A new challenge: Ukrainian children and German schools. – Opinion

They’re stories the network loves, and you’ll find plenty of them there. Stories of children who have fled Ukraine, who are sitting on their laptops in their German accommodation and taught online from Berlin, Munich or Erfurt via their Ukrainian learning platform. Everyone immediately understands the message of these stories: In the midst of a terrible war, Ukraine is doing exactly what was not really working in Germany during the two years of the pandemic and also in the fifth wave: effective digital lessons. Corona and refugees from Ukraine – the two massive challenges to the German school system in March 2022 in one tweet.

The Corona pandemic is not over in schools, the number of infections is high everywhere and many students and teachers are sick. It is an entire regime on the edge of its powers, and now it is faced with another major task: according to the current situation, 240 thousand people have arrived in Germany, many will follow, and a large percentage of them are children. In addition to medical care and accommodation, the issue of care and education will be crucial in the coming months.

The Conference of Culture Ministers (KMK) and Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger announced their plans: they want to rely on the so-called welcome classes, an organizational effort to enable Ukrainian children to settle into the German school system; A task force from KMK now wants to work out the details, while the Ukrainian Consul General in Hamburg made it clear to education ministers assembled a few days ago that Ukraine does not attach any importance to the integration of refugee children into the German school system. Instead, students should continue to be educated digitally from their home country, because Ukrainians do not intend to stay in Germany for long. In addition, the German curriculum is very friendly to Russia. Since then, discussions about the will to integrate, compulsory education, and teacher shortages have been in full swing.

The truth, of course, is that unfortunately no one knows how long the Ukrainian people will remain in Germany, because no one knows how long this war will last. Because it is not entirely clear how much of the homeland of those who fled will be left when it ends. In Mariupol, Vladimir Putin shows very clearly how far his will to destroy goes. One would at least have to prepare for the possibility that many Ukrainian children would go to school in Germany in the long run.

School is not only a place of education but also a place of synergy. This should now also apply to children who have fled Ukraine

German education policy must finally succeed in allowing the pragmatism to spread here that was often missing in the Corona period. Federal states and the federal government will have to make efforts to find different solutions for different children. A young man who is about to graduate, for example, cannot be deprived of the opportunity to complete his education in Ukraine in digital classes. But putting thousands of children, including very young ones, in front of digital devices and relying entirely on the continued functioning of the local education system would be an evasion of responsibility. If Germany has learned anything in the past two years, it must be that school is more than just a place to impart knowledge. The school is a place of synergy – it is also a home for many children. The school provides the structure and daily life, which the children and their mothers, most of whom have fled alone, urgently need.

If there is no savings in financial resources, if there is a will to really invest this money in schools, if Germany succeeds in thinking about the needs of children, then this will eventually be an opportunity to go to school again to be understood differently: as a space that attracts children. But this requires resources, teachers need training and employment, as well as social workers and trauma therapists. It is urgent (and incidentally also politically) to invest now in the future of these children, regardless of whether they will live as adults in Germany or in the democratic Ukraine we hope to rebuild.

In Eric Kastner’s wonderful anti-war book “The Animals Conference” of 1948, the three organizers, the lion Alois, the giraffe Leopold and the elephant Oscar, had a group of spiders and weavers that wove the peace conference logo. on the banner. “It’s about the kids!” he is here. kitschy? Sure, but that’s still true in 2022. And you’ll tune into a tweet at any time.

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