In the wake of the ongoing migration crisis, Germany’s federal states have hired up to 8,500 new teachers to give special ‘welcome classes’ for child migrants, with at least another 1,500 anticipated.
The impact of the influx of migrants on Germany’s infrastructure has begun to show in the education sector, as federal states have sought to accommodate thousands of child migrants of school age. A survey of the 16 German states shows that to achieve this, at least 8,264 special German language courses have been set up for 196,000 students, staffed by an extra 8,500 or so teachers.
In fact, the actual number of child migrants in German schools is probably even higher, since after the transition has been made to regular classes their numbers are no longer separately recorded, reports Germany national newspaper Die Welt. The Standing Conference of Education Ministers in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) has suggested Germany has 325,000 school-age child migrants in 2015.
Speaking of the strain put on education services, Brunhild Kurth — a former teacher-turned-politician and current head of the KMK — said:
“Schools and education administrations have never been confronted with such a challenge. In this situation we need to be flexible in terms of constantly responding to change. We must accept that this exceptional situation will become the norm for a long time to come.”
In Mrs. Kurth’s opinion, grounds for pessimism and hysteria do not exist despite the recent news that Germany has officially received one million asylum seekers in 2015. On the other hand, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, who chairs the German Philologists Association (DPhV), is not convinced owing to the unreliability of predictions as to how many migrants may arrive in Germany in 2016.
Mr. Meidinger believes there are too few teachers for those child migrants already in Germany, and the extra numbers that will come next year will exacerbate the issue. In his opinion closer to 20,000 teachers will be needed to meet the shortfall. He warns:
“By next summer at the latest, when all will be subject to compulsory education, the gap will be painfully obvious.”