Germany has recruited 8,500 new teachers to deal with the influx of refugee children entering the country to escape war-torn Middle East countries, including Syria and Iraq. A total of 196,000 extra children are expected to enter the country's school system this year alone and 8,264 specially tailored classes have been created to help them catch up with German students.
The German education authority estimates that a total of 325,000 school-aged children crossed its borders in 2015 as part of Europe's worst migration crisis since the Second World War. The survey that revealed the numbers was conducted in 16 German federal states.
German chancellor Angela Merkel initially created an open-door policy towards refugees to deal with the numbers flooding into EU member states, but is widely thought to have come under pressure to reduce the number of migrants accepted into Germany as her all-encompassing policy has been met with criticism from opposition party leaders and from portions of the German people.
Head of the authority Brunhild Kurth told the Germany's national newspaper Die Welt: "Schools and education administrations have never been confronted with such a challenge. We must accept that this exceptional situation will become the norm for a long time to come."
Heinz-Peter Meidinger, head of the DPhV teachers' union, said that Germany would need up to 20,000 additional teachers to cater for the new numbers. He said that by next summer the teaching profession within Germany would "feel that gap".
Europe is currently struggling to cope with its worst refugee crisis in a generation with hundreds of thousands of refugees from war-torn African and Middle-eastern countries applying for asylum in the EU.