Dr. Sarah Fichtner

Project Manager / Senior Researcher
Dr. Sarah Fichtner

Dr. Sarah Fichtner

Project Manager / Senior Researcher, Senior Researcher
+49 (0)30 8471 223-0

Dr. Sarah Fichtner has been working as a senior researcher and project manager in the field of school research at FiBS since July 2020. In this role, she leads the Cornelsen School Leadership Study and the evaluation of the Lions Quest program “Erwachsen handeln”.

Dr. Fichtner is a social anthropologist with many years of experience in qualitative empirical educational research in sub-Saharan Africa and Germany. She is interested in the process of "doing school" and what it takes to shape the school of the future. On the one hand, her focus is on the micropolitics of schools, their organisation and administration. On the other hand, she analyses the implementation and translation of pedagogical approaches that focus on life skills and relationship work. Her third research focus is on childhood experiences in the context of flight and migration.


Dr. Fichtner completed several field studies in Tanzania, Benin, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Among other things, she accompanied the principal of a village primary school in Benin in his daily work for one school year. In Germany, she carried out qualitative research and evaluations for the Institut für Innovation und Beratung at the Evangelische Hochschule Berlin and on behalf of UNICEF.


After completing her studies of social anthropology, political sciences and economics at the Freie Universität Berlin, she did her PhD at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany in 2011. Her doctoral thesis was published in 2012 under the title “The NGOisation of Education. Case Studies from Benin”.


As a postdoc at the research centre Les Afriques dans le Monde at SciencesPo Bordeaux, Dr. Fichtner led the research project “Models, Practices and Cultures of School Institutions in West Africa“ from 2012 to 2015. Subsequently, she was a research fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy Berlin.


Sarah Fichtner uses a combination of text and film to communicate her research results. Examples are the clips and the feature film “ChangeWriters macht Schule“ ( ), short documentaries on educational topics in Africa for the platform Web Edu TV ( ), and “La PAP à Kisangani – démarches et défis” about the evaluation of a teacher training programme funded by Bread for the World in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Fichtner publishes regularly in French, English and German.

Selected projects

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