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Data publicării:  3 Jul 2024

How countries are addressing the integration of children from Ukraine in EU education systems

EU countries and partners are working on challenges remaining for school attendance among displaced learners from Ukraine. This follows a report showing 700,000 displaced children are enrolled in schools across the bloc.

Reporting on inclusion of displaced children from Ukraine in EU education systems

A European Commission report presents the enrolment situation of displaced Ukrainian children and provides an overview of current policy and support measures for students, families, teachers, and institutions.

The report builds on a joint initiative with the Council Presidency. It is based on a survey with 23 EU countries on

  • the enrolment situation of displaced children
  • an overview of policy and support measures in place for students, families, teachers, and institutions

State of play

Almost 3 school years have passed since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, forcing hundreds of thousands of school-aged children to flee.

As of March 2024 there were

  • 4.2 million people from Ukraine who have received temporary protection in EU countries
  • 1.3 million of these were minors
  • an estimated 700,000 displaced children from Ukraine enrolled across all EU countries (school year 2023-2024), from early childhood education and care to upper secondary education

National and EU support

National authorities across the EU made huge efforts to support the inclusion of displaced learners across all levels and sectors of education and training. 

The report features a range of specific country examples for measures in place, including

  • compulsory schooling
  • language support
  • financial support
  • support to parents and families
  • teachers’ professional development and training
  • the recruitment of additional staff, including from Ukraine
  • opportunities to nurture ties with students’ culture, language and communities of origin
  • cooperation with Ukraine on the recognition of study periods to facilitate students’ return to Ukraine

Meanwhile, the European Commission has mobilised all available instruments to support EU countries’ efforts to ensuring access to high-quality education for displaced Ukrainian children. Beyond data analysis, this ranges from policy guidance to peer learning, online platforms and funding. 

You can find details of this support at the bottom of this page.

Remaining challenges and steps to address them

The report results indicate a shift in the perception of challenges: from providing immediate access to education or capacity issues, to ensuring learning continuity and preparing for their future return to Ukraine. 

The most frequently-mentioned challenges in the school sector are

  • language barriers in the language of schooling
  • catering for pupils’ well-being
  • teacher shortages
  • preferences of families to keep ties with Ukraine through online learning

Overall, the report contributes to our collective understanding of the evolving situation. Following its results, representatives from EU countries and international organisations met to discuss within the EU Education Solidarity Group for Ukraine how to overcome the remaining challenges for school attendance among displaced learners from Ukraine. Experts presented examples for recently introduced measures.

Creating an enabling legal framework

Children from Ukraine are required to attend local schools in over half of EU countries, and more are preparing to introduce compulsory schooling in the future.

For example, Poland is changing its legislation to match this as of 1 September 2024. It will have support measures in place and is launching an information campaign on the new measures.

Reception or integration classes

Around half of the EU countries organise reception or integration classes for refugee pupils, some of which specifically for pupils from Ukraine.

In Belgium’s Flemish community for example, the schools received the necessary funding and flexibility to set up reception classes where needed, in an integrated model in primary education, and as specific classes in secondary, targeted at all refugees.

Providing support in the language of schooling

Mastering the language of schooling is a pre-requisite for success at school, and support for newly arriving refugees or migrants is wide-spread.

For example, Czechia started a new language support system for immigrant children in 2021 in pre-school, primary and lower secondary, and has since extended the support to entire secondary education.

Information for displaced learners from Ukraine in Czechia (page available in Czech)

Providing psychosocial support

In most EU countries, psycho-social support is provided within a broader framework accessible to all pupils and some countries are providing tailored measures for refugees.

In Estonia, for example, a nationwide network Rajaleidja (Pathfinder), is offering free educational counselling services for parents, teachers, and other educators of young people between the ages of 1.5 and 18. They hired four Ukrainian speaking psychologists and a counselling services coordinator. The country also runs a Ukrainian-language school psychologists’ helpline and youth camps to support non-formal learning.

Support measures for teachers

Nearly all countries covered by the survey report offer continuous professional development for teachers to address specific migrant and refugee needs. Many countries are recruiting Ukrainian-speaking teachers and teaching assistants, and several offer alternative pathways to hire more teaching staff and assistants working with pupils’ from Ukraine.

Helping learners maintain their link with Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science helps children abroad keep in touch with the education in Ukrainian schools by following a simplified programme of 6 or 8 hours a week on Ukrainian language, literature, history and geography (page available in Ukrainian).

Some countries have included Ukrainian language classes in their schools.

In Hesse in Germany, for example, Ukrainian children and young people can take voluntary, complementary Ukrainian classes ("Ukrainisches Ergänzungsangebot"). Starting in August 2024, Ukrainian will be offered as a second foreign language as a pilot. Lessons will be taught in accordance with the curricular requirements of the state of Hesse, as with all other foreign languages offered.

Access information about the regional support available in Germany for displaced learners from Ukraine (website available in German)

Cooperation with Ukraine and recognition of study periods in host countries

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has issued guidance to Ukrainian schools (page available in Ukrainian, translated into English by the European Commission) on assessing learning outcomes of school attendance abroad upon return to Ukraine.

Most systems cooperate with Ukraine on recognition.

For example, all students who came from Ukraine and are studying in formal education institutions in Lithuania will be enrolled in Ukrainian formal education institutions upon their return to Ukraine. Transfer to the next academic year (to a higher class) will be carried out by the decision of the Ukrainian education institution's Pedagogical Council.

European Commission support for EU countries

  • In line with the European Commission’s practical manual “Supporting the inclusion of displaced children from Ukraine in education: considerations, key principles and practices ” every displaced child from Ukraine in the EU should have a place in an EU host countries’ school. Attending school will also support their social and emotional well-being.
  • The EU Education Solidarity Group for Ukraine pools expertise on the needs of Ukrainian children and supports EU countries who host them, including through peer learning. The practices described above were discussed in its working group on schools on 26 June 2024.
  • Are you an educator working with displaced children from Ukraine? You can find online resources and courses on the European School Education Platform.
  • Funding under Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps provides significant support to Ukraine and its displaced students and staff. Find out how various projects under these programmes have changed Ukrainians’ lives “Building hope: Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine”.
Data publicării:  3 Jul 2024