Two Austrian classrooms, in Villach and Klagenfurt, consist of children purely from migrant backgrounds and not a single child speaks German as a first language.
The two classrooms are the first in the Austrian school system to have classes where none of the children speaks German as their native language. The 14 students in Klagenfurt speak some German as a second, or even third language, but in Villach four of the 18 students in the class speak no German at all, Kronen Zeitung reports.
Country Chief Executive Peter Kaiser said the decision to have the migrant children all in the same class was in order to make it “easier to organise additional language support”, but stressed that the decision was not the norm. He added that the eventual goal would be to transfer the children into classes with German-speaking children.
The move comes not long after a report which stated that there are currently more Muslim children enrolled in state primary schools in Vienna than there are Catholic children showing changing demographics among the younger age group.
Islam has become the fastest growing religion in Austria, due to higher than average birth rates and mass migration which have greatly increased the number of Muslims in the country.
The stress of mass migration on the school system has also led to conflicts among the teaching staff and school administrations. Last year, an Austrian teacher was reprimanded when she suggested that migrants were dragging down the school system.
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She referred to the migrant children as a “lost generation” saying: “There are children who were born in Vienna, whose parents have already lived in Vienna for many years, but who have been brought up in their mother tongue for the first six years, barely know a word of German, haven’t read any picture books or watched German language TV. That means if they come to school they begin with language acquisition.”
The teacher complained that many of the children could only speak in fragments of German and had difficulty with even basic arithmetic.
The rise in the number of Muslims in Austria has also led to the creation of Islamic schools which some have warned may be spreading the ideas of radical Islamism.
Last year it was reported that an 18-year-old Chechen young woman had worked at an Islamic kindergarten as a volunteer and had later attempted to join the Islamic State terror group fueling fears that other Islamists may have been operating in the schools.
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