Exclusive: Despite Being Average, Germans Still Believe They Are the Best on Earth

by DR. SAMI ALRABAA September 16, 2009
The Germans could learn a lot from the Americans. But they do not. On the contrary; they incessantly blast the Americans for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also caricature Americans as “naïve,” “greedy,” and “tough on the poor.”
The Germans are selfish. They want a world free of terror, but they do not want to make their hands dirty. The German ethnocentrism and racism are expressions of selfishness. After two world wars and an egregious Holocaust invoked by the Germans themselves, they cannot reconcile themselves with the fact that they are an ordinary part of the world community.
If you mention the “Germans,” people around the world would generally associate them with “hard work,” “efficiency,” and “punctuality.” But is all that really true? Or is it part of an old legacy propagated by the Nazis?
Only if you live in Germany for a long time and check out international statistics will you discover that the Germans on the same level – or below – as most industrialized nations. This applies to sports, industry, and education.
Let’s begin with education – with German schools. According to all studies of the “Program for International Student Assessment” (PISA) completed by the Organization of European Cooperation and Development (OECD), German pupils lag behind their peers in Finland, Sweden, Britain, and France, in terms of performance in mathematics, reading comprehension, writing, and natural sciences.  
However, figures and statistics are too cold and too general. Therefore, I decided to find out for myself how real the findings of PISA are. I took off some time and volunteered to teach English and Spanish at three different secondary German schools in the heart of Germany, in Nord-Rhein-Westphalia. Here are some of my observations:
First of all, 20-30 percent of the teaching staff arrives 5-10 minutes late to class.
The average class size at most German schools is 30 students. With this size, no reasonable teaching and learning is possible. This is, in fact, a scandal in a wealthy nation like Germany.
At the beginning of my task as a school teacher, I was asked to accompany a young English language teacher. She was jolly, communicative, and smart. She would spend the first 10-15 minutes of the class time (out of 45 minutes) chatting more about private things than about relevant ones pertaining to class business. She would, for example, tell her students what she had done over the weekend. The students, of course, enjoyed that. The last 5-10 minutes were also spent on irrelevant matters.
Practically speaking, teaching and exercising was limited to 20 minutes. 
Two weeks later, I accompanied a male English language teacher. He also wasted a lot of time on stressing disciplinary practices and measures. More than one third of the class was made up of disruptors; they would engage themselves and their classmates in everything but paying attention to the teaching material and teacher’s explanation. Some of them suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or AD/HD).
Friedrich, the teacher, would throw some disturbers out of class. He asked them to wait outside the classroom. In the corridor, they were noisier than inside the classroom. They were laughing and giggling all the time.
One day, Friedrich returned an exam. Almost all of the disruptors received low grades, predominantly “Fs.” Instead of being upset or sad, they were loudly giggling and saying “I’ve got an F.”
Students who score “As” and “Bs,” show interest in learning and are active in class are branded as “Streber” (overachiever) by their classmates.    
When I asked some of those students who received “Fs” why they were not upset about their grades, one of them said, “Why should I be? After school I’m going to be Hartz IV-Empfänger (I’m going to live on the state welfare system). I hate school.” 
Over 1.3 million jobless in Germany live on the state welfare system. They receive all their expenses funded in monthly payments including rent, electricity, heating, etc. And on top of that, they receive pocket money (an allowance) of over € 350 per adult, €150 for each child.
At the three schools where I taught – which are representative for the majority of German schools (by the way, over 90 percent of German schools are public and financed by the state) – I can safely say that the most important problem is discipline. There is a major lack of discipline at German schools.
When Bernhard Bueb published his book Lob der Disziplin (Discipline is Praised), he was confronted with a roaring wave of protest by leftist teachers and parents. He was accused of being a Nazi. The majority of protestors belong to the 1968 generation who revolted against the lifestyle of their parents which they describe as Nazi, i.e. “authoritarian and strict.”
