Great prospects for German as a foreign language – DAAD support programmes help further careers
It is not that long ago that the demand for German courses was on the decline. But the euro crisis has prompted waves of people from southern Europe to enrol for German classes. Now there are not enough German teachers, so the prospects for students and graduates of degree courses in German studies and German as a foreign language are constantly improving. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a series of support programmes in this field.
German studies graduates or students can help meet the demand for German teachers by taking postgraduate and follow-on courses – so the prospects are good for anyone who wants to teach German as a foreign language.
Let’s begin with a look at the developments: The Goethe-Institut has more than 150 branches throughout the world, teaching German and promoting international cultural cooperation. They are enjoying record figures: in 2011, a total of 235,000 people were enrolled in courses at the Goethe-Institut, up 16,400 from the previous year. In the business newspaper ‘Aktiv’, Christoph Mücher, press spokesman for the Goethe-Institut in Munich, explained: "We are gradually reaching our limits – in terms of both space and staff. The market for good teachers is completely empty."
German as a foreign language: learning German to help further your career
Better job prospects are encouraging unemployed and young people in Europe, in particular, to learn German. The number of people taking courses in German as a foreign language has risen by 35 per cent in Spain, 20 per cent in Portugal and 14 per cent in Italy. In Greece too, ten per cent more people are learning German.
And the target groups have changed too. According to Mücher, a great many engineers and medics are now attending the courses. And nurses, who are urgently needed in Germany, are also learning German. In Lisbon, there is a separate seminar for them, where they can specifically learn what they need for their daily routine in a hospital. ‘The young people aren’t coming to lessons because they want to read Goethe and Schiller in the original, but because they want to get on in their career,’ explained Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, President of the Goethe-Institut, to the Financial Times Deutschland.
German teachers wanted! Teaching German as a foreign language for DAAD
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) promotes German and German studies abroad. It places around 500 Lektoren for German studies/German as a foreign language in universities in more than 110 countries every year. DAAD Lektoren teach German language and literature throughout the world. In some countries, they also teach other subjects too, such as law and economics. The Lektoren are contacts outside Germany for the complex topic of German as a foreign language and of course for information about DAAD support programmes.
From learning to teaching – following the career of an Algerian German teacher (in German)
University courses taught in German in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Commonwealth of Independent States
In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), German is important for business and science. DAAD is thus promoting German as a foreign language as a degree course at universities in the region with a programme called ‘Deutschsprachige Studiengänge (DSG) in MOE/GUS’ (‘German-language degree courses in CEE/CIS’). The courses are organised in cooperation with German partner universities.
The programme is designed to consolidate German as a lingua franca and a language of science in the CEE/CIS region. The programme also has another aim, however: to help the partner universities reform their curricula. Ultimately, the goal is to train graduates who have not only completed specialist training but also have a good command of German and act as competent contacts for German firms and organisations in the CEE/CIS region.
Partnerships between German studies institutes to promote German and the Vladimir Admoni Programme
Another interesting option for specialists in German studies is a programme called ‘Germanistische Institutspartnerschaften’ (‘Partnerships between German studies institutes’), which was started in 1993. They initially focused on Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS states, but projects in Asia, Latin America and Africa are now promoted too. In conjunction with other programmes and initiatives, the programme has the ambitious goal of strengthening German across the globe. To do so, the partnerships develop teaching content and forms in the departments of German studies and German as a foreign language at foreign universities.
The Vladimir Admoni Programme offers attractive scholarships to junior graduates with a good master’s or equivalent degree: DAAD supports them during their doctorate, and the programme is designed to allow them to pursue an academic career at their own university. The on-site scholarships are granted for a maximum of three years, and recipients are expected to go on short trips to the German partner university.
German as a foreign language at school
There are 140 German schools abroad in 70 countries throughout the world, providing lessons to around 20,000 German and 58,000 non-German children. This is where the BIDS programme, a support initiative for German schools abroad and partner schools, comes into the picture. It helps German universities set up networks with ‘PASCH’ schools abroad (PASCH is the German acronym for ‘schools: partners for the future’). The aim is to make the transition to university easier for school leavers planning to study in Germany. Even while they are still at school, there are measures to prepare them for university and advice on applying for a place. They need and receive intensive support, particularly during their first two semesters at university.
Trial study weeks for advanced school children are an important part of the BIDS programme. There are also ‘motivation grants’ for the first year at university. Members of the universities can visit the partner schools, and vice versa