Pedagogical Profile

The German European School Manila is a member of the worldwide network of UNESCO schools committed to actively support the UNESCO targets of human rights, global citizenship, and sustainability. 


GESM is also part of the European International School (EIS) together with the Lycée Français de Manille (LFM).


Both schools form a campus, the Eurocampus, the first of six world-wide. The establishment of the Eurocampus is a direct consequence of post-war French-German reconciliation, laid down in the Élysée Treaty, as a living symbol for lasting peace and understanding. Both schools partly share the same facilities, most notably the sports facilities, the library, and the canteen, and have as much synergy as possible in all areas.


This close interaction with another European school in the students’ academic lives, which more than often leads to personal friendships, helps our students even more to acquire global knowledge, understanding, and respect.


The German European School Manila consists of two sections, namely the German Section and the International Section, with roughly the same student number through grades 1 to 10.

Both sections eventually converge into the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme IBDP in Grades 11 and 12, which historically started as part of the upper secondary of the German School, before the International Section was established. 


The German Section follows German curricula and leads either to the Hauptschulabschluss (after grade 9), to the Realschulabschluss or to the Zugang zur gymnasialen Oberstufe after Grade 10.


The International Section follows the IB Primary Years Programme PYP and the British IGCSE programme. After being awarded the International Baccalaureate Diploma after grade 12, our students have access to any university worldwide.


Our academic programme has a strong emphasis on languages: 

  • The International Section has German and French as mandatory subjects from the primary level onwards.

  • The German Section has English and French (and also Tagalog in the Primary) as mandatory subjects.

  • Other languages are taught at GESM, including Spanish and Mandarin.


The International Section at GESM is currently (2018) populated by students from more than 40 countries. English, German, and French are the main languages on our campus, reflecting our multicultural mix. Experience shows that students who leave our school have good to excellent skills in at least three, very often even in four or five languages.


The German language has a central position in both the International and German Sections, either as a foreign language or as the first language.

Students will find effective support systems “Deutsch als Fremdsprache DaF” and “Deutsch als Muttersprache DaM,” taught by language specialists in small groups from Kindergarten through IBDP.

German is a mandatory subject in the International Section, and students can be awarded the renowned Deutsches Sprachdiplom 1 as a certificate for German language proficiency after grade 10.

In grades 11 and 12, the German variant of the International Baccalaureate, the “Gemischtsprachiges IB” (GIB) is offered. Students are also prepared for the DSD 2- exam, which leads to a language certificate that makes it easy to enter a German university.

The German European School Manila is a school-based on democratic traditions where parents and all other stakeholders have their fair say in all school matters.

1. Education towards democracy and stimulating students to engage in a democratic process in the school activities are of utmost importance for the work in our school.

2. Democracy learning is a fundamental principle in all areas of educational work. The school itself is a learning ground and an action field democracy where democratic principles are practised. The dignity of each individual and tolerance towards human beings and their opinion are pillars of our pedagogic work. We teach to adhere to rules and to solve conflicts peacefully, and we stimulate our students to defend and to advocate for fundamental human rights.

3. Education in democratic principles is cutting across all teaching subjects. In classroom lessons outside thereof, the aim is to demand and to promote that students take responsibility. Thus supporting them in the development of their personal and social competencies.

4. The legal setup of the school and the school regulations provide the framework for parents to participate in decision making and to become actively involved in school activities.

These democratic principles and rights to engage are integrated and evidenced in our school especially concerning the following three stakeholder groups

1. Students beyond the classroom do have opportunities across all grades to participate in life at school and to influence decision making (class and school representatives and membership in other committees).

2. Parents as members of the German School Association Manila and as members of the parents association (GEB) can contribute to the development of the school and can be elected into committees (Board, class, or school representatives).

3. Teachers all apply democratic principles in their daily work. They can be elected to teacher’s representatives where they can impact the democratic process and where they can influence the general development of the school.


The German European School Manila has a renowned community service programme, where our school and our students have more than once been awarded prizes for their commitment to social activities. “Think globally, act locally” is our motto, and in the Philippines, finding ways of helping underprivileged people is just a matter of opening our eyes. Students, with the support of parents and teachers, are active in various projects around Manila. In grades 11 and 12, these activities converge into the “Creativity, Action, Service” (CAS) part of the IB Diploma Programme. It is the school philosophy that the students take responsibility and as much ownership of their projects as possible. A CAS coordinator supports the students and connects them to a network of help organisations. Direct contacts to underprivileged people in the school’s neighbourhood lead to caring interactions for the benefit of both parties. Social activities and community service are not limited to higher grades. They start at the primary level, are present in middle school, and converge into the aforementioned IBDP CAS programme.


