Trip to learn from German education
hittlesea Ekuphumleni High School principal Lizwe Ngalo has returned from his mission of establishing an exchange programme for the school, teachers and pupils in Germany.
Ngalo said he had spent time visiting educational institutions to assess similarities and differences between the German and South African education systems.
In Cologne, he visited a special school for the disabled, Brauweller Gymnasium High School, a primary school and a preschool.
“Germany is a federal state and their education system quite different from that of South Africa’s. It is designed to suit the economic environment of its provinces.”
His next town was Dusseldorf. “I visited Pestalozi High which is
105 years old and named after one of the great educationalists of the
19th century. I was well received at the school and great interest was shown in forming a partnership with Ekuphumleni.”
WHe said he was confident a partnership would emerge as Ekuphumleni hoped for a potential visit from some of the German institutions. “Education is free in Germany and all the schools from the foundation phase to tertiary level are state-owned. The schools specialise, which is why you find three principals in one comprehensive school. Pupils who will venture into art have their own head of department as though it was a university.”
Ngalo said the pupils studied all subjects in primary classes, adding that there was also an afterschool programme which took in pupils whose parents came home from work late.
“The state employs teachers to assist the pupils with their homework during that period.
In his leisure time, Ngalo visited the Rhine Valley which is famous for its fertile land and farming.
“I also went to the Black Forest and the industrial city Mannheim where Mercedes-Benz and other German cars are manufactured.”
He said the government had an agreement with companies to take students into their industries, while the youth in SA had qualifications but no experience.
Ngalo said Germany made a huge contribution to curbing global warming.
“They use bullet trains, trams and electric cars to reduce carbon emission. German farmers plant organic produce, they believe chemicals and fertilisers will damage the environment and, as a result, the citizens live much longer.”
He said the country’s economy was growing fast.
“I believe the strength of the Germans is that they do not spend much time on things that will not boost their economy. They value science and technology which are at the forefront in schools, along with sport.”
LEARNING CURVE: From left, principal of Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Germany Dr Andreas Ramin, Whittlesea Ekuphumleni High School principal Lizwe Ngalo and Otto-Hahn teacher Kristina Waimer during Ngalo’s visit to Germany