German in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan: The "Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium No. 12" in Ust-Kamenogorsk is a multilingual school, which can be completed not only with the usual degree, but also with the German language diploma. From the first grade onwards students learn German, English and the Kazakh language. Currently 271 students study at the school and the teaching staff has grown to a number of 33 members.
The town of Ust-Kamenogorsk is situated at the foot of the Altai Mountains, right where the Ulba River joins the Irtysh River. Today around 300,000 people live in Ust-Kamenogorsk, which was founded by Peter the Great as a garrison town and military defence post. Many of them have German roots and so it does not come as a surprise that after the collapse of the Soviet Union an effort developed to include German in Kazakh schools.
It all started in 1991, when an additional German grade got under way at School No. 10 in Ust-Kamenogorsk. As two teachers got to know Waldorf education in Russia and wanted to learn more about the Waldorf concept they went to Stuttgart in order to study Waldorf education. When they returned, they implemented more and more elements of Waldorf education into the curriculum of the German school grade. From 1995 onwards a second school developed therefore under the umbrella of School No. 10, which was strongly influenced by Waldorf education. In 2000, the initiative was officially recognized as the independent "Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium No. 12" with the purpose of an educational experiment.
The education law of Kazakhstan allows the diversity of methods in school concepts. Nevertheless, there is a core curriculum, which orders public exams after the fourth, ninth and eleventh grade. In addition, a control exam can be announced at any time, whose results are being published.
Despite these limitations, which affect the Waldorf curriculum, the Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium managed to bring Waldorf education and state requirements in line, especially in the lower grades. Thus German is being taught as a native language in the first grade and a feel for language as well as a broad vocabulary is being conveyed in a playful, artistic and creative way. Therefore it does not come as a surprise that the school regularly achieves the best average in gaining the C1 German language diploma.
The school loves to participate in exchanges and maintains contact with partner schools in Germany. Occasionally, trips are organized so that the students meet each other, in order to work together on a topic. For example, "civil disobedience up to disarmament" was once up for discussion, which was deepened by contemporary witnesses who participated in the discussion and was remembered as a valuable experience in the memories of all people involved.