In Germany, nearly 2/3 of Syrian refugees are 'functionally illiterate'
An economics professor at the University of Munich says that 65% of refugees arriving in Germany "fail to meet international standards on basic reading and writing skills," making them functionally illiterate.
That means that hundreds of thousands of adult refugees will likely fail to get a job to support themselves and their families, burdening the German welfare system for the next quarter-century.
“With two-thirds of young Syrians who must be regarded as functionally illiterate in accordance with international educational standards, so the necessary training to run local businesses is mostly missing,” Woessmann says.
Half of the refugees are under the age of 25 and can still get an education, but the ability to learn to read and write quickly fades during the late teenage years. Refugees in recent years struggle to complete basic learning courses to prepare for the job market.
“We have to prepare ourselves that the majority of young refugees will fail three-year training courses that contain a high level of theory,” Woessmann says. “Seventy percent of trainees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq who started training two years ago have already dropped out.”
Woessman instead suggests the best place to utilize refugees will be in practical occupations, such as nursing assistants and road work. The economic returns and solution to an aging population Chancellor Angela Merkel is expecting from taking refugees will not appear until 25 years from now, when the refugees’ children are fully educated and ready to join the workforce.
“What helped us in the past few years was the immigration of well-educated people from other European countries,” Woessmann says. “If we do it correctly now … the children will be the ones who reduce our demographic problems in 25 years.”
The United States has already absorbed hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Honduras, Nicaragua, and other Central American countries – mostly children who have either never been to school or were prevented from attending class because of the violence. Now we are going to import more dependent refugees from Syria?
The story of what is going on in small towns and communities across America as ordinary Americans have refugees dumped unceremoniously in their laps is largely untold. Social service groups and charities are trying to pick up the slack, but schools, health care, and basic needs are all overburdened and stretched to the limit.
It will be a quarter of a century before the children of these illiterate parents can contribute meaningfully to the economy. Meanwhile, they will be siphoning off benefits from native-born citizens and legal immigrants who need them just as much.