As of March 16, 340 pupils from the war zone in Ukraine have arrived in schools in Schleswig-Holstein. Education Minister Karin Prien (CDU) gave this figure on Thursday at a press conference in the Landeshaus. According to Prien, another 143 young refugees were waiting in state shelters to be distributed to municipalities and appropriate schools. “We have a historical and moral responsibility to welcome them and send them to school as soon as possible,” said the minister. The aim is to make life as bearable as possible for children and young people in the current circumstances. The education ministers of the Länder made similar statements last week at their conference in Lübeck.
“German as a second language” (DaZ) as structure
Prien again spoke about the structures that had been put in place in the education system since the refugee crisis of 2015. They have never been dismantled. “German as a second language” (DaZ) has proven itself in the classroom, says Prien. The DaZ centers in the country would now – depending on the number of refugees – be staffed with more staff. In some cases, new classes should be created. Ukrainian pupils must be able to find their bearings as quickly as possible, said the Minister of Education, adding: “All this will be very expensive”. The state government wants to save the corresponding funds with a supplementary budget.
GEW asks for quick and unbureaucratic help
Astrid Henke, regional chair of the education union GEW, said she was confident that all school workers would be committed to the welfare of children who had fled. The state and municipalities should help schools quickly and without bureaucracy. In order to be able to meet the current challenge, they need personnel, money and space.
Ukrainian schoolchildren are literate
Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Education stressed that refugees from Ukraine cannot be compared to those from Afghanistan or Syria in 2015 and 2016 in terms of school attendance. Ukrainian children learn English in the classroom and are literate. The ministry assumes that they will be able to learn German and integrate much faster in comparison.
Prien: Learning German will be important
Prien rejected education based on the Ukrainian model and system. This was suggested by the Consul General of Ukraine last week. According to Prien, you cannot create a second school system parallel to the German system. According to her, learning German will also be necessary: ”None of us knows when people will be able to return to Ukraine.” It could take longer “when you see the Russian army destroying cities like Mariupol,” the minister said.
Online School for Ukrainian Degree
The country wants to offer an online solution to students who would have graduated in Ukraine this year. Negotiations are underway with a private online school in Ukraine through which students could obtain a Ukrainian degree. A large German foundation wants to cover the costs, says Prien. According to the current state, there are 13 students who are in Schleswig-Holstein.
A working group is to clarify how Ukrainian teachers can be deployed quickly and without bureaucracy in the German school system. It was decided by the Conference of Ministers of Education and should start work on Friday.