunal single or multipurpose districts (Zweckverbände ), have shared in financing education. For elementary, primary, and secondary education, the Länder and the local governments are the major funding sources. The Länder are responsible for teachers' salaries, curriculum development, and the setting of standards and qualifications. Local governments are responsible for the maintenance and operation of school facilities. The Länder remain the main source of funding for higher education, but the federal government also plays a role. In 1991 the Länder paid about 74 percent of total education costs (68 percent in 1970); local governments contributed 16 percent (24 percent in 1970); and the federal government contributed 10 percent (8 percent in 1970).
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