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German Centre in Kerala Gets a New Home

In Trivandrum
November 13, 2023

Opening new vistas for students and job seekers, the Goethe-Zentrum Trivandrum, housing Germany’s language centre and the office of the Honorary Consul, will soon get its new address in the capital city.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the German House in Jawahar Nagar in the city at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov 16, in the presence of Consul General Achim Burkart, Dr. Shashi Tharoor and other dignitaries.

Part of the worldwide network of Goethe-Institut, the official language and cultural institute of Germany, the Zentrum has been functioning in the city for fifteen years now. It is managed by the Indo-German Language and Cultural Society under the Chairmanship of former Kerala Planning Board Member Mr. G. Vijaya Raghavan.

The centre provides consular assistance to hundreds of people migrating to Germany, including language training and certifying signatures and copies of documents.

Starting with roughly 400 students in Kerala, it now enrols more than 5,600 students yearly, helping them learn German and write the Goethe-Certificate exams.

Goethe-Institut opened its first institute in Calcutta in 1957. The flag-bearer of German language learning now has six institutes and five centres in India, including Trivandrum and Kochi.

The Goethe-Zentrum Trivandrum was set up in 2008, and a branch was opened in Kochi five years later as demand for admissions to coveted German universities and explore professional goals there increased.

The severe workforce shortage compelled the German Parliament to pass a new Migration Law in 2021, opening doors for professionals from non-EU countries.

The German government signed an extensive Mobility and Migration Partnership Agreement with India in December 2022.

With the signing of the Triple Win Agreement between the German Federal Employment Agency in December 2021 to recruit 1,500 nurses from Kerala, Goethe-Zentrum became the official partner to provide German language training to these candidates.

In July this year, the German Federal Minister of Labour Mr. Hubertus Heil visited Trivandrum and held further discussions with the state government on expanding the ties.

“Today, not just nurses but thousands of youngsters from across Kerala come to learn and write the exams, a prerequisite for studies and work in Germany,” said Dr Syed Ibrahim, the Honorary Consul of Germany and the director of the Goethe-Zentrum.

“This year alone, some 30,000 candidates wrote the Goethe-Certificate examinations at both these centres in Kerala. Thus, Kerala has become the pioneer in India to partner directly with Germany for fair and ethically correct migration of human resources.”

Considering the growing demand and bilateral relations and the future opportunities for the young people here, the Goethe-Zentrum decided years ago to look for an ideal location to construct its own building in the city.

Reputed German company Allianz (Technopark) helped the Zentrum purchase a prime piece of land in Jawahar Nagar and construct its own building.

“This is a milestone in our partnership with the Goethe-Zentrum and a matter of great pride to over 8000 Allianz colleagues who together this year celebrate 20 years of our presence in India,” said Dr Barbara Karuth Zelle, Member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE in charge of Operations, IT and Organization.

“I am very proud and happy to dedicate this to the people of Kerala and the students who I am sure will benefit from a modern and professionally run centre for learning German language and culture.”

Designed and executed with utmost care for environmental consciousness, the state-of-the-art premises present an unmatched experience for the visitors and the students.

The eight classrooms have the most modern technological features to conduct German classes with more efficiency and quality.

“The arrival of the new facility in Trivandrum would significantly meet the long-standing demand for more examination schedules in Kerala,” Dr Ibrahim said

“Besides language-related activities, the centre will focus on possibilities of expanding the cultural bridge through various events and programs for the General public.”

Mayor Arya Rajendran, Chief Secretary Dr Venu V., South Asia Region Director of the Goethe-Institut, Dr. Marla Stukenberg and Jison John, MD and CEO of Allianz Services India will also grace the inaugural ceremony.

India was one of the first nations to recognise the Federal Republic of Germany after its formation in 1949.

“The relationship between Kerala and Germany dates to the 19th century with the arrival of the Basel Mission in Kozhikode,” said Dr Ibrahim.

“Acknowledging the ever-growing relationships since the times of Hermann Gundert, we are very proud to present the new premises, further expanding its scope.”