Bad Godesberg. The city is supporting plans by IBIS to become a recognised international supplementary school.
The Independent Bonn International School wants to become a recognised foreign or international supplementary school. This follows from a presentation by the city, which politicians will discuss in October. The relevant application has been submitted to the North Rhine Westphalia schools ministry and the city has also reviewed the request.
The conclusion: it is in the public interest for the school to extend beyond the primary/elementary level in the future. The city administration said the offer of secondary schooling at IBIS would probably primarily be taken up by those students who had already completed their primary schooling there. The headteacher estimated in a talk in mid-July that this would amount to about 250 students. “In particular, she also sees the potential for winning back for Bonn children from Bonn who currently attend international schools in Cologne.” Further, IBIS wants to cooperate with other schools such as the Aloisius College.
The city administration said Bonn has 19 UN institutions, a number of internationally oriented companies such as Deutsche Post and Deutsche Telekom and several non-government organisations. It was therefore obvious the city fundamentally has a “strong interest” in offering international educational opportunities, both at private and public schools. City schools like the Friedrich-Ebert Gymnasium (secondary school) or the Helmholtz Gymnasium already have bilingual programmes on offer. The “Bonns Fünfte” comprehensive school has also made the internationality of its school one of its key future tasks.
To date there are only two international private schools, where fees must be paid – IBIS for primary schooling and Bonn International School (BIS) for primary and older students. The city said BIS has argued, “that the market for wealthy parents, who are financially in a position to pay the fees for a private schooling option of this kind, is limited.” At the same time, it has become clear that each year only five students change from IBIS to BIS. Most go on to attend city bilingual secondary schools according to the city administration.
There is therefore no competition issue with BIS. But what about the public schools? The administration thinks some schools could be affected. However, the fact that the number of school students in Bonn will rise in future – contrary to the statewide trend - also needs to be taken into account. Migrant children, of whom about 550 are of primary school age, have also not yet been taken into account. The city therefore believes there will be no danger to public schools if IBIS expands its schooling offer.
If the politicians follow the city’s verdict, there does not seem to be anything standing in the way of the approval. The final decision will be made by Bonn council on Thursday 27 October. (Orig text: Ayla Jacob; translated by Kate Carey)