News Overview 2015

"Access to Education Will Be a Decisive Factor for Refugee Children"

TiL (Talent im Land) scholarship holders interview State Minister Silke Krebs

The school students on the Talent im Land fellowship program are currently getting to grips with the issues of migration and education. At the State Ministry, which is located at Stuttgart’s Villa Reitzenstein, scholarship holders and alumni aged between 13 and 23 discussed the issues in question with Minister Silke Krebs.

For Marwan Khaled-Rashkani (21) and Sepideh Mousavi (20), one key question is whether they can use their own migration experiences to help refugees in return. Silke Krebs offered words of encouragement: "Some people in Germany criticize refugees by claiming that they do not want to integrate into society. But if no one tells them about how daily life in Germany works, then they cannot really be expected to." She pointed out that it takes courage to join a soccer club in a foreign country, for example, and that anyone who has been through similar experiences is much better prepared to help refugees. First and foremost, she advised the scholarship holders to help children in refugee accommodation with their homework and get involved with programs that encourage them to play. "Access to education will be a decisive factor for refugee children. Success in this area will be a huge step toward integration."

Nineteen-year-old Martin Drossos is interested in how the education system can be improved. Krebs is in favor of more all-day and inclusive schools. She argues, "Social skills are developed within the larger community." In the Minister’s opinion, it is also important that students are not forced to choose a particular path too early on in their school careers. She highlighted the problem that many teachers still do their own thing rather than developing a joint educational strategy with their colleagues. "All in all, schools have to become more vibrant and self-organized," the Minister said.

Following the discussion, the scholarship holders were given a tour of Villa Reitzenstein, which is home to the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of State.

The fellowship program, which is run by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, supports gifted students who, on account of their social background, have to overcome various hurdles to obtain their high school diploma or university entrance qualification. Many of them have a foreign background, with their families coming from countries such as Iran, Kosovo, Egypt, Cameroon, and China.

(Anne Novotny, October 2015)