About Nelson Mandela School


The school provides quality bilingual education to children from a wide variety of backgrounds. English and German are our school’s official languages, but we do not stop at introducing our students just to German and Anglo-American values and traditions. As a truly international school and a member of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network (ASP), it is our business to acquaint our students with as many different aspects of life on this planet as possible – and to enable them to make a positive difference wherever they go. Being named after Mr. Mandela, sub-Saharan Africa in general and South Africa in particular have a special place in our hearts, and we try and let that show wherever and whenever we can – be it in our classrooms or beyond. As a community-oriented school, we also co-operate intensively with a large number of local partners beyond the school gates here in Berlin – thinking globally and acting locally. Within our school, we foster the idea of the school community wherever we can. Co-operation between students, staff and parents is intensive on all levels.

Students and Staff

Defining ourselves as a miniature United Nations is a common sense approach at a school whose students come from over 60 different countries. One classroom routinely combines students from countries as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Germany, India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the U.S. – to name but a few of the nationalities represented in our student body. The school’s staff is just as diverse. Pedagogues from Australia, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States teach at the school. Many of them also have a long personal history of expatriate work in other countries all across the globe. Those experiences enrich our teaching even further.


The Nelson Mandela School was founded in 2000 by the state government of Berlin. It is a member of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project, the European Council of International Schools and the International Baccalaureate Organisation. It enrols students from year 1 through years 12/13. At the end of year 10, Nelson Mandela students qualify for the various German lower secondary schoolleaving certificates. Students attending our upper secondary section can either graduate with a bilingual German-English Abitur, which can be completed in two or three years, or the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB). As a government-funded school, the school does not charge tuition fees. The IB examination fees and other IB-related costs, however, have to be financed by the students’ families.


Our specific school curriculum reflects our mission and the diversity of our school population. Everything we do is done with a global perspective in mind. In all subjects, the school ensures the development of hard knowledge, consummate skills and the greatest possible ability to assess and solve problems. Our teaching, however, does not just provide for the intellectual growth of our students. The Nelson Mandela School subscribes to the ideal of the 19th century Swiss educational philosopher Pestalozzi: ‘learning with head, heart and hand’. To facilitate that, intensive language and communication skills tuition is provided both on an inter-personal and an intercultural level.

A considerable part of our teaching is cross-curricular and does not stop at the school gate: We take our students on field-trips and excursions, we provide them with work-experience opportunities, and we are currently developing a community service programme for them. As a UNESCO school and member of the European Union’s COMENIUS network, the Nelson Mandela School regularly brings together its own students and staff with their peers in other countries. Our network of partners abroad currently includes educational establishments in Australia, China, the Czech Republic, France, Haiti, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Poland and South Africa.


All classes are taught in either English or German. The teaching of those two languages itself is organized in mother-tongue and partner-tongue classes. Children who are truly bilingual have the opportunity to do both languages on a mother-tongue level. Children who are new to the country and have a working knowledge of English but no German receive special tuition in German to allow them to attend regular German classes within two years. Each class is an equal mix of English and German mother-tongue students. Two class-teachers (one German, one English-speaking) and, in the primary, an educator accompany each class through the school year providing pastoral care as well as tuition.

Why we are a UNESCO School

As an international school that lives international understanding and cooperation on a daily basis, we already function as a miniature United Nations. Accordingly, understanding our school community as just that constitutes one of the central aspects, if not the central aspect, of our school identity.

Our membership of UNESCO's Associated Schools Project (ASP) provides a fitting framework for the kind of school life that is typical of us and the resulting school identity that makes our school so distinct. That framework is important for us for three reasons:

  • It puts even more into focus on who we are and how we see ourselves.
  • It allows us to link our school community to similarly oriented schools and other like-minded institutions and to develop a fruitful cooperation with them.
  • In accordance with our vision, it helps us to integrate even more prominently into our teaching programmes concerns that are already dear to us.

As an international school with a global perspective, the Nelson Mandela School promotes especially any theoretical and practical work on the following key aspects: human rights, peace & international cooperation, tolerance & intercultural learning, a fair exchange between rich and poor and a responsible use of the environment. Those key aspects are also the key concerns of the ASP idea.

Our Turf: Planet Earth. The ASP network is our natural home.