Merkel’s Quest for Indian Talent

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21 februari 2013 | The German Ambassador to India encouraged Indian students to learn German. To attract the best and the brightest the language barrier has to be lowered. "Our goal is that by 2017, one million Indian students would have learnt, at least, basic German.

This ambitious follows the success of German language programs in Kendriya Vidyalaya schools across India. Steiner described the language campaign as an “incredible success”. He explains that so far 300 schools have introduced German, and that the “classes are overrun”.

Michael Steiner: “I have been to Kendriya Vidyalaya schools in Delhi, Lucknow and elsewhere and wherever I went, I met with open-minded talented students eager to learn German and they are picking up the language effortlessly. They know language is an asset and a ticket to go global.” Steiner underlines the importance of access to these programs in the whole of India. Steiner says that it is of great importance that German will be taught in rural areas as well.

No more language barriers

The language campaign can be seen in a broader context to attract the brightest Indian minds for further studies and research in Germany. Germany’s scientific research and innovation badly needs extra talent to keep its position as a leading knowledge economy.

To attract more talent, Indian students don’t have to pay fees. Steiner: “the students only have to pay for their board and lodging”. At the moment 6000 Indian students study in Germany, but this number has to increase in the coming years. “Earlier, students who wanted to stay over could not, and this was a problem. This year, we have facilitated that students keen to stay over and work can do so,” Steiner said. This would be done on the basis of specific work permits.”

The ambassador does not foresee language to be a barrier for Indian students as German universities now offer courses in English, Steiner said. “It is an enrichment to learn the German language. And it has been observed that Indians are good at learning German,” he adds.

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