Additional teachers for North Rhine-Westphalia

Qualification of refugee teachers

Extensive professional development under the ‘Lehrkräfte Plus’ (Teachers Plus) project is enabling almost 100 refugee teachers to start teaching at schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) promotes this project with funds from the Ministry of Culture and Science (Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft – MKW) as part of its ‘NRWege Leuchttürme’ (NRWege Lighthouses) programme.

Medina Hussein (30) lebt seit vier Jahren in Deutschland. Im Rahmen von Lehrkräfte PLUS unterrichtet die Syrerin Jugendliche in Mathematik an der Sekundarschule Netphen, Siegen.

The refugees hail from Syria, Turkey and Iran and often taught for many years before they fled. They are in demand in Germany as academic professionals. The Teachers Plus project helps them to resume their careers at schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. The first 95 refugee teachers have just completed their DAAD-funded qualification year. They will now be teaching at secondary level I, for instance at vocational colleges or comprehensive schools, or are waiting for their start in the teaching profession. Many of these new teachers’ specialist subjects are desperately needed: mathematics, chemistry and physics, and another pleasing aspect is that 40 per cent of these new teachers are women.

‘The State of North Rhine-Westphalia has for several years set itself the objective of integrating refugees by means of language, education and employment. We have been running our ‘NRWege Pathways into Studying’ programme since 2017 to pursue this aim in the field of higher education. “Teachers Plus” now exemplifies this objective. It combines the imparting of German as a teaching and working language with theoretical academic education and professional development as well as practical work experience. It involves major commitment not only from universities and schools, but also from the participating ministries and district government agencies. The comprehensive programme content and the trusting cooperation of all participants form the recipe for successful participation in the German education system and labour market’, says Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, Minister for Culture and Science in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

‘Attracting highly qualified professionals to the German labour market is not only imperative, it also opens up new opportunities in diversity, intercultural learning and innovation. “Teachers Plus” therefore represents a true “lighthouse project”: It counteracts our acute teacher shortage and simultaneously creates structures for successfully integrating refugee academics. We congratulate this year's graduates and are looking forward to their future contributions in the classrooms of North Rhine-Westphalia’, said DAAD President Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee.

Teachers Plus and NRWege Lighthouses

Teachers Plus is a one-year qualification programme that prepares refugee teachers for teaching in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. The five universities of Bochum, Bielefeld, Duisburg-Essen, Cologne and Siegen are participating in this programme. It started in 2020 and the intention is that up to 275 teachers will have been trained for the teaching profession by the end of 2022. Teachers Plus is part of the NRWege Lighthouses funding programme, under which the Ministry of Culture and Science in association with the DAAD is funding internationalisation of the state’s higher education institutions and the integration of refugee academics.

Online report

The DAAD has published an online report on Teachers Plus to mark completion of the first year of training. It introduces the participating teachers and higher education institutions and throws light on the qualification process and the motivation of the participants. 


Information for media professionals:

A high-resolution press image for free can be found here

We would be happy to put interested parties in touch with refugee teachers from the Teachers Plus project and with the higher education institutions in Bochum, Bielefeld, Duisburg-Essen, Cologne and Siegen.


DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service