The concrete structure at Alter Weg in Dawn is still gray and airy. The university preparatory located on the site of the former bread factory is the largest project undertaken by the Lieber Foundation to date. CEO Doris G. Lepper and Executive Vice President Tyrone Winbush visit the site regularly to see how the work is progressing. It’s been a few weeks since the last visit. The walls of the sixth floor are currently being formed. The house will have seven floors. “We’ll be at the top at the end of August,” promised site manager Eric Doll of Zenz Macifbau. “We’ve already built quite a few houses, but this is something very special,” says Doris G. Lepper. The concept of the educational institution comes from Junior Uni Wuppertal. “We’ll do just about everything there,” says Peter Lieber, chairman of the Lieber Foundation’s board of trustees.
Lepper got to know Junior Uni Wuppertal through a lecture at an event he didn’t want to listen to. But the concept excited him. At Junior Uni Daun, young people aged 4-20 must attend courses primarily dedicated to so-called MINT subjects (Mathematics, Computer Science, Natural Science and Technology) without stressing on grades. Especially for the little ones, knowledge should be imparted in a playful way. “Kids should ask questions,” Doris J. Lieber says. For this reason, for example, all cables that are routed under the roof in the building remain visible. Children should develop a technical understanding.
Junior Uni program adapted to children’s interests
There is already a preconceived notion of future courses during the current summer break. At the end of August, there will be a hacker training course for children aged seven to ten years. At the beginning of September, children between the ages of 11 and 14 can learn something about the “Moon and the Celestial Giants” in collaboration with the Astronomical Society Vulkan Eifel am hoch List eV. When the university preparatory starts, the program that will be offered at that time is not yet fixed. It must be adapted to the interests of the participants. Mint subjects are often what schools lack, says Doris J. Lieber. Peter Lieber is also keeping an eye on the future of the industry to which TechniSat also belongs. Technisat was founded by Peter Lieber and now belongs to the Lieber Foundation. In his opinion, the interest and training of young employees also serves to secure the future. “We need more IT workers who are also learning the steps of production. We have to do more in developing electronic components, for example,” he says.
For this reason there are also considerations regarding the possibility of offering a dual study program at the Preparatory University later. “You’ll then have to apply for it politically,” Lieber says. Space is already calculated for this. Coming from the steel industry, we think in tons. “It’s better to think generously now than not having space later,” says Peter Lieber. “We want the young people to stay here. We don’t want Dawn to become a grandfather.” Doris J. Lieber adds that this is why there is so much support. from management. It is also important for both to guide children from so-called “educationally disadvantaged backgrounds” to education and to show that learning can be fun. This support is also important to Doris J. Lieber for personal reasons. At an early age she taught herself as a teacher. Her studies were made possible through a scholarship.
“After the summer break, we want to start recruiting lecturers in a targeted manner,” she explains. “We’ve had requests from people who want to teach classes,” Weinbush adds. “It is important that teachers and young students come in,” Doris J. Lieber said. A twelve-bed house will be built, where there should also be accommodation for the lecturers. Peter Lieber explains that “all lecturers, regardless of whether they are professors or students, get the same money.” University prep should be widely envisioned. This applies, among other things, to the flight. “For example, there is a problem with how the children get here. We are sorting that out,” says Doris J. Lieber. On the ground floor of the junior university there will also be accommodations, such as a café for “attendants.” Performances are also planned. To the expecting grandparents, these could be courses on how to use smartphones, for example. By the way, no fees should be paid to participate in courses at Junior Uni. “The institution is responsible for everything, the fees will be discriminatory,” says Peter Lieber.