The Norwegian National Round Table, NRT took place at Oslo Akershus University College in Oslo Tuesday, October 15th. It was organized by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (MOE), the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, Østfold University College and the National Centre for Multicultural Education (NAFO).
The theme for the NRT was: “Policies and Practices for Enhancing Educational Provisions for children and young people with a migrant background”, and the aims of the conference were to identify the current situation of education of immigrant children and good practice, and also to discuss how to implement the good practice.
The participants were welcomed by the national coordinator Eva Martinsen Dyrnes, and professor Anne-Lise Arnesen was the moderator of the conference. The SIRIUS Coordinator, Miquel Àngel Essomba, had a presentation of the SIRIUS network and how to do policy implementation. Synne Nordmark Børstad, Senior advisor at the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, presented the current situation on education of immigrant children in Norway, “minority students in the Norwegian society”. Thereafter two senior scientists on this topic, Anders Bakken and Berit Lødding, presented new research on the field.
After lunch we had a round table discussion about the current situation and how to implement good practice.
Here are the topics from the discussion:
- For newly arrived students it is important with early intervention and a prolonged training in second language. It is now given less training in mother tongue and bilingual training than earlier. It is also important to have a look at the contents and organisation of the training programs for the newly arrived students.
- Students who have not been residents in Norway very long meet great challenges at school.
- We have to look at, and consider, diversity and bilingualism as resources in both preschool and schools in general.
- It is important to facilitate so the students can make the right choice of education program. If the parents are given information and training to understand the Norwegian educational system, and what opportunities there are, they will be able to help their children make good and deliberate choices for their future. We also have to establish contact between the vocational students with a minority background and business and industry to pave way for apprenticeships.
- It is also important to do more and broader research on what kind of practice is good and must be implemented in the classroom. Also in teacher education researchers and policymakers have to collaborate on this implementation. A good and sustainable teacher education presupposes this implementation of good practice.
- The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training has published some resources with examples of good practice and how to implement it in school.
- We also have to establish an education for bilingual teachers, and at the same time set standards for their Norwegian language skills. At the same time we have to enhance the competence amongst employees in the schools to prevent migrant students leaving school early. It is also important with good competence in mapping the migrant students’ competence when they start school.
- Libraries are, like schools, important for children and youths’ language education.
- The families socioeconomic level has an impact on the migrant children`s education, how do we relate to that?
Eva Martinsen Dyrnes
Norwegian national SIRIUS coordinator