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Record for Language Courses: German is the Ticket

Goethe-InstitutCopyright: Goethe-Institut/Bernhard Ludewig
Great demand for language courses: “Young people in particular show an interest” (Photo: Goethe-Institut/Bernhard Ludewig)

9 March 2012

The lingua franca of the globalized world is English. But, there are no worries about the future of the German language. On the contrary, in 2011, the Goethe-Institut registered record numbers in its language courses and examinations – with double-digit growth rates worldwide.

In the worldwide network of the Goethe-Institut there were a total of 234,587 course participants in 2011, 16,400 more than in 2010. The particularly strong rise led to great joy at the Goethe-Institut and also a little pride – especially since the numbers of participants had remained more or less constant in previous years. “Young people in particular show an interest in our courses,” said Klaus-Dieter Lehmann. “Not necessarily because they want to read the original versions of Goethe and Schiller, but because they want to move ahead in their careers.” According to the president of the Goethe-Institut, it offers the perfect educational platform in Germany and abroad. “We are able to reach people at home and accompany them on their pathway to new vocational opportunities in Germany.”

At home – that is in 93 countries worldwide where the Goethe-Institut is represented. Last year almost 198,000 people attended German courses at the 137 institutes abroad (compared to 185,235 in 2010), and at the 13 institutes in Germany the number was 36,606 people (compared to 32,952 in 2010).

Interest in the German language has increased in particular in the south and west of Europe. Spain recorded an extremely high rise, where 35 percent more people learned German at the Goethe-Institut. Portugal and Italy also showed great interest in the course offerings where the number of participants rose by 20 and 14 percent respectively and in Greece by a respectable ten percent.

Although the demand can be explained by the economically difficult situations in these countries, the magnitude surprised the Goethe-Institut: at many institutes courses had to be added to satisfy all of the requests. Interest in language courses and examinations also rose distinctly in North America, by 10.38 percent, and sub-Saharan Africa, by 10.82 percent.

Last year 184,027 German-learners worldwide took examinations by the Goethe-Institut, almost 15,000 more than the previous year. “We are proud of the good results, which are also owed to the great dedication of our teachers around the globe,” said Johannes Ebert, the new Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut since 1 March. “Ultimately, the income from language courses and examinations enable the Goethe-Institut to meet a good third of its budget for worldwide language and cultural work on its own.”

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