What does this involve?
Paragraphs 43 - 45 of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) have created the legal basis for this. This means:
“The aim of the integration course is to successfully teach foreigners the language, the legal system, the culture and the history of Germany. Foreigners should become so familiar with the lifestyle in Germany that they can independently cope with all areas of daily life without the help or intervention of third parties.”
Two parts of the courseThe integration course is made up of two parts: a language course and an orientation course. In the language course, German as a Second Language is taught. The orientation course looks closely at the legal system, culture and history. In total, the integration course normally lasts 660 teaching hours. Full-time and part-time courses are available.
ParticipationThe integration course is aimed at both new arrivals and people who have lived in Germany for a relatively long period but have not yet learnt sufficient German. Immigrants can take part voluntarily but they need to be authorised by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The Immigration Office or the German Federal Employment Agency can also obligate them to participate. Participation costs 1,20 euro per teaching hour, so the total is normally €792. Those who receive unemployment benefit II or social benefits are exempt from paying.
Courses for special requirementsAfter introducing the integration courses, it soon emerged that the general courses did not always fit the needs of all participants. Their learning experiences and prior knowledge of German are very different. In the first courses, old people often sat next to young people, those who had been living in Germany for years next to new arrivals, illiterates next to academics.
Therefore, there have been so-called ‘special’ integration courses since 2007, where the language course makes up 900 teaching hours. These are aimed at the particular needs of certain groups, such as young people, women, parents or participants who do not have sufficient knowledge of the Latin alphabet. Many course organisers also offer intensive courses for experienced language learners, with language courses that consist of just 400 teaching hours.
New regulation of language courses and teaching qualificationsBoth the courses and the teaching qualifications for the integration courses have been coordinated by the BAMF since 2005. Meanwhile, the integration courses are run by around 1,800 approved, public and private institutions, such as the adult education centres, as commissioned by the BAMF. The Goethe-Institut also offers some integration courses in its specialist department of Training and Educational Cooperation as part of teacher training.
To be able to teach these courses, teaching staff must have a certain qualification. If they do not have this, they can attend an ‘additional teaching qualification for integration courses’, commissioned by the BAMF and established by the Goethe-Institut. The additional teaching qualification is offered by just under 20 approved institutions – including the Goethe-Institut.
As well as a general additional qualification for the language course, there are optional qualification programmes for teaching integration courses with literacy and soon there will also be a qualification programme for the orientation course. The Goethe-Institut is currently working on a design for an ‘additional teaching qualification for the orientation course’ and this will then be offered as 30 teaching units, in seminar format as well.
Framework curriculum and ‘Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer’Since 2007, there have also been curriculum fundamentals for the integration courses in the form of the framework curriculum for integration courses (RCC). This, together with the Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer’ (DTZ) was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and developed by the Goethe-Institut. The DTZ was developed in cooperation with telc GmbH. Since July 2009, this tiered test has served as the final examination for all integration courses across Germany. It tests whether the participant has reached level B1 or level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Evaluation committeeAn Evaluation Commission has been set up to provide specialist monitoring and evaluation of the content of the integration courses and their components. The committee is made up of the federal government’s integration officials, representatives of the federal government, of the BAMF, of the federal states and key community umbrella organisations as well as academics and experts from this field. The Goethe-Institut is one of these.
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Online-Redaktion
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