Laila is not so good at sports, Mehmet does not hear well, and Samira has trouble with concentrating. All three are in the fifth class of the Europa School in Cairo. And all three are there gladly, because they are accepted as they are. “The co-existence of the strengths and weaknesses of our schoolchildren shapes our community”, says headmistress Dagmar Weber. “We come together here daily in the school so as to learn together and with each other, and this not only for school but also for life”. For its project “Anders sein“ (i.e. Being Different) the Cairo Europa School was awarded the Inclusion Prize at the annual conference of Directors of Germans Schools Abroad in Berlin in 2016. The school was pleased to receive the First Prize endowed with 10,000 euros.
“You open paths of understanding”
The Europa School in Cairo is one of a total of 140 German schools abroad. The schools promote intercultural dialogue and exchange with a view to a common international future for the children. Overall, the schools are attended by about 82,000 children, including 62,000 of non-German extraction. They are supervised by the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen / ZfA). In 2013 Germany funded German schools abroad, which are generally private schools, with 243 million euros. In 2016 the budget will be increased by 22 million euros, two million of which will go to finance construction measures and 20 million for teachers and the expansion of the schools. At the conference of the School Directors of German Schools Abroad at the Federal Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised the work of the directors and the achievements of international education: “At your schools you show what kind of country Germany is, what questions it poses, what its dark and bright sides are. You open paths of understanding and create the basis for educational biographies in which your graduates often remain associated with our country all their lives”.