The project “Schools: Partners for the Future” (PASCH) now supports and unites more than 1800 PASCH schools in a global network.It is part of the Federal Foreign Office’s cultural relations and education policy, and is awakening and sustaining young people’s interest in and enthusiasm for contemporary Germany and the German language in more than 120 countries. PASCH is an international learning community that is not only fostering German language learning, but also making a lasting contribution to cultural exchange and improved mutual understanding. The Federal Foreign Office and all PASCH partners play an equally important part, as do the many pupils, teachers, school heads and alumni involved worldwide.
The Federal Foreign Office coordinates the PASCH initiative and implements it in cooperation with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Educational Exchange Service of the Standing Conference of the Secretariat of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (PAD).
The German Bundestag has supported the initiative from its inception and has emphasised its significance for putting education policy into practice abroad.
PASCH eight years on – a positive assessment
The partner school initiative has been quite a success. The network already includes about 1827 schools. These include 140 German schools abroad, 1097 schools under the auspices of the Central Agency for Schools Abroad where the German Language Certificate of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany can be taken, as well as 590 schools overseen by the Goethe-Institut where German lessons have been set up or expanded and which offer the Goethe-Institut’s exam for young people “FIT in Deutsch”. When the initiative was launched in 2008, the network comprised some 500 partner schools.
The success of the PASCH initiative highlights the increased interest in Germany and the great demand for German. Learning from and about each other and dialogue about shared topics have since become a matter of course and help to strengthen all partners in the network of the PASCH initiative.
The Internet platform www.pasch-net.de is a particularly important instrument to promote networking and communication for pupils and teachers. Alongside many interactive elements to improve knowledge of the German language, there are also games and international competitions for pupils. The online pupils’ magazine “http://blog.pasch-net.de/pasch-global/”, which allows young people from around the world to gain an insight into their countries’ cultures and to communicate with each other in the German language, has been particularly successful. Teachers can practise highly modern digital lessons on the learning platform, find out more about methodology and didactics and read tips on how to improve their German lessons and make them more innovative.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier had the following to say about his experiences of the initiative:
On my travels abroad, I keep on meeting people who speak fluent German and enthusiastically tell me about their education at a PASCH school. These alumni often retain their affinity for our country and language throughout their entire lives, and in their later careers become key partners in business and in the political and cultural spheres.
Where PASCH is going to next...
Whereas the priority up until 2010 was to build up the network of partner schools, the focus since then has been on improving the quality of teaching, networking the PASCH schools more closely with each other and with schools in Germany, and continuing to strengthen the link between school and higher education or the world of work.
A new forum for PASCH alumni is currently being set up for this purpose. PASCH school leavers can network with other alumni worldwide, stay in touch and share their experiences on the platform www.pasch-alumni.de. The platform also provides information about courses of study and career opportunities either in or linked to Germany.
The aim is also for German companies to be more involved in PASCH as they too are beneficiaries of the initiative. Employees are hired in their respective regions who, alongside professional qualifications, display knowledge of the German language and idiosyncrasies of German corporate culture. The initiative will only be able to achieve its full potential with the support of the business community. By becoming involved, companies can take advantage of a wide range of opportunities to support young people in their respective regions as their future partners – with scholarships or internships, equipment aid for the schools or by supporting specific projects.
World Class! Schools. Education. The Future.
Culture and education are important areas of German foreign policy that are used to reach people directly. With the forum INSPIRING PEOPLE held in Berlin from 13 to 15 April 2016, the Federal Foreign Office presented its work in the area of cultural relations and education policy, supplementing it with new ideas, criticism and encouragement.
The “Schools: Partners for the Future” (PASCH) initiative was examined as a successful model at the beginning of the forum. Over 300 pupils, teachers and school heads of PASCH schools and representatives of educational authorities from over 30 countries and four continents met at an event entitled “World Class! Schools. Education. The Future.” on 13 and 14 April. They discussed best‑practice examples of successful programmes, worked together to develop new project ideas and seized the opportunity to engage in creative networking.