Our sections and academic programmes in detail


The Kindergarten of the German European School Manila has two sections, the German Section composed of the Kindergarten and Vorschule; and the International Section composed of the Kindergarten and Pre-Primary. The Kindergarten section believes in a well-balanced, holistic education that acknowledges the child as an individual and supports all aspects of his/her development that enables the child to discover and develop strategies for dealing with the world around them. All events such as Lanternfest, Project Week, Easter, and Farewell Festivities are celebrated with all classes of both sections.

The International Section offers a curriculum for English speaking families or English learners whose educational philosophy is based on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, IB PYP.

The German Section offers a curriculum for German-speaking families or German learners whose educational philosophy is based on the Thüringer Bildungsplan (Curriculum of Thuringia).

Apart from the general German support within the child’s group by the classroom teacher, each child will be having additional systematic language support in German outside her/ his group. Before the actual start of the regular lessons in German as a second language (DaZ/Deutsch als Zweitsprache) the language abilities of each child will be assessed by using appropriate and scientifically recognised methods. Based on these assessments, the children will be divided into learning groups of six according to their level of language acquisition and required support rather than their age.


The German Grundschule (primary section)


The German Primary Section (from grade 1 to grade 4) smoothly builds upon the curriculum used in the Vorschule by using the Primary curricula of the Federal States of Thüringen, following German standards in all subjects. Classes 4 and 5 serve as the transition from elementary school to secondary level and are based on each other as to methods of instruction. Children who return to Germany will face no difficulties. Grade 3 students annually participate in renowned German centralised tests (“Kompetenztests”) in the subjects German and Mathematics. In line with modern German teaching standards, „Wochenplanstunden“is integrated into the timetable to support each student individually and to stimulate independent learning.

At the German Grundschule language learning is considered as particularly important. In continuation of the programme used in Preschool, the proficiency in German will be tested again in grade 1, and students will accordingly receive individual or group support. Furthermore, students learn English starting in grade 2. In Grade 4 and 5, Filipino is taught to give them a better understanding of the country they reside in.

Regular festivities throughout the year offer a platform where exchange with the International Section, the Preschool, as well as the Kindergarten, take place.


International Primary Section

The International Primary Section of the German European School Manila is an accredited ‘IBO World School’ and follows the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, IB PYP, an internationally devised programme that focuses on the development of the whole child, both in the classroom and the world outside. The curriculum is developed through inquiries into six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, supported and balanced by six subject areas.

The Primary school operates from Grades 1-5 (6 to 11 years old), and lessons are delivered in English. Students in the International Section also receive four lessons a week in German as a Foreign Language (DaF). Students who do not have English as a mother tongue language are also offered additional ESL classes to help them integrate into their regular classes.

Each year the Primary school hold their ‘Student-Led Conference’ SLC where they showcase the work they have produced to family and friends. In addition to this, at the end of Grade 5, students present a whole school Exhibition where they choose one unit of global significance and create an interactive exhibition to present their findings.

Cultural events are coordinated together with the German Grundschule in line with European and German traditions and include St Martins and our annual Easter Egg Hunt.


International Secondary School


The International Secondary School Section of the German European School Manila runs from Grades 6 through 10. Grades 6 through 8, referred to as ‘Middle School,’ prepare students for Grades 9 and 10 when they begin to follow the curriculum for the International GCSE examinations, which are taken at the end of year 10. Students in Grades 6 through 8 also receive four periods a week German as a Foreign Language (DaF) and are introduced to French as a Foreign Language. In Sciences they study General Science which combines the three sciences into one subject.

At the end of Grade 8, students are given their core subjects and options for Grades 9 and 10. Core subjects (compulsory) are English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology and German (for students who are unable to take German based on their proficiency they can choose Business Studies instead) They then can also choose a further four subjects from the following 8 options: Physics, Music, French, History, Chemistry, Geography, Art and ICT. They also study Physical Education and Ethics but these 2 subjects are not taken at the IGCSE examination level.

The IGCSE’s are taken in international schools in over 100 countries around the world and are internationally recognised and tailored with international students in mind. They are examined externally in May and June of Grade 10. Students who opt to take IGCSE German are also required to sit the Deutsche Sprachdiplom 1 (DSD1).

