(German Network for Education about China)
Germany and China enjoy close relations, yet the subject of China is rarely addressed at German schools and only a small number of pupils learn Chinese. The new Bildungsnetzwerk China therefore has a number of goals: to increase the number of who learn Chinese, to devote more attention to China in the classroom and to promote direct exchange that will enable German and Chinese of the same age to learn more about each other’s lives. To this end, the Bildungsnetzwerk will support schools in becoming important centres for learning about and encountering China, while at the same time developing skills that will be useful in future engagement with China.
A Stiftung Mercator and Goethe-Institut initiative, the Bildungsnetzwerk China is being implemented in close cooperation with the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, and especially with this organization’s Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD). Furthermore, the goals of the network are expressly welcomed and supported by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
“We are delighted that we have been able to team up with the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and with the Goethe-Institut, partners with whom we can jointly establish and expand a network that will improve knowledge and expertise relating to China in Germany”.
Michael Schwarz, Executive Director, Stiftung Mercator
...the Bildungsnetzwerk will support schools in becoming important centres for learning about and encountering China, while at the same time developing skills that will be useful in future engagement with China.
Why is expertise relating to China so important?
China and Germany have been engaged in intensive exchange for decades and enjoy close ties at the economic level in particular. With over 850 million speakers worldwide, Chinese is the world’s most widely-spoken language. Around 16 percent of global economic output is generated in China. Furthermore, China is an important partner when it comes to protecting global public goods such as the climate and the environment. And yet only people in Germany have a clear idea about the realities of daily life in China. and have little experience in engaging with Chinese people. The subject of China is hardly ever raised in German schools and, by comparison with neighbouring countries in Europe, only a small number of German pupils learn Chinese.
“China kennen China können” (Understanding China, Doing China), a 2018 report by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), that was published within the framework of a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research found that education and vocational training institutions in Germany have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to teaching students how to engage with China. In 2019 a “Working Group on China-Competence in Education and Vocational Training” was established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Federal Foreign Office. Growing out of this various measures designed to boost China-Competence in education and training were proposed, including setting up a centre to promote knowledge and expertise about China. In 2019, the results of another MERICS study, “Der weite Weg nach China” (The great distance to China), identified the potential for establishing a central body to coordinate school exchanges with China.
In early 2020, the Bildungsnetzwerk China was officially launched by Stiftung Mercator and the Goethe-Institut, with the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs as a close partner. The Bildungsnetzwerk China is based in Berlin.
Services offered by the Bildungsnetzwerk China
Working in close cooperation with educational ministries and authorities, the Bildungsnetzwerk China will support schools in Germany in developing knowledge and expertise relating to China. The measures that are planned to this end include promoting school exchange projects with China, providing further training for teachers, collecting and creating materials for use in the classroom, and interconnecting all actors engaged in developing knowledge and expertise about China. Furthermore, individual schools will be able to apply to the Bildungsnetzwerk’s programs to receive financial support and specialist training for a set period of time, thereby enabling them to sustainably include and further develop a focus on China in their school profile.
Funding for school exchanges will be achieved by expanding the Mercator School Partnership Fund that has been supporting exchange- and theme-based project work between German and Chinese partner schools since 2014. Details of all the aforementioned funding opportunities can be found on this website. A teacher exchange program including a specialized training program for starting and organizing student exchanges with Chinese secondary schools is also funded by the Bildungsnetzwerk China.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us – we look forward to sharing ideas with you!
Bildungsnetzwerk China gGmbH
Französische Straße 47
Represented by management
Caspar Welbergen (Director)
Company base: Berlin · Charlottenburg District Court, HRB 219393 B
Design & realization: https://www.ressourcenmangel.de/
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The Bildungsnetzwerk China is an initiative by Stiftung Mercator and the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD) of the Kultusministerkonferenz (Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany).