German schools abroad – where children from different cultures meet

19.02.2020 - Article

German schools abroad are a mainstay of our cultural relations and education policy. German schools abroad are places of intercultural dialogue and are particularly suited to preparing pupils from different cultural backgrounds for a common future.

Promoting schools abroad helps to overcome cultural barriers, to convey a modern, diverse image of our country and to strengthen German language skills in other countries.

Opening of the German school in Sofia
Opening of the German school in Sofia© DS Sofia

The schools are designed to cater to German families worldwide who are abroad on business and who want their children to have a German school education. They are open to children from the host countries and other cultures whose parents want to offer them the opportunity to become acquainted with Germany and its culture and language. School-leaving qualifications recognised in Germany can be attained at German schools abroad.

German schools abroad are a successful example of a public-private partnership. While they are run by independent bodies, they raise much of their funding themselves through fees and donations.

Accountable to the Federal Foreign Office, the Central Agency for Schools Abroad advises German schools abroad and supports them both in terms of staff and funding. Since 2014, the German Schools Abroad Act has given the schools a legal entitlement to receive funding from Germany.

Network of German schools abroad

The Central Agency for Schools Abroad currently supports and promotes 140 German schools abroad in 72 countries with around 85,000 pupils, 60,000 of whom are children of non-German origin. In addition to the German schools abroad, the Central Agency for Schools Abroad supports German as a foreign language instruction at some 1100 schools worldwide that offer the German Language Certificate (DSD) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany. The network of schools abroad also includes the German profile schools (DPS) with their particularly distinctive profile of German-language teaching and school-leaving certificates. They are all part of the worldwide network of the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH).

Around 2000 teachers recruited from Germany teach at these schools. The Central Agency for Schools Abroad provides them with organisational, pedagogical and financial support during their placements abroad.

Inclusion and vocational training

Important focuses of the schools’ work are the promotion of vocational training and inclusion at German schools abroad.

The German schools abroad also include eight dual vocational training centres, two independent vocational schools and four technical colleges. In addition, pupils are supported in their vocational orientation through targeted study and career guidance.

The German schools abroad are characterised by diversity, and individual inclusion concepts provide all pupils with the best possible educational opportunities.

Alumni networks

The Central Agency for Schools Abroad offers regular alumni meetings and projects for school-leavers of the various schools abroad. In addition, school-leavers are supported in making the transition from school to vocational training or university in Germany. This helps to create long-term networks that foreign policy and the export and cultural sector can draw on.

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