The present President of Germany and former Federal Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier started up the "Schools: Partners for the Future" initiative. Its objective is establishing a worldwide network of at least 1000 partner schools, and as a result awakening young people's interest and enthusiasm for modern Germany and its society. It is being coordinated by the Federal Foreign Office and implemented jointly by the Central Office for Schools Abroad, the Goethe-Institut, the Pedagogical Exchange Service of the Conference of State Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and the German Academic Exchange Service. The network of German schools abroad and schools that offer the German Language Diploma is being reinforced and extended. Furthermore, cooperation between schools is being developed in order to continue to consolidate German as a foreign language in the national education systems. We want to develop active and lasting connections with Germany and inspire the schools, their teaching staff and students to engage in an open exchange of ideas and cooperate with one another. Because of this, the initiative will support many schools with its broad range of services available.
The initiative has additional training programs with which it contributes to the long-term qualification of both students and staff, thereby expanding the skills of young people for university studies in Germany and in their subsequent professional career. For students who have completed their education at German schools abroad and partner schools, the number of fully-funded grants for studying in Germany has doubled. The International Scholarship Programme enables, even more, foreign students to experience Germany personally for several weeks.
The Goethe-Institut supports the schools it looks after in introducing or developing German as a school subject. It offers teaching staff advanced methodological and didactic training and language courses and equips schools with modern teaching, learning and cultural materials that are multimedia-compatible. Furthermore, the Goethe-Institut has sent teaching experts to supervise partner schools throughout the world in the capacity of the initiative. Youth courses in Germany for students at participating schools will improve language skills, strengthen cultural competence and bring the local culture to life.
The "Schools: Partners for the Future" initiative is an attractive opportunity for students at partner schools to learn the German language at an early age and become familiar with the culture of German-speaking countries. The fact is, learning German means learning a foreign language with a clear perspective: anyone who can speak German can not only communicate with 119 million people worldwide in their native language but is also laying the foundations for university studies in Germany and a subsequent international career. Particularly committed students are helped even more – by being invited to regional workshops or three-week youth courses in Germany.