Promotion of the German language
The Obelisk of Buenos Aires by day, wrapped in the colours of the German and Argentine flags
While English is definitely the foreign language of first choice in Latin America, there is strong interest in what Europe has to offer in the cultural sphere. Many Latin Americans have German roots, which is one reason the status of German in the region is relatively good. Through the “Schools: Partners for the Future” (PASCH) initiative, it is hoped to take advantage of this to strengthen German language teaching at schools and universities.
Some 700 schools offer German language programmes
Around 130,000 pupils in the region are now learning German, which is offered by some 700 schools across Latin America.
The PASCH initiative
Franz Beckenbauer with pupils of the Rudolph Deckwerth School (a PASCH school) in Santiago de Chile
The “Schools: Partners for the Future” initiative was launched by the Federal Foreign Office in February 2008. The goal is to create a worldwide network of German-language partner schools. This cultural relations initiative is intended to make young people interested in and eager to learn more about all facets of contemporary Germany and the German language.
The Federal Foreign Office is responsible for coordinating PASCH, which is being implemented in cooperation with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Goethe-Institut (GI), the Educational Exchange Service of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (PAD) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The initiative’s network in Latin America now numbers some 185 partner schools. These include 37 so-called German schools abroad, 80 schools offering the German Language Certificate (DSD) and 68 schools starting up or expanding German teaching programmes.
To help German schools in Latin America maintain and raise quality standards, three ZfA process monitors have been sent to Argentina, Costa Rica and Peru. To promote German language programmes leading to the DSD, four ZfA specialist advisers are now working in Latin America (one each in Mexico and Chile, two in Brazil).
The main vehicles for promoting interest in the German language in Latin America are the 15 Goethe-Institut branches, which offer German teaching as well as training courses for teachers of German. The region also has five Goethe Centres, 31 German language specialists funded by the DAAD and 37 German-partner country cultural societies (excluding Goethe Centres).
German in higher education
- Some 300 universities in Latin America offer German studies or German language programmes. They have 3500 students enrolled in German studies programmes and some 25,000 students learning German as a foreign language alongside their main subject. In 2009 DAAD launched a new programme to support partnerships between German studies departments at German and Latin American universities. Under this programme the following partnerships are currently receiving support:
- Brazil: U Rio de Janeiro - U Jena and U Federal de Parana - U Leipzig
- Colombia: U Medellin - PH Freiburg
- Cuba: U de la Habana - U Giessen
- Mexico: U Guadalajara - U Leipzig
A new partnership between the German Studies departments of U Buenos Aires (Argentina) and LMU Munich has also been given the go-ahead.
German as a foreign language in school tends to be offered only in southern Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and southern Brazil), where a significant proportion of the population are of German descent. A considerable number of universities in these countries have German studies departments, but some of their students have only very limited German language skills. Inter-faculty German language classes given mainly by DAAD specialists are intended to remedy this situation.
Out-of-school German language programmes
In some countries German language courses for adults are provided only by the Goethe-Institut, Goethe Centres and German-partner country cultural societies. In 2009 around 23,500 people in Latin America took German courses offered by the Goethe-Institut. In a few metropolitan areas (such as São Paulo, Mexico City and Buenos Aires) there are also a limited number of commercial providers of German courses.
Last updated 27.01.2011