Today (6 June) Foreign Minister Steinmeier presented the German School Prize, worth 100,000 euros, to the Anne‑Frank‑Realschule in Munich. Five other schools were commended for their outstanding pedagogical achievements.
Right at the start of the award ceremony for the German School Prize, held in the Heilig‑Kreuz‑Kirche in Berlin, Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier admitted that he had not always enjoyed school. Yet as a young boy from the small town of Brakelsiek, North Rhine‑Westphalia, he was encouraged by a primary school teacher to attend the grammar school in the next town. Steinmeier explained that he therefore became a “commuting pupil” and initially knew nobody at his new school. “The first few weeks were hard‑going,” the Foreign Minister conceded.
Not leave bright minds undiscovered
Steinmeier said that many things had now changed. He said that “progress through education” was still the task in hand, but that today much more attention must be given to children from immigrant families. After all, he said, Germany was now a true country of immigration – “here we must work much harder at inclusion, especially in the area of education.” The Foreign Minister went on to say:
If we want Germany to remain competitive in the international arena, we cannot afford to leave bright minds undiscovered. Everyone with ability should have the opportunity to pursue their path regardless of their background and gender. All the schools nominated for the School Prize support this goal.
Lending wings to learning
The subsequent video presentations by the nominated candidates showed that inclusion, fun lessons and creative learning methods are not only possible but par for the course at many schools throughout Germany today. Fifteen primary schools, comprehensive schools, vocational schools and even a complementary school for refugees provided brief snapshots of their day‑to‑day teaching and learning methods.
Main prize for girls’ school in Munich
The Anne‑Frank‑Realschule in Munich was awarded the main prize, worth 100,000 euros. This school for girls systematically fosters the interest of its pupils in mathematics, natural sciences and technology. And in this it is successful: More than a quarter of pupils go on to train for a career in technology after leaving school. Four other schools each received prizes worth 25,000 euros.
The jury prize, also worth 25,000 euros, was awarded to the SchlaU Schule in Munich. This school looks after young refugees between the ages of 16 and 21 who have come to Germany without their parents and who first have to learn the German language and how to cope in a foreign country. At the award ceremony one pupil explained that although they all come from different countries – ranging from Afghanistan to Somalia and Syria – they all have the same goal: German school‑leaving qualifications. The SchlaU Schule is therefore another role model for inclusion in German schools – enabling every individual to pursue their path regardless of their background and gender.