An influx of up to 300,000 migrant children could overwhelm the German school system and lead to a ghettoisation of German classrooms, hindering attempts at integration.
The German Philological Association is warning German lawmakers that there could be up to 300,000 migrants entering the school system and schools are totally unprepared. Heinz-Peter Meidinger, head of the Philological Association and the Gymnasium teachers’ union said “there is too little state support for this mammoth task” and claimed politicians had little understanding of the real issues, Die Welt reports.
“Politicians believe that they have done their homework with the new formation of thousands of classes and the recruitment of 13,000 teachers,” Mr. Meidinger said. He warned, “The transfer of children from welcome language learning to transition classes in mainstream schools has massive problems and deficiencies.”
Meidinger also noted that many of the migrant students and their families tend to live neighbourhoods already largely populated with migrants and that is reflected in the schools they go to. “The social and ethnic segregation that we know is a source of poison for both successful school and social integration. It threatens a ghettoisation in the school system.”
The comments echo a study published in December that revealed migrants were increasingly becoming more insular, rather than integrating.
The largest obstacle for any teachers of migrant children is the language barrier. Meidinger said due to the language issue many of the teachers and school leaders have said the overall education outcomes of migrant children will likely suffer.
Education is an important pillar for integration into German society in both a cultural and economic sense. Some academics and experts have already warned that migrants and their children will likely be a drain on the economy rather than a benefit.
Education for migrants in Germany is estimated to cost more than €3 billion (£2.55 billion) per year. Recent reports have shown the number of migrants in the German school system is rapidly increasing and has doubled in the last five years. Despite the large increase, the percentage of migrants who actually manage to finish school has gone from only 38 per cent to 43 per cent.
A teacher in Austria warned migrants are on track to becoming a “lost generation” due to the difficulty they have in learning the German language. She said that it was likely the migrants would be under the care of the state most of their lives. She was silenced by the Education Ministry due to her comments.