Education: a meeting with the Chancellor

Pupils in Algiers asked Federal Chancellor Merkel questions – in German. Their school is part of the worldwide PASCH network.

 Stimulating exchange: The Federal Chancellor talking to a pupil.
Stimulating exchange: The Federal Chancellor talking to a pupil. dpa

A special item on the agenda for Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel: During her trip to Algeria in mid-September the German head of government visited the Lycée Aicha Oum El Mouminine, a state girls’ school in Algiers. The school has been part of the “Schools: Partners for the Future (PASCH) initiative since 2014, and as a “FIT” school that offers the “FIT in Deutsch” exam, is supported by the Goethe-Institut in Algiers. The Federal Chancellor took her time, visiting a physics lesson, a geography lesson, and finally the German lesson, where she fielded the girls’ questions. A lively conversation quickly ensued – in German, it goes without saying.

Federal Chancellor Merkel was impressed by the commitment shown by the German teacher – she is the only one at the school – and by how motivated the young pupils were. With their knowledge of German they are laying the foundations for a Germany-related career later on and have the possibility of training with a German company or of studying in Germany. The Federal Chancellor stayed at the lycée longer than planned – and the pupils were delighted with the inspiring visit: For them it was recognition of their work and how diligently they are learning the German language.

Angela Merkel visited the Lycée Aicha Oum El Mouminine in Algiers.
Angela Merkel visited the Lycée Aicha Oum El Mouminine in Algiers. dpa

Global PASCH network

There are many opportunities open to young people with a knowledge of German: This is an important tenet of the PASCH initiative, which the then Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier launched in 2008. In collaboration with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Goethe-Institut (GI), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD) of the Kultusministerkonferenz, PASCH aims to instil enthusiasm for the German language in young people all over the world. There are five PASCH schools in Algeria, the most recent joining in 2018. The Lycée Aicha Oum El Mouminine was selected as a PASCH school because, in addition to the natural sciences section, there is also a humanities section, in which a third foreign language is offered after English and French. Some 35 pupils opted to learn German and are extremely interested in Germany as a country.

Today some 2,000 schools with 600,000 pupils are part of the PASCH network and are in contact with one another via a web-based learning community – it is the only one of its kind in the world. With the support of the German Federal Foreign Office a PASCH alumni network has now been set up, which enables the exchange of information and contact maintenance as well as offering specific support for studying in Germany. On 12 October 2018, this year’s alumni prizes for the best PASCH alumni projects will be awarded at the Federal Foreign Office.

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