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    Supporting the linguistic integration of refugees from the Ukraine
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    Recommendations to national authorities
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Council of Europe Recommendations to National Authorities

The invasion of Ukraine is causing the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, including families with school-age children. It is important that Member States make special provision for these children in their reception arrangements. The school environment can provide children with new and reassuring points of reference and will help them to form new social relationships.

In the light of these considerations, all Member States receiving refugee children are urged to pay special attention to their integration into their education systems. In particular, it is crucial that educational authorities should:

Identify those children who are already attending school in their home country, or who are of school age.

Find out what opportunities for online learning are being made available by the Ukrainian authorities and enable refugee children to take advantage of these.

In addition to these opportunities for continuing their schooling in Ukrainian, invite parents to enrol their children in local schools as quickly as possible to ensure that they have the opportunity to learn and socialise with children from the host community in school hours or after school.

Where feasible, use linguistic and cultural mediators, especially during the welcome phase.

Place Ukrainian children attending school in classes that are appropriate for their age group.

Make specific additional course time available for them to learn the language of schooling (Polish in Poland, Romanian in Romania, etc.).  For the course hours dedicated to additional language support, refugee children should be given tuition in the new language in separate groups, preferably by experienced language teachers.

Devote these hours to helping them acquire the language of the new context which they need for everyday social relations (including within the school), and to participate in lessons on school subjects.

Inform the entire educational community about the arrival of these new students and the arrangements being made for them.

Set up means of familiarising refugee parents with the educational culture in the new context using brochures and other means of dissemination;
A good starting point could be to invite parents to school for various activities (read a book in their language, teach their alphabet, etc.) as it acknowledges the status of home languages and values them. For ideas click here.

Offer parents language training together with their children, organised for example by voluntary associations outside of school, and involving refugees who have already learned the language themselves.

Member states which are receiving a sudden influx of refugee children from Ukraine will find it advantageous to consult with and learn from the experience of member states which have established effective systems for welcoming migrants and providing schooling for migrant children.

Please note: the Recommendations below were developed as part of the LIAM project within the Council of Europe’s education programme. The ECML has, in some instances, made minor revisions to the original text and has included further guidance and links to resources for teachers. The ECML would like to thank the LIAM expert group for making these recommendations available.