Young Ukrainians in Germany: integration successful, how good?


More than 200,000 Ukrainian children attend school in Germany. Success? Not necessarily, say parents’ associations and researchers.

students in the classroom

Ukrainian students at a primary school in Berlin in March Photo: Markus Schreiber/ap/picture alliance

BERLIN taz | The integration of Ukrainian students into the German school system has been largely successful – at least in terms of numbers. Almost ten months after the start of Russia’s war of aggression, more than 200,000 children and young people who fled Ukraine are attending classes in this country.

“This is a great integrative achievement of our school system,” Karin Prien, chairperson of the Conference of Ministers of Education (KMK), said at a press conference on Tuesday.s integration of media services. Prien emphasized that the federal states reacted quickly, based on the 2015-2016 experience and formed a working group at the beginning of March. In many federal states, refugees are required to attend school from day one.

Natalie Roesler of the Federal Network of Migrant Organizations for Parent Education and Participation (bbt) is also very pleased with the development. “In the beginning, many students have a parallel am Online lessons from Ukraine participated,” she says. But now their number has decreased significantly. “The desire to integrate into the German school system is growing.”

Regardless, Roesler believes action is needed. She knows from Ukrainian parents that schools do not accept their children due to lack of space or staff. One Mediendienstes Integration search This is confirmed. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, at the end of October, around 1,000 children were waiting at the local school, and according to media reports, 1,600 in Berlin.

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The need for action is apparent

KMK President Prien admitted that there are still problems “here and there”. However, it is completely normal for a child not to go to school on the first day of their arrival in Germany. But the lack of seats is not the only criticism of the Roesler Association. Among other things, bbt would like to see more counseling services for parents. Often the only way to do this is through volunteering. “This support for families needs to be nationwide and funded,” Roesler says.

Berlin-based migration researcher Juliane Karakayali’s assessment is even more critical. For example, Ukrainian students are often overstayed in classes, even though separating them from other students results in lower learning outcomes and can be stigmatizing. Among others, Karakayali refers to one Current research at RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research in food Accordingly, refugees who initially enter prep school are less likely to transition to high school.

How refugee children are taught varies from state to state. In six states – including Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Thuringia – refugee children are studying alongside other pupils this school year. In others, they are initially taught separately until their German is sufficient for regular classes. Bavaria, NRW, Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt have different models.

At Karakayali, this quilt is a sign that since 2016 little improvement. In particular, it misses uniform teaching guidelines: “Many federal states do not have a curriculum for welcome classes and there are no clear criteria for when children should move to a regular classroom,” says Karakayali. In reality, children are placed in general education classes because of a lack of resources such as staff.

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Ukrainian teachers should help

KMK president Prien reiterated that students in the welcome class should, of course, have a “clear approach to regular lessons.” For this reason, KMK would have initiated a simplified transfer of Ukrainian teachers to the German school system.

Their state of Schleswig-Holstein has already hired 160 Ukrainian teachers. However, it is not that simple, because Ukrainian teachers usually only have a bachelor’s degree – KMK standards, however, provide for a master’s degree.

According to the Migration Media Service, about 3,000 Ukrainian teachers were accepted across the country, but mostly not as full-time teachers, but only…

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