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Language school grads 'barely spoke German'

The Local · 31 Jan 2012, 15:37

Published: 31 Jan 2012 15:37 GMT+01:00

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The school has not been publicly named, but it has branches in Lünen, Hagen and Wuppertal, according to a report by public broadcaster ARD.

According to ARD, a special inquiry has been set up to look into charges that the school’s two proprietors overstated the number of attendees in their courses in order to reap unwarranted state subsidies.

They also are believed to have given manipulated language exams to students that had answers to questions already marked in advance.

A further eight people are being investigated as alleged middlemen who sought out students to participate in the fake courses. Nearly 100 former students are suspected of having obtained language certificates – necessary for jobs, studying and naturalising as a German citizen – illegally.

“The number is expected to rise over the course of the investigation,” prosecutor Ina Holznagel told ARD.

A probe into the school has been ongoing since February of last year but culminated in December with a raid on the school branches and private homes throughout North Rhine-Westphalia.

Authorities were tipped off by immigration officials who realised some applicants for naturalisation were barely able to speak German despite having their language certificates.

ARD has previously reported that fraud is widespread at Germany’s integration courses. It is common for proprietors to overstate the number of attendees in order to gain money from the state, the network reported.

Story continues below…

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:40 January 31, 2012 by nomadams
And here I am, an English speaking Canadian that actually WANTS to learn German and integrate yet I'm going to have to plead my case and potentially pay for the integration courses because I'm not the "type" of immigrant the courses are intended for. Go figure.
19:27 January 31, 2012 by Englishted
This not a surprise is it but what is wrong is that a investigation into the school took 10 months ,now there should be a investigation into the investigators .
21:02 January 31, 2012 by Shiny Flu
I learnt Deutsch at a VHS over a long period of time, a friend of mine who moved to Berlin as well went to a private language school. Not at all scientific, but in comparison they were moving through the levels much faster and learning less than I was.

Just saying it wouldn't surprise me.
22:00 January 31, 2012 by ovalle3.14

Don't be surprised. Here you're punished for being trying to succeed the old fashioned way (studying and working hard).
01:58 February 1, 2012 by rosebudnv
this is not so unusual. Here in Canada new immigrants went to Engllish classes and told the teacher that they did not want to learn English . They told the teacher to leave them alone or they would cause chaos in the class to the detrement of those who were there to learn Englsh. They had to attend the clases in order to get social service benefits. Then when they did not learn English they could use the excuse that they could not get a job as they did not speak English so as to stay on social servcies benefits and not work.
05:07 February 1, 2012 by Runnerguy45
It should not surprise anyone. I am tired of minorities coming to Anglo Saxon nations from countries that were failures and then trying to make their new home a failure like their old home. Stay in your old country unless you are wiling to adapt and work hard to better yourself and your new nation.
09:21 February 1, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ nomadams

If you want to learn German, you can take VHS courses without having to plead your case. And the German state will cover most of the cost for the courses, leaving you to pay a mere ~1 euro/hour. Pretty nice, isn't it?

@ Runnerguy45

How do you know from which countries are the immigrants mentioned in this article? How do you feel about Anglo-Saxons immigrating to Romanic-language countries (for example) and not willing to adapt and work hard?
09:29 February 1, 2012 by Brummie in the Sauerland
Whats the point of this news if the the name of the school isn't revealed!
16:59 February 1, 2012 by dxlman

Can you tell me how I can receive compensation for my wife's language courses as I have paid for her to have 3 language course at the local VHS, which was cheap.

18:13 February 1, 2012 by Englishted

Problem with the VHS courses are not cheap if you are working ,they also are often in the day requiring time off work .

When i arrived and was working the course was full of housewives and students who didn't work and had more time to learn leaving me with a struggle to keep up also as my work was physically hard I would arrive straight from work tired out to begin with needless to say the boss stopped the time off after a term so I had to give up.

I still with anybody doing one good luck but it takes more than speaking to integrate .
21:29 February 1, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ dxlman

You already received compensation when you paid the courses (by having a very low price and the state subsidising the school budget). Have you paid more than 110 euro per 100 hours? I guess not. As a comparison, a private school would have charged on an average 10 euro/hour.

@ Englishted

I can speak only about the VHS in Berlin, as I know many people attending courses there. There are intensive courses (4 hours/day, 5 days/week) or less intensive courses (3-4 hours/day, 2-3 days/week), early morning, early afternoon or in the evening (after 6 pm). I know quite some that are working and in the same time attending the intensive courses. Good thing about these courses is that one can attend them more than once (so given that they are quite cheap, they are worth also when one can have a 30% presence rate). Berlin being a city with many VHS, one has many options to choose a course to fit the level, schedule and even the teacher (as everywhere, there are some good one and some not-so-good ones).

And yes, you are right, integration means much more than speaking the language. So it is not such a bad idea to look for a/some German (girl)friend(s). :)
09:44 February 2, 2012 by dxlman

Since I'm in full-time employment I paid €200 for the course, which is 3hours/week for 17 weeks, roughly €4/hour.

Maybe if I mentioned that my wife is unemployed I would have paid less.

I'm having Russian lessons, and I pay €15/hour, which is actually a good price here inf Frankfurt. The normal price is €20/hour.
11:51 February 2, 2012 by Lost in Germany
@ Runnerguy45

... "I am tired of minorities coming to Anglo Saxon nations from countries that were failures and then trying to make their new home a failure like their old home."...

Oh please, it´s not the countries that are failures it´s the attitude these people have that fails. Don´t generalize.
12:41 February 2, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
@ Englishted

>Problem with the VHS courses are not cheap if you are working ,they also are >often in the day requiring time off work .

I can't really confirm that. I'm taking French lessons at our local VHS; it's a refresher course and it costs 80€ per semester, plus about 30€ that I had to pay for the exercise book. It's every Tuesday night at 7:30 pm; yes, it's a challenge trying to focus and concentrate on learning new words after a day's work... but it's alright. Relatively inexpensive when you compare it to some of the more commercial language schools (one school told me it would be about 2000 euros to work my way up to a French language certificate!!), and 7:30 pm means I have enough time to come home from work, have dinner, even get comfortable in front of the TV for a bit before I have to go to class.
13:46 February 2, 2012 by rajkshan
No big deal. This has been going on for a while. Why not the Government also check the Fahrschule? The same thing is also happening there - illegal Führerschein.
09:52 February 3, 2012 by Asgarli
"Authorities were tipped off by immigration officials who realised some applicants for naturalisation were barely able to speak German despite having their language certificates."

DUH!! The language requirement for naturalization is only B1 level, at that level of course one can barely speak the language, especially if shy/nervous/not wanting to show his bad skills.
14:20 February 3, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Asgarli

B1 means more than barely speaking the language. Quote: "Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans." If for example one can only greet others and say where (s)he lives, that's not B1, that's A1.
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