Mykhailo and Yvea sit in front of an iPad in an empty classroom at Oldenburg Vocational School in Ostholstein. It’s eight o’clock. Online lessons are about to begin in her home country. Today there is an English language assignment in the programme. About three months ago, the 17-year-old and 16-year-old fled eastern Ukraine and have been living in Neustadt (Ostholstein County) ever since. “We have seven to eight subjects a day — 40 minutes each,” Mikhailo says. Lessons are held three times a week at the school (??) And on other days at home.
The number of refugee children and youth is increasing
More than 4,300 students who fled their homeland from war are currently taught in Schleswig-Holstein. In order to facilitate the integration of Ukrainian students into the education system, Education Ministers, headed by Schleswig-Holstein Education Minister Karin Brin (CDU), agreed in May to hire more Ukrainian teachers at short notice. Currently 103 teachers from Ukraine work in Schleswig-Holstein schools. “The Conference of Ministers of Education provides Ukrainian digital media and educational materials aimed at helping to transmit the culture and customs of Ukraine,” said Education Minister Brin.
Online lessons with former classmates
Many of her classmates have found residence in Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, France or Israel. From there they participate in online lessons, Mikhailo tells us. “There is a classmate in Canada. He sometimes has problems with the time difference in distance learning.” Some classmates remain in Ukraine. Yeva is very worried about her. “There are a lot of industries in my city Kremenchug. That is why the city is under heavy fire from the Russian army and there is a lot of anxiety. My classmates write to me often and say goodbye.”
Pupils should experience normal life despite the war
17 students attend school in Oldenburg. At the vocational school, in addition to distance learning, they are also taught face-to-face in subjects such as German, mathematics and geography. “The students make new friends here and they don’t feel lonely,” says Christina Rideau, representative of the German as a Second Language (DaZ) school. The teacher herself comes from Ukraine and has been in Germany for 20 years. Her goal is to prepare young people for their final exams so that the war doesn’t cause any learning gaps, she says.
Many students want to go back to Ukraine
Mikhailo and Yeva feel comfortable in their class in Germany. “It is very hard not to think about what is happening in Ukraine at the moment. The Ukrainian language class gives us a feeling of safety. It makes us think differently and makes you feel like you are in a normal world.” The two will graduate next year. Then Mykhailo wants to study biology. Yeva’s big dream is to become a kindergarten teacher. Preferably back to Ukraine.