Children study in Berlin as part of Germany's Reading Start for Refugee Children initiative.

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Germany has hired teachers to help 196,000 school-age refugees learn to speak German

Angela Merkel's Germany continues to lead the way in welcoming asylum seekers to Europe

CNN  — 

Germany has recruited 8,500 extra teachers to educate child refugees this year, according to German media.

The teachers have been hired to give special language lessons to the 196,000 asylum seekers of school age who entered Germany in 2015.

“Schools and education administrations have never been confronted with such a challenge,” Brunhild Kurth, who heads Germany’s education authority, told Die Welt newspaper.

“We must accept that this exceptional situation will become the norm for a long time to come.”

Because schools in Germany are organized by federal states, information was collected by the newspaper on a state by state level, rather than nationally.

CNN obtained confirmation that 300 additional teachers of German as a second language have been hired this year in Saxony, a state in the east of Germany. The state plans to recruit 190 more by February.

“It’s an immense challenge … but we are full of confidence that we will cope with the influx of refugees at school,” Manja Kelch, press officer for Saxony’s Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, told CNN.

“In total we have now about 28.000 students at school with migration background.”

“Our experience is that the refugees often are very ambitious and willing to integrate. We have examples of refugees who are the best in their classes in our schools, in a very short time.”

Germany has led the way in welcoming asylum seekers to Europe.

The most economically powerful country in the European Union is set to take in more than 1 million refugees and migrants this year.

This is considerably more than any other European nation.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has set aside more than $6 billion to help feed and house the new arrivals.

CNN’s Barbara von Bulow contributed to this report.