Intercultural education is not an official part of general school education. At least it plays a role in teaching practice as a cross-disciplinary principle. There is also a growing sensitivity to this issue in schools. In addition to some provisions for bilingual education, there are also many projects that use the arts as a medium to address intercultural issues that arise in schools.
Intercultural education is primarily carried out by educational institutions (kindergartens, schools, further education institutions). However, the topic is also gaining importance for cultural policy. In fact, it is the cultural institutions that take the initiative on this topic and seek cooperation with schools.
The normative framework is set by the human rights articles in the Basic Law (Constitution). The focus is on the recognition of difference, the development of tolerance, the ability to engage in intercultural dialogue, information about the cultural traditions and values of people of other religions, and the rejection of racism and violence. In educational institutions, mastery of the German language as a “lingua franca” is crucial in this regard.
Art and music schools are now also conceptually addressing transcultural aspects in their work and are increasingly integrating instruments from other cultures into their teaching offer
Many intercultural programmes and activities aim to awaken an understanding of other cultural traditions and ways of life, to increase knowledge of basic human and civil rights, and to develop humanitarian and democratic values. In this respect, intercultural and democratic skills are mutually dependent.
As part of the intensified political efforts towards practical measures for cultural integration, special attention is paid to intercultural education. Concrete stipulations are proposed in several educational plans for the pre-school sector and for primary schools in the individual federal states. The German Cultural Council has also prepared a cultural policy paper called “Intercultural Education – an Opportunity for our Society”.