German School Barometer Special

Every Second Teacher has Refugee Children from Ukraine in School

A new representative survey of teaching staff at German schools sheds light on the arrival of Ukrainian pupils.

Robert Bosch Stiftung
Robert Bosch Stiftung /H. Anders
May 09, 2022

Every second teacher in Germany now has Ukrainian children and teenagers at their school. That said, the vast majority of teachers (92%) do not currently believe the arrival of refugee children poses a major challenge. Rather, after two years of pandemic, they see the COVID-19 measures in place as the greatest burden on their daily work (38%), followed by the shortage of teachers (26%), student behavior (21%), and digitalization (17%). All this was revealed by the German School Barometer Special, a representative survey from Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH conducted by forsa.

Three-quarters of the teachers surveyed (78%) reported integrating refugee children into regular classes, at least in part, and teaching them alongside students from Germany. At just 18 percent, classes intended solely for refugees with no links to joint lessons are somewhat rare. Ukrainian-language face-to-face or online lessons are available at just 1 percent of schools that have welcomed Ukrainian refugees. The use of Ukrainian-speaking staff as interpreters/translators (9%) or teachers (7%) has also been limited.

49 percent of respondents stated that their school does not have suitable approaches for accommodating children with little or no knowledge of German. Among schools currently preparing to welcome more students from Ukraine (58%), the focus is primarily on providing space (43%) and finding teachers of German as a second language (40%). Only then do engagement with Ukrainian virtual learning tools (24%) and finding Ukrainian-speaking staff (around 16%) come in.

“Ukrainian-speaking teachers and translators can be a major help in supporting schools to welcome refugee students. With that in mind, we should facilitate the rapid and unbureaucratic employment of Ukrainian staff in German schools in cooperation with civil society and government agencies.”


Quote fromDr. Dirk Zorn, Vice President Education at the Robert Bosch Stiftung