On 5 December the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder and Minister of State Cornelia Pieper signed an administrative agreement on the German Schools Abroad Act. This marks a further important step towards implementing the German Schools Abroad Act, which will give the German schools abroad a legal claim to funding for several years.
Up until now, long-term planning was often something of a problem for German schools abroad. Only when the Budget Act was passed each year did they know how much funding they were going to get from the Federal Foreign Office.
From now on that is to change. The German Schools Abroad Act, which will enter into force on 1 January 2014, gives the German schools abroad a legal claim to funding for several years. The resulting security is crucial for lasting improvements in the quality of the schools.
The administrative agreement between the Federation and the Länder supplements the German Schools Abroad Act in revising the rules for seconding German teachers from the Länder to the German schools abroad. These teachers play a decisive part in ensuring high-quality teaching at the German schools abroad. The new administrative agreement clarifies, among other things, the longstanding question of how the cost of their pension provision is to be divided between the Federation and the Länder: it will be split equally between the two sides.
Historic moment for German schools abroad
Minister of State Pieper called the adoption of the German Schools Abroad Act and the signing of the administrative agreement a “historic moment”. “This means that in future all German schools abroad will enjoy legal certainty and planning security.”
One key aim of the new regulation was to guarantee quality standards, she continued, as “The German schools abroad are beacons of the German education system around the world.”
Continuity and quality of teaching
At the end of each year, the head teachers of the German schools abroad would no longer be looking again to an uncertain future, but would be safe in the knowledge that they had a contractual agreement clearly pledging funding for three years.
In the medium term, the German Schools Abroad Act and the administrative agreement will not only ensure planning certainty for 142 German schools abroad. They will also help improve the continuity and quality of teaching. And the pupils stand to benefit most of all.
The German Schools Abroad Act passed by the Bundestag and Bundesrat will enter into force on 1 January 2014. It creates a binding basis for the financing and supply of personnel to the German schools abroad. For the first time, the schools will have planning certainty for three years; schools with stable numbers of pupils graduating will for the first time have a right to funding. The additional administrative agreement between relevant partners in the Federation and Länder mainly sets out the procedure for seconding teachers to German schools abroad.