Speaking today (20 July) in Berlin, Minister of State Pieper welcomed the Federal President’s decision to become patron of the German schools abroad and commented as follows:
“I am delighted that Federal President Gauck has agreed to become patron of the German schools abroad and the world congresses of German schools abroad. This decision is a tribute to the valuable services these schools perform for our country as well as the great commitment shown by everyone working in this field.”
In connection with the second International Education Day taking place at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 13 September 2012, which will focus on demographics and how to meet future demand for skilled labour, the Minister of State added:
“With our International Education Days, which we staged for the first time in 2011, we want to spread the message about the quality of our German schools abroad. We see them as showcases for German education around the world, places where skills vital for our future are learned and the next generation of experts with a German connection are nurtured.”
German schools abroad have a long tradition. There are currently some 140 German schools in five different continents. They operate on a public‑private partnership basis and are run by privately organized school associations. They exist not only to serve German children living abroad, however; 80% of their pupils have other nationalities. Nevertheless, these schools make an important contribution to communicating a positive image of Germany and teaching German language skills.
The schools receive financial and personnel support from the Federal Foreign Office. This is closely coordinated with the Länder (federal states) and channelled through the Federal Office of Administration – Central Agency for Schools Abroad. In addition to supporting these 140 German schools abroad, Germany offers pupils at some 870 schools around the world the chance to obtain the German Language Certificate (DSD) awarded by the Standing Conference of German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs. This qualification means that DSD holders have met the language requirements for admission to a German institution of higher education or higher education preparatory course. There are currently some 80,000 pupils enrolled in German schools abroad. Around 320,000 pupils learn German at schools abroad offering a DSD programme. In addition, some 520 so‑called FIT schools attended by over 150,000 pupils receive Goethe‑Institut support for their German language programmes based on host‑country curricula.
Every four years the World Association of German Schools Abroad – the umbrella organization of the private associations that run German schools abroad – and the Central Agency for Schools Abroad organize with Federal Foreign Office funding a world congress of German schools abroad. The last congress was in 2010 in Shanghai and the next is planned in 2014 in Berlin.
The theme of the first International Education Day held on 8 September 2011 was “excellence and innovation in education”.