The Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), which is part of the Federal Office of Administration, coordinates closely with the Federal Foreign Office and the German Länder (federal states) to support a total of 140 German schools abroad and some 1100 schools within national education systems that offer the German Language Certificate of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (DSD).
Young people around the world learn about modern Germany and modern German society, and their interest in all things German is awakened and fed at the schools in this network. These include German schools abroad, at which pupils can obtain widely recognised qualifications in line with international standards, such as the Abitur, the German International Abitur and the International Baccalaureate, as well as schools preparing pupils for the German Language Certificate.
Through its work, the ZfA helps achieve the goals of cultural relations and education policy in more than 98 countries. These goals include:
- helping Germans experience the culture and society of their host countries,
- providing schooling for German children abroad,
- promoting the German language,
- strengthening Germany as a location for business and tertiary education.
The ZfA finds some 2000 teachers in Germany and places them abroad, providing them with advice on teaching-related and administrative matters during their placements. A total of 50 specialist ZfA advisors are available around the world. At the request of the individual host countries, these experts lend their assistance to schools in the national education systems that run an extended German programme.