Dynamic and focused on the future
Finally, also in region 9, eleven German schools abroad met in Dublin from 9 to 11 Mach for the First Regional Networking Conference in Central Europe. They had been invited by St. Killian's German School in Dublin and the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA).
Regional Networking Conferences are a key element in quality management at schools abroad (AQM). They aim at supporting the networking of German schools of the same region. All persons responsible for quality at their schools – school boards, headmasters and administration managers – come together for an exchange of information and views.
The headmasters, administration managers and chairpersons of the school boards from Buc, Brussels, The Hague, Geneva, Kiev, London, Moscow, Paris, St. Petersburg and Toulouse followed the invitation to Dublin. In the context of marketing strategies, they exchanged experience with public relations and discussed the particularities of their respective sites as well as the local parents' and pupils' needs.
The discussions focused on the question of how quality and values of German schools abroad can be conveyed to parents and above all to youngsters in a more lively and illustrative way under the joint umbrella brand DAS (German abbreviation for German schools abroad). Autonomous learning, participation in democratic school processes, carrying out projects from the initial ideas to their implementation, but also (self) reflection, solidarity and the willingness to be responsive to others were unanimously emphasized as strengths of German schools abroad.
International networks as an important factor
For families who move frequently, the worldwide DAS network is a particularly important factor: quality standards ensure both the children's enrolment at many sites and the compatibility with the German school system. There was an overwhelming agreement on these qualities among the participants at the Regional Networking Conference. But do parents and potential pupils know this, too? The schools want to enhance public relations, focusing even more on the children and youngsters as addressees.
The forum was also used for discussions on improving the own cooperation. In particular the very committed school boards working on the DAS on a voluntary basis contributed many ideas and raised a lot of questions which should be the starting point of further joint conferences, for example the question of how a DAS should be set up in 2025. This made the conference very dynamic with many issues discussed and raised.
All participants agreed that a follow-up conference should be organized and that St. Kilian's German School Dublin was the perfect host.
On behalf of the Federal Foreign Office and in close cooperation with the federal states, the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) of the Federal Office of Administration provides personnel, financial and pedagogical assistance to currently 140 German schools abroad, approximately 25 schools with a German profile and about 1,100 schools issuing the German Language Certificate. The ZfA promotes their quality-oriented school development. It provides advice on the establishment of new schools with a German profile, the organization of German-language instruction and the introduction of German school-leaving qualifications in line with international standards.