Education Alliances to reduce educational deprivation
Access to quality education is one of the key factors for Germany's position in global competition, for the prosperity of our citizens, and social cohesion. Reducing educational deprivation is therefore one of the major challenges of our time. In Germany, almost four million children under the age of 18 - more than 25 per cent of this age group - are growing up with at least one social, financial, or cultural risk factor which diminishes their opportunities to receive a good education. To ensure that disadvantaged children and young people are well equipped for their educational careers, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports out-of-school "Education Alliances" across Germany.
These Education Alliances include, for example summer camps and summer academies related to cultural topics, music and theatre performances, or mentoring programmes which introduce young people to art, music, literature, or new media.
Empowering young people
Under the "Culture is Strength. Education Alliances" funding regulations, the BMBF will be funding out-of-school programmes, mainly in the field of culture.
Experience shows that out-of-school programmes make a particularly valuable and lasting contribution to young people's education and personality development. Being actively involved in groups and associations, summer camps, or exchanges with voluntary mentors enables children and young people to realize how perseverance and team spirit help to reach goals, and how one's horizon is broadened by facing up to challenges and assuming responsibility. Out-of-school education programmes can provide young people with prospects, strengthen their self-confidence, convey appreciation, and encourage them to take charge of their own lives.
Cultural education programmes can make an excellent contribution to this. Creativity, team spirit, effort, and the delightful experience of being able to achieve something are very closely related in the fields of art and music, theatre and dance. Cultural education addresses children and young people at very different levels. They learn to produce a work of art, successfully perform a task, and cope with setbacks. They learn to listen carefully and look closely. And they learn how to develop their very own language. These are skills and attitudes that are of great importance even beyond the area of music and culture as they help young people develop their personalities and lead successful lives as individuals and as part of society. Programmes in the area of sports and exercise can also have a similarly decisive impact on personal growth.
Duration and amount of funding
Funding will be provided from 2013 for a period of up to five years. The BMBF will provide 30 million euros in 2013 for this programme. An increase to up to 50 million euros is planned for the following years.
Shared societal responsibility for children and young people
By funding Education Alliances in the field of culture, the BMBF pursues three objectives:
The central objective is to provide new education opportunities - in particular for disadvantaged children and young people, who will meet new challenges and come in contact with role models through the Alliances.
At the same time, Education Alliances are to trigger a broad civil movement for quality education and raise awareness of society's responsibility for the future of the young generation.
And finally, the BMBF wants to support sound networks of different local stakeholders in education, similar to its "Local Learning" funding programme. A local Education Alliance should therefore consist of at least three cooperation partners which reach out to young people from different perspectives. Examples include adult education centres, libraries, choirs, music or theatre groups, or other organizations.
Local Education Alliances are funded through national associations and initiatives that can apply for funding by submitting proposals by 31 July.
Further information on the "Culture is Strength. Education Alliances" funding programme is available here (in German only).
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