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Implementing Policies and Networking

Description

The most important activity of WP1 happens during year 1, as it is the most important moment to start up with the whole activity. Some relevant efforts must be implemented to build up a common and shared view on the themes and the methodologies that we are going to use for the three years, creating a sense of collective frame. That is why that personal contact could be facilitated in a big kick-off event, and then to define the basic issues for the whole project. It is scheduled this big kick-off meeting in Month 3 in Barcelona. It will also be important to design and upload those virtual instruments that must be useful for both internal and external communication. Then, a general website should be available by the end of the first semester. Finally, the network must finish the first year with a strong feeling of utility. This means that some products and outputs should have been finished by the end of the year: sharing knowledge activity and report on policy implementation. At the end of the year (month 11), another general meeting in Barcelona will be done in order to evaluate project development and plan next year.

Current activities

  • SIRIUS Policy Briefs: Recommendations for successful policies on migrant education

    By Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on December 12, 2014
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    SIRIUS

    While many countries in Europe have high-quality, well-established education systems, socio-economically disadvantaged communities across the continent suffer from inequality of access and lower-quality education. Children from these groups, including children with a migrant background—those who are immigrants themselves or have immigrant parents—tend to underperform in the classroom compared with their native peers. Children from a migrant background (defined here as from countries outside the European Union) have particular educational needs that mainstream education policy does not always meet, including overcoming language barriers and discrimination. Recognizing the importance of education in allowing countries to realize their potential, the European Commission has developed a series of goals in the form of the Education and Training Strategy (ET 2020) to help Member States reduce school dropout and increase rates of tertiary education completion.

    In 2011, the European Commission launched the SIRIUS Policy Network on the Education of Children and Youngsters with a Migrant Background to study and propose ways that EU countries can address the needs of disadvantaged groups while working to meet the goals outlined in ET 2020. The network facilitates the ability of experts, policymakers, and practitioners to gather and share policy ideas and practices to improve outcomes for these children.

    This series of policy papers produced by experts from within the SIRIUS Network in collaboration with MPI Europe focuses on how policies at the EU level and within individual Member States can better support the education outcomes of young people with a migrant background.

    Enhancing EU Education Policy: Building a Framework to Help Young People of Migrant Background Succeed

    coverthumb-SIRIUS-Overview

    This policy brief sketches how children with a migrant background face the most urgent needs in Europe’s education systems. The overall rate for early school leaving is 33 percent for third-country nationals—more than double the overall 14.1 percent rate within the European Union, for example. Rates of youth unemployment and young people “Not in Education, Employment or Training” (NEET) are significantly higher for first- and second-generation migrants than for their native peers in most EU Member States. The brief examines a number of proposals for ways that local, national, and regional institutions can help educational systems become more community-centered, systemic, and inclusive in order to close the school achievement gap between native and immigrant students.

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Newsletter on different aspects of enhancing education policy is available here.

    Mentoring: What Can Support Projects Achieve That Schools Cannot?

    coverthumb-SIRIUS-mentoring

    This policy brief explores how European policymakers can design mentoring and other educational support projects to be an integral part of the educational landscape, and explains why it is important for them to do so. It highlights examples of successful mentoring experiences that focus on cultivating the hidden talents and potential of children of immigrants, countering prevailing narratives about these children possessing an educational deficit and needing to “catch up” in school. Finally, the brief summarizes current research on the benefits of mentoring and offers recommendations for program development and for policymakers at the EU level.

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Newsletter on different aspects of mentoring is available here.

    Developing School Capacity for Diversity

    schoolcapacity_policybrief

    This policy brief uses the concept of professional capacity to frame SIRIUS’s recommendations regarding school quality. It identifies four key areas for improvement: language diversity, the learning environment, social psychology and acculturation, and community connections. To develop expertise in these areas, the brief outlines three strategies for policymakers:

    - build professional learning communities that focus on diversity;

    - build networks of expertise on diversity;

                               - and develop teacher training programs dedicated to diversity.

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Newsletter on different aspects of capacity building is available here.

    Language Support for Youth with a Migrant Background: Policies that Effectively Promote Inclusion

    coverthumb-SIRIUS-Language_Support

    This policy brief provides key points and good practice examples on what comprehensive language support might look like. Recent  studies have identified a number of tools and approaches that can provide effective language support for migrant children, including adequate initial assessment of language skills, language induction programmes that ensure a smooth transition into mainstream classrooms, ongoing language support, training for teachers of all subjects, and valuing students’ mother tongue. Despite these suggestions, there is no blueprint for what ideal language support might look like, and many European Union (EU) Member States are facing gaps in implementation of best practices.

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Newsletter on different aspects of language support is available here.

    Migrant education and community inclusion

    Migrant education and community inclusion

    This policy brief reviews current measures to promote the integration of migrant students around Europe, specifically those policies and government-backed projects that include the family and community as an integral part of the educational process. The brief will focus on seven examples of good practices that might serve as an inspiration for education policies across the continent. 

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Policy Brief is available here.