Some teachers have resigned themselves to indulgence. One teacher told me, “I don’t care any longer. I used to care. But no longer. Who cares? The school director/headteacher does everything possible to please the local education authority (die Bezirksregierung). They hush up problems with disturbing pupils.” 
Most recently, the ministry of education published a report in which it says that pupils who fail to pass their classes cost the state one billion euros a year. The ministry urges its local education authorities to do everything possible to minimize the number of “repeaters.” In other words, make them pass although they do not deserve that.
I thought that only schools in the so-called Third World, like in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (where I taught for a while) are corrupt. I thought that Germany – the best in the world – is less corrupt. I was wrong.
For example, after submitting my final grades, a colleague called me up and asked me nicely to change the grade of a pupil from “F” to at least “C.” The “F” is not good for the reputation of the school. In other words, “reputation” comes first, not quality.
After I threw out a pupil out of one of my classes for repeatedly disturbing the class, the head-teacher was waiting for me in the playground with Dilara, the pupil. Ms. Hofmeister told me, “Dilara feels unfairly treated by you.” I felt like a classmate of Dilara as I attempted to justify throwing her out. Dilara was emboldened and triumphant.
The behavior of the head-teacher weakened my authority and fueled the lack of discipline. When I complained to the teacher representative, she shook her head in disgust and said, “This is, unfortunately, normal at German schools.”    
I hate to praise myself, but my Spanish pupils, the good ones, told me that in one year they learned more Spanish than English over the past five years.
After five years of English (four hours a day), the majority of pupils who leave school knowing how to say, at most, “Hi, how are you?”  
Additionally, every school year, mistakes are discovered in the so-called “Zentralprűfung,” a kind of Standard Assessment Test (SAT) in English, Mathematics, and German. Still, the Germans claim they are the best. 
Very few university students choose to become school teachers. They know from experience, as former pupils, that it is a headache job in a deficient system that lacks discipline and quality. Many German schools resemble detention camps. 
According to the German Department of Statistics, yearly 15-20,000 patients die in German hospitals due to wrong medical treatment. More than 5,000 people die in car accidents.
Also in sports, Germany is not the best in the world. In the latest Olympic Games in China and other international competitions, Germany was the sixth best. The majority of top football (soccer) players are non-Germans. They are Polish, Brazilian, French, and Turks.
In terms of industry, German machines are as good or as bad as Japanese, American, French, or British machines. Hence, the Germans are not the best, as the Germans allege.
Deep down, the majority of Germans are racist, ethnocentric, and arrogant. They divide the world into “we” and “they,” and the whole world must dance to the tune of the Germans.
One day, I accompanied a friend to a public authority to have an official matter settled. The “Beamtin” (civil servant) looked at him down because his German was weak. She grimaced at him all the time and was reluctant to help him. Finally, she urged him to learn German properly, as he now is living in Germany. I then intervened and gave the Beamtin a piece of my mind, “How about you, do you speak any foreign language perfectly?” She interrupted me and said, “We are in Germany and I don’t need that. I speak German, and I’m proud of being German. Besides, I travel only to German-speaking countries. Therefore, I don’t need a foreign language.”
That is how ethnocentric, short-sighted, and culturally-stiff some Germans are.
Indeed, the Germans travel quite a lot. But more often than not they stay amongst themselves. They rarely mix with the natives of a foreign country, and scarcely learn their language. In Kuwait, for instance, where I worked and lived for a while, I met many Germans. They spoke broken English. And Arabic? They never bothered to learn it. 
However, the Germans are the best in one area: in self-praise and discrimination. The evidence is very clear. They have waged two world wars and still discriminate against the Jews and other religious and ethnic minorities.  
Modesty is a virtue, but obviously it does not apply to our German friends.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, is a professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture specialist. He has taught at Kuwait University, King Saud University, and Michigan State University. He also writes for the Jerusalem Post.

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