The schools are well prepared for Ukrainian children

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Of: Stefano Weil

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The schools in the districts of Wetterau and Vogelsberg are preparing for the integration of children and young people. SYMBOL PHOTO: BELCHONOCK / PANTHERMEDIA © pv

The war in Ukraine triggered a wave of refugees. In particular, many children and young people of school age are also expected in the region. An atmospheric photo from Upper Hesse.

Registering with the competent authorities obliges you to attend school. “We are well prepared for this,” says Dr. Rosemarie zur Heiden, head of the state education authority for the district of Wetterau and the districts of Hochtaunus and Wetterau. »A few years ago we had to manage a refugee crisis with the Syrians. At that time, structures were created and experience was gained that we can now build on. “

The main goal is for new students to learn German. Only in this way can they follow the lessons and be integrated into the class, according to the head teacher. If there is sufficient knowledge of the German language, young refugees could also be placed directly in the normal educational facilities. But this is certainly the exception.

close to home assignment

Therefore, new students are initially followed in intensive classes. “We carry out the assignment in cooperation with the schools,” says Rosemarie zur Heiden. The minimum class size is approximately ten students. “We will then see which intensive classes still have room for more admissions.” Refugees need not worry about the costs incurred for using local public transport. “Travel expenses will be covered by government agencies.” It is also possible to include children in regular classes and give them intensive support with additional teachers.

However, being assigned to a school in another town or municipality can cause problems, as the example of Scotland shows. “At the moment we don’t have an intensive lesson. The next location in the Vogelsberg district that offers such a facility is the Geschwister-Scholl-School in Alsfeld, “says Norbert Schwing, head of the Vogelsberg school. But: it is actually not reasonable to use public transport every day to get to Alsfeld and come back: “We are trying a different path,” says Schwing. Three new Ukrainian students are enrolled in middle school, boys aged 13, 14 and 16. Young people have been admitted to normal classes. Communication takes place – in part – in English language. “We also have a student who speaks Ukrainian.” Schwing also refers to the iPads the school has borrowed from the district. “You can communicate quite well with translation programs.”

Whether an intensive classroom will be established in Scotland, as was the case during the wave of refugees from Syria; will decide soon. “You can’t predict it yet.” The guidelines for the next few weeks are clearly established. »After admission to school, the focus is on learning the German language. And: new students should be integrated, they should receive structure in their new living environment, “Schwing says.

experience from 90’s

Incidentally, the Schotten school has a lot of experience in this regard. »When many Russo-Germans moved to Germany in the early 1990s, we faced this challenge, as we did later when we welcomed refugees from war zones. Sometimes we had to start learning the alphabet, but we were also able to accompany the young people up to their level of maturity », Norbert Schwing points out.

So far, the Konradsdorf Cooperative Middle School has also welcomed three children, says headmistress Birgit Bingel. »There is no automatism for the integration process. We decide on a case-by-case basis, according to age, level of education and language skills. In middle school, pupils with little or no knowledge of German initially receive additional support in classes where German is taught intensively as a second language. »After one or two years, it is possible to upgrade to a regular class. If necessary, we offer additional German courses up to grades, «says the director. “We also need to keep an eye on space. Because usually the work is done in small groups. “

In this context, the head of the school authority, Rosemarie zur Heiden, suggests making more use of the afternoons for intensive lessons. »Our rooms are usually fully occupied. But there are fewer classes in the afternoons, so there is more freedom. “In the current situation, a lot of flexibility is needed,” stresses the head of the office. Above all, you need to react to short-term developments. “At the moment, the intensive classes are readjusted every three months, we may have to do it monthly.”

In Gedern, at the middle school, the situation is currently still calm, as headmaster Thomas Dauth reports. “We already have a request, but no registration yet.” Intensive classes are less of a problem in her school. “In the past, we only had this special facility once for a year and a half,” says Dauth. The school will then wait and see. “But I assume the demand will increase.”

if necessary distributed personnel

His school is not too equipped with teachers. »Gedern is a bit out of the way in terms of transportation. This causes major problems, including in relation to local public transport. This prevents many people from being professionally involved in the Gederner School. «Thomas Dauth reports that young refugees from Ukraine are welcome in his school. “We are prepared for this. If necessary, we withdraw teachers from other areas to support students in the best possible way as they start out in their new living environment. “

In connection with the war events in Ukraine but also with the two-year-old Corona, the parents’ council of the Wetteraukreis criticizes the “persistent lack of space and personnel”. The schools in Wetterau were already struggling with the increase in the number of students. “Class cancellations are on the agenda,” according to parental representatives. In addition to this task for the Hessian Ministry of Education, districts are also required as school authorities. To quickly create more school space, forward-looking school development planning and optimization in the planning and implementation of construction projects are required. bw

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