Goethe Institut headquarters, Munich
|Founder||Government of Germany|
|Product||German cultural and language education|
|Prof. Dr. h.c. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (President), Johannes Ebert (Secretary General), Rainer Pollack (Business Director)|
The Goethe-Institut (German: ['?ø:t? nsti?tu:t], GI, "English: Goethe Institute") is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide with 159 institutes, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. Around 246,000 people take part in these German courses per year.
The Goethe-Institut fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German culture, society and politics. This includes the exchange of films, music, theatre, and literature. Goethe cultural societies, reading rooms, and exam and language centers have played a role in the cultural and educational policies of Germany for more than 60 years.
Partners of the institute and its centers are public and private cultural institutions, the federal states, local authorities and the world of commerce. Much of the Goethe-Institut's overall budget consists of yearly grants from the German Foreign Office and the German Press Office. The relationship with the Foreign Office is governed by general agreement. Self-generated income and contributions from sponsors and patrons, partners and friends broaden the scope of the work of the Goethe-Institut.
The Goethe-Institut is mainly financed by the national government of Germany, and has around 1,000 employees and an overall budget of approximately 366 million euros at its disposal, more than half of which is generated from language course tuition and examination fees. The Goethe-Institut offers scholarships, including tuition waiver, to students from foreign countries, who want to become teachers of German. One of the selection criteria for these scholarships is social or financial need.
The Goethe-Institut offers e-learning courses as well. In fact, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world in 2020, when most governments imposed stay-at-home and/or work-from-home lockdown orders on their citizens, Goethe-Institut Singapur introduced a series of Blended Learning courses, in order to keep German language-learning going. According to Goethe Institut's Singapore website, Blended Learning is described as follows: "Blended Learning offers you the best of both worlds: the flexibility of an online course and the direct exchange with the teacher and the group in the classroom. At the computer you will practice your reading, writing and listening skills and closely interact with other students in forums. During your lessons in the virtual classroom, you will apply what you have learned and practice your conversation and pronunciation skills. This course combines 50% self-study with 50% interaction in class."
The institute has developed a series of exams for learners of German as a foreign language (Deutsch als Fremdsprache, DaF) at all levels: A1 up to C2. These can be taken both in Germany and abroad and have been adapted to fit into the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFL), the standard for European language testing. There is also one exam, the Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom, which is at a higher level than the highest CEFL level. Below is a table of the basic Goethe-Institut exams as they fit into the scheme:
|CEFL level||Goethe-Institut exam||Instructional hours (45 minutes) needed|
|C2||Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom||1,000|
|C1||Goethe-Zertifikat C1 (Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch)||800-1,000 (both)|
|B2||Goethe-Zertifikat B2 (Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf)||600-800|
|B1||Goethe-Zertifikat B1 (Zertifikat Deutsch)||350-650|
|A2||Goethe-Zertifikat A2/ Fit In Deutsch 2||200-350|
|A1||Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1/Fit In Deutsch 1||80-200|
In 2000, the Goethe-Institut helped to found the Society for Academic Test Development (Gesellschaft für Akademische Testentwicklung e.V.). The resulting TestDaF exams are run by the TestDaF-Institut in Hagen. The tests are supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and are aimed at people who would like to study at German universities, academics and scientists. The TestDaF can be taken in Germany as well as in 65 other countries.
The two US-related annually granted awards for literature translations from German into English are: the renowned Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, and the Gutekunst Prize of the Friends of Goethe New York which is open to college students and to all translators under the age of 35 who, at the time the prize is awarded, have not yet published.
Once a year, the Goethe-Institut awards the Goethe Medal, an official decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany. It honours foreign personalities who have performed outstanding service for the German language and international cultural relations. The Goethe Medal was established by the executive committee of the Goethe-Institut in 1954 and acknowledged as an official decoration by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1975.
The Society of Authors and the Goethe-Institut, London administer the biennial Goethe-Institut Award for New Translation.
In 2005, along with the Alliance française, the Società Dante Alighieri, the British Council, the Instituto Cervantes, and the Instituto Camões, the Goethe-Institut was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for achievements in communications and the humanities.