Still in Berlin now, but going to the university in the Ukraine from autumn? This can be an option for young refugees who have brought their school-leaving certificate with them or who have completed their eleventh year of school at the place of refuge with online lessons. This applies at least to areas of Ukraine that are not occupied by Russia or are currently not contested. Temporary examination centers at German universities should now open up this path for young people.

The Humboldt University in Berlin is one of six locations nationwide where Ukrainian university entrance tests will be held between July 22nd and October 3rd of this year – based on standardized examination tasks from Ukraine. There, students traditionally learn up to the 11th grade, and those who want to study have to take an external state examination.

This “External Independent Assessment” is organized by the Ukrainian Center for Assessment of Educational Quality. According to the information portal on foreign educational qualifications anabin of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), general education subjects are tested that are relevant to the desired field of study. From this year, according to anabin, the exam should be taken as a “national multi-subject test”.

Young people who are unable to take part in the Ukraine due to their flight but are aiming to study at home can now do so by taking online exams at the six German locations. In addition to the HU in Berlin, these are the universities in Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Cologne and Leipzig as well as the “Gorod” cultural center in Munich.

In view of the suffering that the Russian war of aggression has brought to Ukraine and the people there, it is “all the more impressive how many young Ukrainians are preparing for studies in their homeland and thus for their future,” said Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) on Thursday.

The Ukrainian Minister of Education, Serhiy Shkarlet, approached her with a request to set up examination centers in Germany. At the same time, examination centers are to be set up in all European countries where refugees from Ukraine live. The background to this is Ukraine’s expectation that the vast majority of refugee children and young people will return to their homeland.

Minister Shkarlet made that clear on May 10 in a video call with his counterpart Stark-Watzinger. According to a statement by the BMBF, the KMK and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), Ukrainian and German authorities are currently expecting around 5,500 test participants at the six locations. The HRK took over the search for the right universities.

The locations must have sufficient free computer workstations with an Internet connection and language-savvy staff who, for example, should verify the identity of the examinees and supervise them during the tests. HRK President Peter-André Alt explained that the fact that even more universities than those selected were willing to do so is “a strong sign of solidarity” on the part of the German university system.

KMK President Karin Prien (CDU) emphasized that the test offer to young Ukrainians would avoid “breaks in their educational biography”. In this way one could contribute to “mitigating the consequences of the war, at least in the field of education”.

When starting a course of study in Germany, the central test does not directly help Ukrainian school graduates. Even after passing the “External Independent Assessment” or the “National Multiple Subject Test”, the completion of the 11th grade is not recognized as equivalent to the German Abitur. The young people have to complete the preparatory course at a German university or a so-called assessment test.

Only those who, after the 11th grade and the central national examination, can prove that they have already studied for the first time in Ukraine have a chance of direct university admission in Germany. After a successful application for a regular place at university, you can now also receive BAföG. The federal government opened this to refugees from the Ukraine on June 1st.

But young people seeking refuge who are studying online in Ukraine, or those who are guest or exchange students at German universities are also entitled to social benefits: They can receive benefits under the Social Security Code (SGB) II.