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The history of the German School Guadalajara - Mexico

The establishment of the DS Guadalajara in 1979 reflects the historical process of German school establishment abroad - and it was completely different. Its foundation is not linked to the history of waves of German immigration in Latin America. Mexico was never - like Argentina or Chile - a characteristic immigration country and it is not today either.

When a few German and Swiss families wanted to start a German school in 1979 - and a placed teacher, whose contract period at the Humboldt School in Mexico City had expired, took over the construction work as a local worker - they could hardly with the support of a closed German one Reckon with a colony that wanted to preserve traditions, language and identity. The founders were probably surprised when they realized that German was actually spoken in around 200 families in Guadalajara.

Many had learned it at the time-honored Humboldt School in Mexico City and later moved to Guadalajara.

A small German school was founded in Guadalajara in 1917 as a branch of the Humboldt School. In its prime it comprised kindergarten and elementary school and had 120 students who were taught by twelve teachers. Mexico's entry into the war in 1942 meant the end of this first German school in Guadalajara. Two policemen, recalled Friedrich Proelss, who was the director at the time and later honorary consul in Guadalajara, had denied him entry into the building one morning. As a result of this and other interventions by the Mexican government, the parents' council then decided to suspend enrollments for the new school year.

In 1979 the story of DS Guadalajara began, which could not tie in with a German school tradition, since it was essential to be fully integrated into the Mexican educational system from the very beginning. There was never a German mother-tongue lesson in accordance with German methodological and didactic basic principles. Rather, the German language was only taught as a foreign language alongside the official Mexican teaching program. This is certainly a natural and pedagogically sensible arrangement when you consider that 98 percent of the school was attended by Spanish-speaking students even then.

In the beginning, a rented private villa with a swimming pool served as a school building. Today the kindergarten, three new school buildings with modern laboratory facilities, two teachers' rooms with teaching materials, an auditorium, a school library, a large assembly and training room, and a multifunctional playground are located on 110,000 square meters of the school's own property in a picturesque valley ten kilometers outside the city center as well as volleyball and basketball courts and a cafeteria.

And the development continues. As in the early days of German schools being founded abroad, the board and school management are committed to expanding the school. For the "Copa Humboldt", the annual sports competition of the German schools in Mexico, changing rooms and shower rooms were built in 2003. The construction work came to a temporary end at the end of the 2003/2004 school year, when the last part of the "Preparatoria" was completed.

Germany has been promoting the school personally and financially since the 1988/89 school year. Today, DS Guadalajara is one of the 117 German schools abroad as a "school with increased German lessons"; Here pupils with the Mexican university entrance qualification, the language diplomas I and II, the "Cambridge First Certificate" and, since this school year, the "Mixed-Language International Baccalaureate" can complete. At the beginning of the 1989/90 school year, for the first time, a school principal who had been placed in Germany took over overall management.

At the moment, 42 foreign-language local teachers, 24 German-speaking teachers and six seconded teachers teach in the kindergarten and school at DS Guadalajara. In the 2004/2005 school year, the school had a total of 871 students, 43 of whom are German-speaking. The elementary school is attended by 438 children, in the "Secundaria" (7th to 9th grade) there are 158 pupils and in the "Preparatoria" (10th to 12th grade) 87. 188 children are enrolled in the kindergarten.

In addition to the national subjects in Spanish, the German School Guadalajara also teaches biology, mathematics and physics in German from grade 8, chemistry and history from grade 10 in addition to German. Classes in English begin in the 5th school year.

Since the 2003/2004 school year, DS Guadalajara has been one of 13 German schools abroad participating in the "Mixed Language International Baccalaureate" pilot project. Students who receive this diploma can gain direct access to universities around the world with this international degree. For university studies in Germany, this means that the one-year visit to a preparatory college that was previously necessary is no longer necessary.

In the future, DS Guadalajara students with the mixed-language IB diploma will increasingly study at German universities. Mexican students who acquire the IB diploma, the language diploma of the Conference of Ministers of Education, Level II, as well as the Mexican secondary diploma must be academically particularly qualified in order to cope with this multiple workload during school time.

After completing their studies in Germany, these former students strengthen the German-Mexican networks in the fields of science, business, society and politics.

Increasing demands on performance and social openness are the objectives of the DS Guadalajara, which from the next school year will also accept students in the 7th grade who have demonstrated talent, motivation and perseverance in a preparatory one-year German language course.

Continuous further training of the teachers, great efforts in the area of ​​quality development and continuous improvement of the didactic and methodical content characterize the DS Guadalajara and have ensured the excellent reputation of the school in Mexico and Germany.

As an institution, the DS Guadalajara not only has to preserve a tradition, but also to realize goals in the future that are problem-consciously oriented towards the society of the host country Mexico.

Colegio Alemán de Guadalajara, A.C