The different states responded to the demand to enable arriving children and young people to enter the German education system by establishing transition classes in regular schools throughout the country. However, implementation must be viewed critically: for example, it is often very difficult for young people to obtain a higher school certificate because the transition classes were only established at primary, secondary and vocational schools and not at secondary or grammar schools.
At some Bavarian ANKER centres and branches it was decided not to fall back on the existing structures of the transition classes. Instead, a parallel structure was set up in the camps to allow children and young people to receive school education there.
This is justified by highlighting special needs and language barriers of the kids. However, even if sufficient language skills are proved, attendance at the public school is usually not granted. The teaching contents in the ANKER “schools” are basal. There is often no appropriate classification of the children according to age and level of knowledge. Furthermore, no certificates and no degrees can be obtained. This would only be possible at a regular school, which is why children and young people lose important time.
The right to education for children and young people in Germany – and thus also in Bavaria – is enshrined in various conventions and fundamental rights.
Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child grants every child the right to education and obliges them to attend primary school. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) stipulates in Article 2 of the First Additional Protocol that “no one may be denied the right to education”. Regarding refugees, the EU obliges its member states to grant “minors applying for asylum, access to the education system in a similar way to their own nationals” (Art. 14 para. 1 EU Reception Directive) – at latest three months after the asylum application has been filed. “If access to the education system […] is not possible due to the specific situation of the minor, the Member State concerned shall offer other forms of education in accordance with its national law and practice”. (Art. 14 para. 3 EU Reception Directive)
Compulsory school attendance in Germany is defined by the states. In Bavaria the regukations are quite strict with a duration of twelve years, which also includes compulsory vocational schooling. For asylum seekers and tolerated persons, compulsory schooling applies explicitly after three months in accordance with Art. 35 Para. 1 of the Bavarian Act on Education (BayEUG). The school facilities in the camps are not designed for permanent attendance. However, too often children spend several months or even years in these facilities. It is obvious that the concept of camp schooling serves primarily to isolate children. Finally, this practice also prevents the implementation of a legally anchored “balanced composition of classes” (Art. 42 para. 1 BayEUG) in mainstream schools. It is a disadvantage for everyone to deprive children and young people of the opportunity to get in contact and learn together. Educational opportunities and paths to a society with less prejudices are blocked.