The past year has again brought major new departures in the field of cultural relations and education policy. The 15.7% increase in the Federal Foreign Office's cultural budget has opened up important opportunities.
The Cabinet today approved the Federal Government's 12th report on cultural relations and education policy presented by the Federal Foreign Office. In this connection Federal Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement today (5 November) in Berlin:
"Strengthening our cultural relations and education activities is an investment in the future. Culture can help build bridges where classic diplomacy gets us nowhere. Showing people around the world what a diverse and fascinating place Germany is generates greater interest in and understanding of our country. By giving young people training and new prospects, our education activities abroad are also an intelligent form of development aid."
With its "Schools: Partners for the Future" (PASCH) initiative, the Federal Foreign Office plans to strengthen school education abroad in particular (45 million euro in 2008). The aim is not only to forge closer links between German schools abroad and other schools around the world offering the German Language Certificate (DSD), but also to develop them in various ways, for example, by establishing new secondary level II sections, improving educational quality management and expanding all-day programmes at these schools. As initial figures demonstrate, the initiative is already proving a success. The number of German schools abroad has increased from 117 to 123; in mid-2008 there were 492 schools offering DSD programmes.