By Sophia Banos-Lindner
German schools want to make sure that Ukrainian refugee children do not lose out on education. But, already after two years of the coronavirus pandemic, the system is already overstretched.
Every day, displaced minors arrive at Berlin’s central train station after traveling alone all the way from Ukraine.
Volunteers find them standing on a platform after the train has left, silent and motionless, hugging a soft toy. “We find five to seven children like that every day”, Barbara Breuer, spokeswoman for the Berlin City Mission told Berlin Tageszeitung newspaper.
But two years of the COVID pandemic have taken their toll on the German education system. Many teachers are exhausted. Even before the pandemic, schools struggled with a shortage of teachers. This has been exacerbated by the spread of the coronavirus, with sick leave among teachers hovering at around 10%. So there is the double challenge that “at the same time we have to take in refugee children in schools with too few staff,” says VBE head Beckmann.