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Munich

Parallel society: Ukrainian children in German schools

Around one million Ukrainians have left their homeland due to the war in recent months and sought refuge in Germany. Among the refugees are tens of thousands of children who are now going to school in Germany. But there are simply too many and the problems are mounting.

Published: December 2, 2022, 6:12 am

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    Educators responsible for foreign children have given up telling the success story of an integration that doesn’t exist.

    So-called “bridging classes” have been set up everywhere for Ukrainian schoolchildren, in which German language skills are taught more intensively. But to no avail – further support and integration have overwhelmed German teaching staff, the chairman of the Bavarian Philologists’ Association, Michael Schwägerl, had to admit.

    “We are experts in our subjects. As a rule, however, we are not interpreters for Ukrainian or Russian, we are not trauma experts either, and our time allotment does not allow us to provide psychosocial support in individual cases.” They need additional staff for practically everything.

    And there are massive problems: “The bridging classes are not normal German learning classes,” emphasized Dorothee Missy, who is a bridging class teacher at the grammar school in Mering near Augsburg. Lack of motivation, demarcation, aggression, disrespect, breaking the rules and other discipline problems as a reaction to the stressful situation are commonplace. “We also have a great deal of heterogeneity in terms of performance, motivation and willingness to perform.”

    In addition, the refugees often keep to themselves even months later. More than half of the teachers (54 percent) rate the integration of the Ukrainian children and young people in the respective school as rather bad, 22 percent even as clearly bad. In addition, four-fifths of the refugees also take part, at least in part, in Ukrainian online courses which not conducive to integration into a  German environment.

    The goal is to prepare the Ukrainian students for regular German schooling. But they are still a world away from achieving their goal.

    Philologist boss Schwägerl said there was very little hope that it would happen on a large scale by the end of the current school year as planned. He expected that only a low single-digit percentage would switch to the Bavarian regular school system in the fall. Ukrainian parallel societies will therefore also remain in schools for the time being.

    No hope of affording integration

    Germany’s decline, which was heralded by the red-green “traffic-light” coalition, is now reflected not only in fresh bad news every day, but also in sober economic indicators that the Federal Statistical Office can no longer hide.

    German exports to non-EU countries fell by 1,6 percent in October compared to the previous month, hospitality sales in September fell by 0,9 percent compared to the previous month, and building permits fell by a significant 8,1 percent compared to the same month last year. The number of corporate bankruptcies rose by a massive 34 percent in September compared to the same month last year, while 40 percent are expected for November.

    Only one parameter is constantly increasing: the producer prices in October were a gigantic 34,5 percent higher than in the same month last year. Because companies are only passing the price explosion on to consumers in bits and pieces, the big surprise is yet to come in supermarkets.

    Officially, the inflation rate is 10,4 percent, which sounds moderate, but it is also due to the so-called “shopping basket” used to calculate inflation. The “shopping basket” is full of products and services that do not reflect the real life of ordinary people.

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