Education International
Education International

German education adapts to include refugees in the classroom

published 21 April 2016 updated 21 April 2016

German unions are pushing for effective inclusion plans for adult refugees arriving in the country, with a focus on integrative education based on language skills and the acquisition of enabling diplomas.

As tens of thousands of asylum-seeking refugees continue to arrive in Europe, the German education union, Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW) , a member of Education International (EI), is gearing up a strategy to include adults into society and the labour market.

Innovative integration

In a statement on its website, the GEW sets its sights on the financing of innovative integration programmes that would include training in language skills as well as vocational, academic, and political education.

According to data provided by the German institute for labour and labour market research (IAB), 46 per cent of adults registered in 2015 had attended secondary or higher education. One in four had never had access to school or had access only to primary level education. Twenty-six percent had attended a vocational or technical school.

These statistics have led GEW to identify significant potential for further and higher education training in these new arrivals.

Regional targeted measures

The union also stresses that integration into the labour market itself will require measures that foster language skills and the acquisition of enabling diplomas. According to the statement, “the success of any integration policy depends on the adoption, on the one hand, of regional target group tailored measures, that should then be bound together consistently into one single national programme”.

The working group on adult education within the GEW has also pointed out that the quality and success of any integration programme will depend on the quality of the labour conditions of those involved in the provision of training, linking these programmes again to the question of adequate financing.