Education International
Education International

Germany: focus on inclusion and schooling of refugee children is a must

published 12 August 2015 updated 13 August 2015

The teacher’s union Verband Bildung und Erziehung has urged public authorities in the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia to bring more attention and financing to inclusive and refugees’ education.

“What the provincial government in North Rhine-Westphalia provides schools is not enough for them to be up to what the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities demands from them,” stated Udo Beckmann, President of the Verband Bildung und Erziehung(VBE) while looking on 31 July into the new school year.

He explained that there is a lack of special need educators, of adequate training and learning groups are much too large.

The union president detailed how collaboration between a regular school teacher and a special education worker above all is a crucial prerequisite to ensure that no child loses from inclusion.

“Individual support is important for all children, disabled and non-disabled alike”, Beckmann added, regretting that it is however thwarted when schools are denied the appropriate conditions.

He stressed that is why it is necessary that schools be embedded in a professional network, such is the case with speech therapists, social workers and school psychologists.

The schools also feel too little support in the schooling of refugee children, Beckmann criticised. “The refugees from the Middle East fleeing war, torture and rape need security and a framework in which they feel safe and protected. This includes the adequate schooling of children and young people.”

To that end, he noted, we need considerably more teachers who can teach German as a foreign language. The 310 additional teaching posts made available by the state are far from being sufficient in view of the never-ending stream of refugees, he deplored.