Hamburg: After the holidays, school for Ukrainian children begins

Hamburg War refugees in Hamburg

School for Ukrainian children will also start next week

There are also many children and young people among those who have fled Ukraine.  They will soon go to school in Hamburg

There are also many children and young people among those who have fled Ukraine. They will soon go to school in Hamburg

Source: dpa / Waltraud Grubitzsch

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At least 14,000 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Hamburg so far, including many children and young people. The school board expects thousands of new students. School enrollment begins after the March holidays.

hHamburg’s school authorities are preparing for thousands of schoolchildren who fled Ukraine after the March holidays. “We currently assume that around a quarter of all Ukrainian refugees are children and young people of school age,” said a spokesperson for the German news agency’s school board. Most of them, about 80%, will be taught in general schools, about 20% in vocational schools.

According to domestic authorities, some 14,000 war refugees have arrived in Hamburg since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in violation of international law. As many as 7,000 had already been fully registered in the initial reception center, which means that the data on children and young people also ended up with the school authorities. “Education is compulsory for all refugee children,” the spokesperson stressed. Their legal guardians should then report to the school information center in order to assess which class and which school the child should attend.

107 additional preparatory classes

“We want to be well prepared and be able to welcome at least as many refugee children into schools as were at the peak of the refugee wave in 2015/16,” the spokesperson said. At that time, according to information, there were 525 so-called international preparatory classes and core classes in Hamburg schools. There are currently 225. “It is planned to set up another 300 preparatory classes in the coming weeks.”

When school starts after Monday’s holidays, 107 additional preparatory classes in 41 locations are expected to be ready to start. There are a total of around 470 general and vocational schools in Hamburg with around 254,000 students.

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In order to find a sufficient number of teachers for additional students, it has already been written to former teachers and teachers with good knowledge of German whose teaching qualifications have not yet been recognized in Hamburg. “Ukrainian teachers are also sought to teach refugee students, teach their mother tongue, translate and take exams,” the spokesperson said. The school authorities’ crisis management team has already asked Ukrainian auxiliary staff, representing the community, that Ukrainian-German teachers who arrive in Hamburg and are registered report directly to the authorities.

GEW wants fair distribution and more skilled workers

A spokeswoman for the school authorities said: “Children of the first and second grades are directly admitted to regular classes and learn the Latin alphabet and German together with the children of Hamburg.” Furthermore, they would be especially encouraged in German. Older children attend international preparatory classes where they first learn German and then other school subjects. After a year at the latest, they should move on to the normal class.

The GEW teachers union spoke of a great challenge. “We expect school authorities to ensure that children and young people who have fled are equally distributed in all parts of the city and in all schools, including high schools,” said Sven Quiring, president of the Hamburg GEW.

Further specialists are also urgently needed, especially in the field of school social work and psychology, as well as language training. “Because now there is an increasing need for both trauma skills and teachers for ‘German as a second language’ and mother tongue specialists,” Quiring said.

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The House of Parents in Hamburg welcomed the fact that the school authorities already had information in Ukrainian. However, he also pointed out that schools already lack school psychologists, health workers and social workers. However, the Parents’ Association is in a good mood that teachers and everyone involved in the school are “doing everything to make it easier for all children to have the best possible start in the school system,” said the president of the school. ‘Alexandra Fragopoulo Parents Association.

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