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Refugees to learn German 'values' in schools?

May 7, 2018

Senior German conservatives want to set up new "values lessons" for refugee children in German schools, according to a newspaper report. The standards are to be held above cultural or religious views.

A schoolgirl raises a finger to ask a question during a class in Bavaria
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Karmann

German conservatives are set to push for new lessons that would teach both German language and values to children of refugees, the Rheinische Post newspaper reported in its Monday edition.

According to the report, senior lawmakers from the ruling CDU and CSU parties have prepared a draft document on the so-called "values lessons" in schools. The children would learn about issues such as the rule of law, gender equality, and the state monopoly on the use of force.

"The integration of those who can stay in Germany is a priority issue, not least in order to preserve peace in our society," says the draft report cited by the paper. "The goal of these lessons should be to allow refugees to learn about our values and the rule of law, and, at the same time, teach them the limits and duties of our legal system."

Read more: More than half of migrants reported to fail official German test

The paper is due to be presented in Frankfurt on Monday, where the heads of the parliamentary groups of the CSU and CDU in Germany's state and federal legislatures are set to meet.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also expected to attend.

Values over culture and religion

The values to be discussed in the proposed classes, such as gender equality, press freedom, and protection of human dignity should "stand as indispensable values above divergent cultural or religious views," the draft says.

The idea of "values lessons" was floated last month by Bavarian Premier Markus Söder from the CSU and by his Hesse counterpart, Volker Bouffier, from the CDU. Talking to the German Spiegel magazine, Bouffier said that a similar integration project has been employed in refugee centers for the last two years.

Read more: Many more family members join refugees in Germany

"The project is very successful," he told the magazine. "That is why we want to use this experience and expand the classes in the upcoming legislative term."

Both Bavaria and Hesse are set to hold state elections in October.

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dj/ng (Reuters, AFP, dpa, KNA, epd)