Standing Scientific Commission: Recommendations for the Support of Children and Teenagers from Ukraine

March 29th, 2022

The Standing Scientific Commission” of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of Germany (SWK) has published a statement on the integration of Ukrainian refugee children and teenagers in daycare centers and schools.

"The key requirement: All children and teenagers should attend daycare or school as soon as possible upon their arrival. There they can learn German, continue their education, connect with peers and receive help in overcoming possible trauma," explains Prof. Dr. Olaf Köller, scientific director of the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) and co-chair of the Standing Scientific Commission of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of Germany (SWK).

On this basis, the statement formulates specific recommendations for the following topics:

1. support in dealing with traumatic experiences

2. language support in German as an educational language and access to specialized teaching

3. educational offers in the Ukrainian language as a supplementary instructional offer

4. fostering integration into new friendship networks

5. development of qualification and further training offers for Ukrainian teachers

6. opportunities for digital schooling and examinations based on Ukrainian curricula

"We have to assume that 25 to 35 percent of children and teens from Ukraine suffer from severe psychological stress. We know from research that, in addition to the family, positive interactions with peers are essential protective factors. This makes it all the more important to enable daycare and school attendance and to create school-based programs for coping with psychological stress. The teachers, therapists, and educational specialists who have fled Ukraine should be involved from the very beginning, if possible," explains Prof. Dr. Felicitas Thiel, Professor of School Education and School Development Research at Freie Universität Berlin and co-chair of SWK.

"High-quality language support is important, whether in preparatory or regular classes. It must continue even when the students transfer completely to the regular class. In addition to learning German, it is important to identify the students' learning requirements, regardless of their language skills, so that they can continue subject learning at their level," adds Prof. Dr. Michael Becker-Mrotzek, Director of the Mercator Institute for Language Support and German as a Second Language and also a member of the SWK.

"At the same time, the children who have fled should receive educational opportunities in their native language. This is not only important so that they can continue learning well after a possible return to Ukraine, but also for a well-founded examination of the history and culture of their home country. The offer could be based on the model of instruction in the language of origin, which exists in most countries, and could be implemented with the involvement of appropriate natives" recommends Prof. Dr. Petra Stanat, scientific director of the Institute for Quality Development in Education (IQB) and member of the SWK.

"Ukrainian professionals should have the opportunity to engage in supplementary educational programs as quickly and easily as possible. To this end, they need accompanying training and mentoring to help them navigate the new school system. Ukrainian teachers should also be offered the prospect of a permanent teaching position at German schools, based on the programs for Syrian teachers," says Prof. Dr. Thilo Kleickmann, Head of the Department of School Education at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel and a member of the SWK.

The SWK is planning another statement that will deal with the integration of youths and young adults into the vocational education system.

Further information

The complete statement (in German) "Supporting Refugee Children and Teenagers from Ukraine through Rapid Integration in Daycare Centers and Schools" can be found here:

The Standing Scientific Commission of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of Germany (SWK)

The Standing Scientific Commission (SWK) is an independent scientific advisory body of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of Germany. Its members comprise 16 educational researchers from a variety of disciplines.

The SWK advises the Länder on education policy issues. It identifies existing challenges and makes evidence-based recommendations for their solution. In doing so, the commission takes an interdisciplinary, longer-term, and systemic perspective. The SWK involves external experts in its work and consults representatives from politics, administration, educational practice and civil society. An office supports the commission in its work.

For more information, visit


Ständige Wissenschaftliche Kommission der Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK)

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