Minister of State Michelle Müntefering today (1 June) issued the following statement on the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) becoming part of the Federal Agency for Foreign Affairs (BfAA):
I would like to extend a warm welcome to the members of staff of the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA). The ZfA has been supporting cultural relations and education policy for more than 50 years. Today it becomes an integral part of the newly established Federal Agency for Foreign Affairs. The German schools abroad promote intercultural skills, tolerance and understanding. From my many visits, I know what fantastic work they do every day. The work of the ZfA and the German schools abroad is a huge asset for our cultural relations and education policy, and will remain so now that it is part of the BfAA.
The ZfA was founded in 1968. With around 100 members of staff, it supports the Federal Foreign Office’s work with the German schools abroad. The ZfA provides the German schools abroad with advice on educational and administrative issues, seconds teachers, devises and organises further-training courses for teachers, prepares the conduct of German and international school-leaving examinations and, in consultation with the Federal Foreign Office, manages the budget for the German schools abroad. Having been a part of the Federal Office of Administration, the ZfA is based in Bonn, where it will remain for the time being. There is also a ZfA office in Berlin.
The German schools abroad are a central part of our cultural relations and education policy, as they enable educational paths with a German connection. Many of these schools are regarded as among the best in their country. They are building blocks for better mutual understanding across national and cultural borders.
The German schools abroad have shown great flexibility and commitment in their response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and have been able to make up for the lack of in-school teaching with online classes and activities. In 2020, to cushion the pandemic’s economic impact, which was casting doubt on the survival of some German schools abroad, the German Bundestag made available special funding amounting to €21.5m. A further €26m of special funding for German schools abroad during the pandemic is available in 2021.