Researchers at the SYRI National Institute are conducting an extensive study on how Ukrainian pupils are adapting to life in Czech primary schools. They are interested not only in conditions of education but also in the question of how schools deal with the absorption of a large number of foreign students. The SYRI team includes a Ukrainian researcher who helps to conduct interviews with Ukrainian children and their parents. The results of the research, which will be published in the coming months, will include recommendations for school principals.
Research on the integration of Ukrainian pupils is based on very thorough case studies conducted in schools that have recently enrolled large numbers of these pupils. “We talk to principals, teachers and the pupils themselves,” said the scientific director of the SYRI, Klára Šeďová, who leads a research group focused on education. “We will observe teaching and learning processes in class and monitor peer relations in the classroom.”
“Czech primary schools have recently absorbed a relatively large number of pupils from Ukraine,” Šeďová added. “It is important to know about conditions for the education of Ukrainian pupils and how the schools are dealing with this new situation, what difficulties they face, and what type of support they would need.”
Experts have already started the first phase of research in selected schools. Oksana Stupak, a researcher from the Ukraine’s Donbas region, who has been living in Brno with her two children since April, helps the researchers interview the pupils and their parents. “I am very happy to have the opportunity to work in the SYRI team,” she said. “I feel I have two roles. As a mother of two sons, the elder in the fifth grade, it is important for me to know that my children are stable emotionally and in a pleasant school environment. From the position of a researcher, it is important to understand the problems of social adaptation for Ukrainian children in Czech schools.”
The research is divided into two phases. A qualitative phase comprising interviews with principals, students and their parents will be followed by a quantitative phase at the beginning of next year, when researchers will send questionnaires to a large sample of schools and then obtain additional data. The main aim of the research is to monitor the current situation and to make a series of recommendations that could help schools.
According to data from the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, 39,380 Ukrainian refugees were enrolled in Czech schools in the last school year, with schools accepting another 27,936 in the new school year. The majority of Ukrainian children were registered at primary schools (52,107 as of 20 September), while 10,439 and 4,523 had enrolled at kindergartens and secondary schools respectively.