The blue memo board at the front of the classroom is covered with a jumble of pink, green and two shades of yellow notes. "These are our thematic areas sorted by country", explains the project leader jochen hummrich-welt from ernestinum high school. 50 students from poland, the czech republic, hungary and coburg have been thinking about the topics to be covered in the next two years by the four partner schools in krakow, prague, siofok and coburg. "We are now looking at what remains and what falls out."
More than 27 member states of the european union are participating in the comenius project, an educational cooperation from 1995. It serves the purpose of european integration and understanding between the peoples of the individual countries.
Teachers and students took an entire week to organize the kick-off event for the latest project, in which young people are to deal intensively with the recent past of their countries and the fall of the iron curtain. Topics such as the secret police, relations between the countries after 1989, communism and the prague spring fall into the category of politics and history. But the young europeans also want to focus on the arts, culture and music. "At the end of the two-year project, a brochure in four languages is to be published", jirko heinz, a teacher at a grammar school in prague, describes the goal.
One topic, for example, is "tuzex". Karolina bukovska (18) from the czech republic explains what is meant by this: "there was a shortage of clothes and jeans in our school. Tuzex is a business where payment was made with vouchers. There was a line of people."
all students and teachers speak german, there are no communication problems. "Almost every school at ernestinum has hosted a guest student", figures rieka rittsteiger and sophia ernst from coburg. "In this way the guests could get to know the german culture even better and had a family connection right away." a tight program kept the participants busy during the whole week: the visit of the city and the veste, vierzehnheiligen, banz monastery, bamberg, weimar as well as the concentration camp in buchenwald were on the program as well as a french evening in seblach, a visit of the landestheater and even a french mini language course. "The week was very strenuous", say the two schoolgirls, but they are just as enthusiastic about the project as the guests and teachers.
One hour later, the memo board looks completely different: it is clearly sorted, the young europeans have worked fast. In the following two years, the topics that remain are dealt with intensively. "Every country gets a turn as host", says jirko heinz. "But it will not always be the same students who are there." the next meeting will probably take place in prague next spring, followed in october by krakow, and in early 2014 the ernestines will be guests at the partner school in siofok, hungary.
"We teachers liked the 20. Include the twenty-first century", says anna maria kyziol, teacher of german and social sciences in cracow. If there was time, they would also be happy to go into more detail about the medieval history of their respective countries. "In krakow, many poles, hungarians and germans have lived together peacefully. This was, so to speak, the first european community."