The Haute-Garonne Schools Inspectorate recorded 93 registrations of Ukrainian children, mainly in schools in the department. A total of 118 registration requests have been sent since the conflict began.
Ukrainian children, already tested by a long journey across their country in the war since February 24 (almost 2 million fled the conflict), are finding their way to school, college or high school fairly quickly for the time being to register in Haute-Garonne.
The Toulouse Academy has activated its “Ukrainian cell” with a phone number, as has the Ministry of National Education, which has set up a page for Ukrainian refugees to find instructions for their child’s schooling in France.
“Knowledge of French is a key factor in the success of allophone students,” the ministry reminds, but young Ukrainians who are taught using the Cyrillic alphabet are not systematically integrated into UPE2A classes (educational units for incoming allophone students), said Thursday, April 31. March, the deputy academic director of Haute-Garonne (Dasen) Aymeric Meiss.
“A Matter of Convenience”
“If the child can benefit from a UPE2A, that’s fine, but we will not try to educate all Ukrainian children in these educational units, which not all institutions have. It’s a matter of convenience for the parents so they don’t have to take additional transportation to go to school,” explains Deputy Dasen.
The department currently has 118 parents at schools, colleges and high schools. Some registration requests come directly from host families who have been awaiting the arrival of a student at their home and who are conducting the process on behalf of the family, the Academic Inspectorate says.
93 Ukrainians educated in elementary school
“Of the 118 students, 93 are already in class and it is fairly well distributed in the department: the majority of Ukrainian students are taught in schools, half of them in Toulouse,” adds Aymeric Meiss. The issue of reuniting multiple families in the same place of admission would also be considered by the school board, which could choose to “educate all children in the same facility if it is close to where they live,” says Mr. Meiss.
“Resource teachers” are already at work in many schools whose principals have taken note of the new guidelines for admitting children from Ukraine, Dasen adds, including “travelling teachers who travel to Grade 1 institutions.
On site, not everything flows from the source. “I, who teach in a UPE2A class, was told that we needed to pay special attention to Ukrainian students, but without too many details. I’ll do what I usually do with my other students who don’t speak French,” says this 50-year-old teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous.
The trauma of some children is also an element that the administration must take into account, assuring that “we asked social psychologists”. The teachers, whose “voluntary work” Aymeric Meiss welcomes, who speak English, Russian, even Ukrainian, are obviously considered important “resources” in terms of context.
“These psychologists are intervening, apart from the psychological care requested by the families when they arrived in France, we are already welcoming children from other war-torn countries,” concludes the academic director.
Talk to students about the war in Ukraine
Everything seems to have been planned by the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports, which has already published a guide for teachers wanting to explore the topic of war in Ukraine. First, the context: “Primary school students very often do not have a clear and precise knowledge of current events in Ukraine. If not what their parents could tell them, then their knowledge, gathered here or there, is often very patchy and can raise questions or even concerns, offers guidance. It is therefore important to respond by providing them with simple and precise geographic and historical landmarks. In fact, locating, naming, and explaining is the most effective way for students to understand and remain calm about a potentially anxiety-provoking situation for their family and those around them.”