Slovak schools learn how to integrate Ukrainian children

Some schools report full capacities.

Ukrainian refugees at Taras Shevchenko Primary and Grammar School in PrešovUkrainian refugees at Taras Shevchenko Primary and Grammar School in Prešov (Source: TASR)

The war in Ukraine is mainly sending women and children across the border to Slovakia in search of a safe haven. After they are granted temporary protection, they are entitled to health care, accommodation, a work permit and school.

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Ukrainian parents are now seeking options on how to enrol their children in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools in Slovakia where school attendance is compulsory for kids until age 16.

The only Ukrainian school in Slovakia does not accept Ukrainian children anymore. The Taras Shevchenko Primary and Grammar School in Prešov used to have 140 students at the secondary grammar school and 143 pupils at primary school. Since the war started, they have enrolled 118 refugees – 12 at secondary grammar school and 106 at primary school.

“We do not have room for them anymore, we are sending children to other schools, similarly to other towns,” director Igor Andrejčák told The Slovak Spectator.

Finding a school ready to enrol new children may be a tricky task. Much depends on where in Slovakia they are located. Most Ukrainians who decided to stay in Slovakia head off to the capital, Bratislava, where finding a place in a kindergarten or a school was challenging even before the arrival of thousands of kids from Ukraine.

When schools are available, they are facing the major task of dealing with the language barrier, helping children to cope with trauma from war and trying to educate them at the same time.

How to find a school

More than 58,000 Ukrainians asked for temporary protection in Slovakia, and the data from March 23 suggest that almost 23,000 were children. It is not clear how many of these children have been enrolled in Slovak schools.

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