How can education systems be made as inclusive as possible? This is a very difficult question, which many people, organisations and institutions have tried to find an answer to. OBESSU worked on it partly through the 2013-2014 campaign “Education, we have a problem!” and was happy to see that the topic generated a lot of interest from different perspectives.
One organisation working on the question is the SIRIUS Network, a supporter of the OBESSU campaign whose main interest is “education of children and young people with a migrant background”. SIRIUS is now gathering input for a set of recommendations on migrant education which will be presented at a conference in the European Parliament in November.
On the 29th of September, OBESSU was invited to a meeting to give its view on the topic. OBESSU’s Secretary General Rasmus Åberg attended the meeting and although the presented draft recommendations included many good points, there were also several things to improve from an OBESSU perspective. For example, the draft recommendations mention VET as a tool for combating social exclusion in education and while OBESSU firmly believes that VET should be seen as a respectable alternative to academic studies, it is important to stress the lifelong learning approach – VET students should learn things that will be useful for them later in life and not only what is in the short-term interest of companies. It is also important that a VET track does not mean that the door is closed for future higher education studies.
Another area which OBESSU stressed is the importance of having a learner-centred approach in all stages of education. An education system where the learner is in focus is the best way to guarantee a sustained interest in fulfilling the started education.
The OBESSU comments will now be included in the SIRIUS recommendations and we keep our fingers crossed that they will be picked up and implemented by the relevant policy-makers.
If you are interested in the topic of social inclusion in education with a migrant perspective, keep your eyes open for the OBESSU Study Session “Deport Xenophobia from European Classrooms”, to be held in Budapest in February 2015.
Written by Rasmus Åberg