Central Agency for German Schools Abroad (ZfA)
The Central Agency for German Schools Abroad (Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen, ZfA) of the Federal Office of Administration supports over 1,200 schools worldwide, including 140 German schools abroad – mainly in public-private partnership – and approximately 1,100 schools in the respective educational system in which the German Language Certificate (DSD) can be acquired. On behalf of the Federal Foreign Office and in close cooperation with the federal states, the ZfA provides them with personnel, financial and pedagogical assistance. The ZfA, which was established at the Federal Office of Administration in 1968, reports to the Federal Foreign Office.
German schools abroad, mostly conceived as international schools, are open not only to children of Germans working abroad and wishing German education for their kids. Three out of four pupils are from the respective host countries or other cultures, thus getting the chance to familiarize themselves with Germany, its culture, and language. These high-profile institutions of the German school system are very popular worldwide and constitute an important pillar of cultural relations and education policy.
The ZfA is responsible for the placement, financial support, preparation, and further education of teachers. About 2,000 teachers placed by the ZfA are employed at German schools all over the world.
ZfA news from abroad
10th Annual German School Prize – presentation by Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier on 8 June in Berlin
Summer, sun, a government visit all meant it was the end of August in Berlin. The Federal Government invited us to the open house day on the 29th and 30th August. Many citizens made use of the opportunity to find out about the varied tasks of the ministries. The Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) came along too.
41 teachers from Russia went on a walking tour through German history at the end of June: "Berlin, Potsdam, Weimar: German history since Frederick the Great". The trip was part of the young teachers mentoring programme.
On 8 July, the Israeli Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, the Chargé d’Affaires of the German Embassy in Tel Aviv, Monika Iwersen, and the Secretary-General of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), Udo Michallik, signed a joint declaration of intent in Jerusalem on the introduction of German at Israeli schools.
In 2016, the Deutscher Schulpreis (German School Award) will be awarded for the tenth time; for the first time this year German schools abroad are also eligible to receive it. By 31 December 2015, all German schools abroad can now apply for this special award which includes prize money of 25,000 euros.
"First of all, I want to learn German properly" – this is the wish of many immigrant children now living in Germany. In so-called "welcoming classes", young immigrants are taught German to prepare them for regular school. These classes culminate in the acquisition of the German Language Certificate (DSD) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK). 219 pupils recently received this coveted language certificate in the framework of festive ceremonies in Berlin and Bremen.