Michael Stenger.
A flexible, modular, private school system that offers young refugees and asylum seekers comprehensive support by combining training, mentoring and socialisation activities.
What solution does the innovation propose?

SchlaU-Schule (Smart School) targets young refugees aged 16 to 25 and provides them with courses analogous to state schools and first-class student services such as social-psychological aid, legal assistance and special language training. The curriculum has been designed not only to achieve educational standards, but also to introduce newcomers into German society.


Münchner Schulpreis (2017). Deutschen Schulpreis, the Robert Bosch Stiftung (2014). Michael Stenger is an Ashoka Fellow (2009).

Impact evidence

  • In 2014, the project reached over 1,500 students.
  • 96% of participants graduate from secondary school within two years, which usually takes nine years of schooling.
  • SchlaU pupils get better grades in their exams than average German students.
How does it work?

Through a formalised school contract, the innovation encourages commitment and offers performance incentives while instilling essential skills for future success. The methodology is based on the following principles:

  • Learner-centred approach. The school puts the needs of the students in the centre of the learning process.
  • Individualised attention. Classes are small, with a maximum of 16 students, with teachers and social workers working on a one-on-one basis.
  • Tailored education materials. Educational materials are tailored to the needs of refugee youth.
  • Socialisation. Students are offered a range of extra-curricular activities such as a chess club, a school band, sewing classes and a theatre group, many involving local community volunteers.
  • Facilitating school-to-work transition. Students are connected to training opportunities, apprenticeships and employers through a mandatory two-week internship and mentorship programmes with pro bono business partners.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Munich, Germany.
Where has been implemented so far
Implemented throughout Bavaria.
Last updated: 
June 2017