How EU Member States find teachers for refugee students

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A peer-learning discussion among representatives from EU Education Ministries examined how to find teachers for refugee students. This discussion took place on 4 April 2022, as part of the EU Education Solidarity Group for Ukraine – Working Group Schools.

Identifying and hiring Ukrainian teachers among the refugees

Different fast-track mechanisms are in place to identify and recruit Ukrainian teachers – and those from related professions – among the refugees arriving in EU Member States. This approach is also recommended by the European Commission.

For example, countries are checking education documents directly with the Ukrainian authorities on official databases such as Another way of identifying teachers among arriving refugees is self-declaration, for example with the help of the Red Cross (an example given by Croatia).

Member States have also removed administrative barriers for entry into the profession and recognition of prior qualifications. For example:

  • Lithuania waived the requirement that teachers have to know the language of the host country for a transition period;
  • in Saxony (Germany), self-identified teachers who pass an initial priority assessment are hired on probation while employment checks are completed;
  • in Romania, refugees who self-identify as teachers can exceptionally be hired on short-term renewable contracts.

Support Ukrainian student teachers

EU host countries have taken first steps to ensure that Ukrainian student teachers among the refugees continue and complete their studies. In Spain, for instance, student teachers are employable in schools as part-time language assistants while they complete their qualification. 

Teacher shortages in host countries

Finally, EU countries are stepping up their efforts to compensate for the pre-existing teacher shortage, by reaching out to retired teachers, or by waiving the compulsory traineeship for student teachers where minimum hours of study can be demonstrated.

Integrating new (Ukrainian) teachers into schools will also require the support of the whole school community and school networks such as eTwinning and the School Education Gateway.

Read the report about the first focus session of the EU Education Solidarity Group for Ukraine.

See more guidance on how to support schools in integrating Ukrainian refugees. For current updates and resources, please see our article Education and support for Ukrainian refugees.