German universities host HE entrance tests for refugees

German universities are to make their premises and infrastructure available to conduct standardised examinations for more than 5,000 refugees from Ukraine for admission and continued studies at Ukrainian universities.

The online examinations will take place between 22 July and 3 October 2022 in uniformly defined periods at six locations in Germany: in Berlin, coordinated by the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, as well as at Goethe University Frankfurt, the Universitat Hamburg, the University of Cologne and Leipzig University. In Munich, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has arranged to use the ‘Gorod’ cultural centre.

It is expected that about 5,500 people will take part in the tests in Germany. The exams will be conducted simultaneously in Ukraine and in the European countries where war refugees have found protection, according to a statement published by the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

The German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, said: “The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has brought unimaginable suffering to the country and its people. It is all the more impressive how many young Ukrainians are preparing to study in their home country and thus for their future.

“With the six locations for university entrance tests in Germany, we want to support them in this and thus ensure the continuity of their education.”

Request for support

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science approached the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with a request for support.

In consultation with the BMBF and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Lander in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK), HRK took on the task of coordination and quickly brought on board universities with the necessary logistical and technical prerequisites to ensure that the examinations are conducted in a legally secure way.

In addition to a sufficient number of computer workstations with internet access, linguistically competent personnel are needed to verify the identity of the examinees and to supervise them during the tests. Locations in different parts of the country were chosen to avoid excessively long journeys.

“The fact that we could have gained even more universities if necessary is a strong sign of solidarity from the German higher education system.”

Karin Prien, president of the KMK and minister for education, science and culture in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, said: “By offering the Ukrainian university entrance tests in Germany, we are helping young Ukrainians to avoid breaks in their educational biography and to prepare for studying in Ukraine.

“Together with the many support measures for Ukrainian students in the federal states, we will thus help to mitigate the consequences of the war, at least in the field of education.”

HRK President Professor Dr Peter-Andre Alt in Berlin said: “We are very pleased that we, as the German higher education system, can make a contribution to supporting Ukraine.”

He thanked the “participating universities, their leaders and all employees, whose dedication has made it possible to conduct the tests and thus help people who have had to flee from the Russian war of aggression to pursue their education despite the difficult conditions”.