Municipalities throughout Germany are currently facing a major challenge: every day, children, adolescents and adults fleeing their home countries arrive seeking shelter and a positive outlook. Integrating recently arrived immigrants in our society is a major social challenge. Here, education is the key, as a good education fosters personal development, allows a person to find work and to participate in social life. The municipalities provide emergency accommodation and initial care. They also offer guidance and counselling services that enable the newly arrived to attend day care facilities and schools, and to complete vocational and general training. This requires all departments in the municipalities to coordinate their existing measures and develop new services to reflect actual needs. Integration can succeed, provided the municipalities structure and organise educational services for recently arrived immigrants with their partners in the education sector.
The ‘Municipal coordination of education services for recently arrived immigrants’ by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) enables an initial two-year funding scheme and the appointment of a dedicated coordinator for issues in education. The coordinators help to pool local forces and to control educational resources in a targeted way. They are central knowledge carriers who work with the competent authorities, companies and institutions in the education sector, and advise municipal decision-makers to make sure that everything runs smoothly. The DLR Project Management Agency accompanies the development process and is responsible for technical and administrative programme management, including the development and implementation of qualification and networking measures for municipal employees. It is also in charge of public relations for the programmes.