22:48 25 May 2024

One of Germany's federal states introduces Ukrainian language in schools

Hessen will become the first German federal state to offer Ukrainian as a foreign language in schools. This step aims to facilitate the education of young Ukrainians who found protection in Germany, fleeing Russia's war of aggression. It may even help the country fight the shortage of teachers.

This is reported by Rubryka, referring to Hessenschau.

What is the problem?

According to the Hessen Ministry of Culture, about 20,000 students and more than 300 teachers who fled Ukraine currently live here. In addition to German and English, only Russian is available in schools as a second foreign language. But for the majority of Ukrainian refugees, it may be unacceptable as "the language of the enemy."

What is the solution?

It is difficult for Ukrainian refugees to study in German schools, which also applies to the requirement to learn another foreign language besides German and English. Hessen will be the first federal state to introduce Ukrainian as a second foreign language in schools.

German law requires students attending gymnasiums to study a second foreign language to take the Abitur final exam. However, it is difficult for Ukrainian students, which is why some leave the gymnasium and enter high school, where there is no requirement for a second foreign language. In other federal states, only individual language courses in Ukrainian are offered in schools.

According to Hessen's Minister of Culture, Armin Schwartz, introducing the Ukrainian language in German schools is a "clear sign of solidarity" with Ukraine. At the same time, Minister of Foreign Affairs Manfred Pents noted that this is a contribution to the preservation of Ukrainian identity and culture.

"We do not want to uproot Ukrainian refugees, we do not want to cut them off from their homeland, but on the contrary, we are building a bridge for their return to Ukraine," Pents emphasized.

How does it work?


Initially, a pilot project is planned: the first schools, where many Ukrainian schoolchildren study, should start the test phase in the next school year. A similar pilot project is currently being implemented for the Turkish language.

"We knew from the very beginning that the struggle for freedom in Ukraine would be a long one," said Penz. Therefore, according to him, it is logical to offer Ukrainian students the opportunity to study their native language in addition to German at school. 

For many Ukrainian young people, fleeing to Germany often means abandoning their previous educational path, the Ministry of Culture representative notes. They often do not have the second foreign language required to obtain a secondary school qualification. The ministry expects that the introduction of the Ukrainian language as a second foreign language will allow the acquisition of educational trajectories with higher qualifications. In addition, the project will allow to attract Ukrainian teachers living in Germany to schools.

"We would like to offer many young people and teachers from Ukraine greater educational and career prospects based on their individual talents, including for the reconstruction of our own country, as well as send a clear signal of solidarity in difficult times," emphasized the Minister of Culture Armin Schwartz and added: "We should not tire of supporting Ukraine."

Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany Oleksii Makeev is satisfied with the initiative.

The diplomat was quoted by the mass media as saying, "We perceive this as recognition of Ukrainian as an important European language."


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