Subjects, which include English, French, and P.E., are combined with students from the German Section, and students from both sections participate together in special classes with cross-cultural content and Extra-Curricular Activities.

After completion of the IGCE exams and dependent on grades received, students are then eligible to join the IBDP in Grades 11 and 12.


The German Sekundarstufe (secondary school)  

The German Secondary School Section (Sekundarstufe 1) of the German European School Manila prepares students for recognised German diplomas after grades 9 and 10, namely the Hauptschulabschluss after grade 9, the Realschulabschluss after Grade 10, and the Berechtigung zum Eintritt in die Qualifikationsstufe der Gymnasialen Oberstufe after Grade 10, the latter allowing students to enrol for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) at our school, or enter a German Gymnasium. The curriculum on all levels closely follows German standards, taken primarily from the federal state of Thüringen. German textbooks are used for teaching. English, French, and P.E. classes are combined with students from the International Section, and students from both sections participate together in elective courses and Extra-Curricular Activities. English language immersion is not only a word but a living practice at GESM.

In grades 6 and 8, our students participate in standardised tests (“Kompetenztests”) in the subjects German, English, and Mathematics, as it is good practice in many federal states of Germany. Our second language is French, at the same time allowing for personalised support in other languages, for example, Latin, if a student needs to continue with that language. We also have support in French for those students who need to catch up. The level of instruction at GESM is equivalent to a German Gymnasium, at the same time allowing space and individual support for those students who are pursuing the branches of Realschule or Hauptschule.

The GESM has an institutionalised support programme for Mathematics and German: Part of the weekly hours are split into a standard course and an extension course. This allows for tailor-made academic support for Mathematics and German.

Also, a wide range of elective courses (ranging from additional language support, or new languages like Mandarin, to the sciences and theatre and music) are offered, together with the International Section.

It is the policy of GESM to support and stimulate the academically excellent student with appropriate challenges, while at the same time supporting, encouraging and fully respecting the students with a more practical approach. In line with the GESM’s general philosophy, personalised support is the central guideline of our German School.


International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme of the German European School Manila is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education that prepares students, usually aged 16-19, for success at university and life beyond. The language of IB at GESM is English, but History and Biology are also offered in German.  


Diploma students take six subjects, write a 4,000 word extended (research) essay, complete a critical thinking course called Theory of Knowledge, and get involved in several creative, action and service (CAS) projects. The subjects offered at GESM are English, German, French, Spanish, History (German), Economics, Psychology, Biology (English/German), Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics SL, Mathematical Studies, and Visual Arts.


With our choice of courses, we are trying to meet the needs of every single student. If a course is required or demanded by our students, we have the ability and flexibility to offer it.

The IB diploma is widely recognised by the world’s leading universities and is highly regarded in most countries. IB Diploma students are often allowed to enter US universities at the Sophomore level, in Britain IB Diploma graduates take preference over students with British A-levels. A good IB diploma is an excellent starting position in the run for international scholarships.

The IB-diploma can be certified as German Hochschul­zugangsberechtigung (Abitur) if certain conditions are met (for example, at least one science or mathematics at a higher level).

Students who are particularly interested in the German Abitur and the German language can register for the Multilanguage International Baccalaureate (Gemischtsprachiges Internationales Baccalaureate, GIB). In that unique programme, two subjects, namely Biology and History (Geschichte), are taught in German.

Music School

In addition to their regular music class, students who are interested in learning a musical instrument are allowed to do so in parallel to their academic programme. Our Music School allows students to learn instruments like piano, guitar, and drums. Students are allowed to skip one or two hours of regular class every week when the instrument classes take place. It is the responsibility of the student to make up for those academic classes they have swapped for the music class.


Extra-Curricular Activities (ECA) at GESM, Afternoon activities in Kindergarten and Preschool

In our after-school programme, we want students to extend their educational experience. We provide opportunities to develop skills and gain confidence in several recreational activities. A range of sports and other activities are offered in the afternoon for the youngest students in a safe and fun atmosphere.


Extra-Curricular Activities in Primary and Secondary School (ECA)


In addition to the academic programme, we offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities that extend the educational experience in recreational areas. A range of activities keep students fit and active and develop skills for life-long enthusiasm and interest in sports and cultural commitment. The ECAs are offered in synergy with the French School.