    Reducing the risk that youth with a migrant background in Europe will leave school early

     Reducing the risk that youth with a migrant background in Europe will leave school early

    Even as the European Union (EU) in general moves closer to the EU 2020 target of reducing early school leaving (ESL) to a 10 percent threshold, wide disparities remain. Varied rates of progress can be seen not only across Member States and media, but also among social and ethnic groups within the 28 Member States. With the exception of the United Kingdom and Portugal, youth with an immigrant background are over represented among those who leave school early. Migrant youth therefore remain a target group for EU policy recommendations regarding strategies, policies, and measures to reduce ESL.

    In this policy brief the authors focus on empirical findings, theoretical insights, and promising measures that may inform further policy action addressing the disproportionately high level of ESL among youth with a migrant background. The following three questions structure the content of this brief:

    1/ What can be learned from empirical research on ESL among migrant youth?

    2/ What features of national and regional education system can prevent ESL among migrant youth?

    3/ What specific settings are promising for the implementation of measures to prevent, intervene in, and compensate for ESL among migrant youth? 

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Policy Brief is available here

    Refugee children in education in Europe. How to prevent a lost generation?

    Refugee children in education in Europe - how to prevent a lost generation

    In the policy brief we will show what refugee children need to be successful in school. We identified six major school arrangements that affect school success.

    1. Free of costs pre-school places for the youngest refugee children to start to learn the second language early.
    2. Sustained second language programs should be available from pre-school until upper-secondary school to accommodate children from all age groups. Teachers should get up-to-date second language teacher training and especially developed materials and methods.
    3. For 16+ and 18+ students: Education should be available also after compulsory schooling (for instance adult education) if we want to prevent a lost generation. Stopping or only providing limited access to education beyond compulsory schooling is highly disruptive.
    4. Short introductory classes, after which students are immersed into regular classes. Being placed for one or two years in welcome classes or international classes is detrimental to school success. Introductory classes should be connected to all secondary school levels (not just vocational education).
    5. Additional support teachers should be assigned to follow up on children’s needs.
    6. Direct access to English Master programs for students holding a BA, comparable to international students.

    An integrated approach is key, where these arrangements are linked together (See also the recommendations of European Commission Report: Study for educational support for newly arrived migrants, PPMI 2013). For example, short introductory programs can only be successful when combined with sustained second language support.

    This policy brief is mainly focused on education measures, however other policies and factors that have an impact on the education chances and outcomes of refugee children and youngsters.

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Policy Brief is available here.

    School Leaders – Advocates for Refugee and Migrants Students

    School leaders

    SIRIUS Policy Network on Migrant Education has since 2012 debated and researched policy priorities for migrant education and inclusion. Although its research did not specifically zoom in on the roles and responsibilities of the School leaders in this regards, the SIRIUS Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe (2014) outlines specific recommendations regarding the school leaders. The further exploration within the network and its experts and consultation with relevant other stakeholders from European Policy Network on School Leadership (EPNoSL) shines more light on the key roles school leaders have in implementing migrant and refugee education policy. With this Policy Brief SIRIUS attempts to highlight the school leaders as advocates for refugee and migrant students, agents of inclusiveness and social justice and focus on the role of school leaders in the implementation of refugee and migrant education policy as well as provide policy makers with recommendations on how to best support school leaders.

    The thematically focused SIRIUS Policy Brief is available here.

     

     

    Regional Policy Paper

    Migrant Education Opportunities in the Baltic States: strong dependence on the level of school preparedness

    Baltic states policy paperThe purpose of this policy paper is to explore the national policy measures related to pupils with a migrant background in the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The paper aims to identify similarities of policy responses to specific educational needs related to migrant background and point out the differences in approaches, bringing forward the examples of successful practice. The paper serves as an overview of the topic in the Baltic region, which aims to enable mutual learning and inspire the development of most effective strategies in order to shape education policies towards greater inclusiveness to respond to the diverse needs of the learners.

  • Press release: Migrant education policies across Europe: “the most important issue facing European education over the next decade”

    By Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on November 19, 2014
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    BRUSSELS — The SIRIUS Network on the education of children and young people with a migrant background has developed recommendations and a clear Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe that give concrete guidelines on how to improve education systems so as to decrease the achievement gap for all low-achieving students.

    According to the Institute of Policy Studies in Education (London Metropolitan University), “migrant education is the most important issue facing European education over the next decade”. While the EU has underlined the importance of education and has set ambitious targets for the improvement of educational results, migrant children are often overlooked in national policy making. This is why we need to highlight successful strategies to effectively implement education policies with targeted measures for migrant students on a systematic level.

    Children with migrant background are disproportionally represented among dropouts and the lowest performing percentiles because they have a number of critical, and specific, education needs that are not currently met through mainstream education policy. Yet migrant children form a large percentage of the EU population. According to EU data, 8.3 million young people in the EU Member States (3.1 million under 15 and 5.2 million aged 15-24) were born abroad, while the number of second-generation young adults (aged 15-34) are estimated at over four million. The youth unemployment and young people “Not in Education, Employment or Training” (NEET) rates are significantly higher for first and second generation migrants than for their native peers in most EU Member States. The EU Migrant Integration Indicators indicate that the share of early school leaving among foreign-born learners in the EU is nearly twice as high as among the total population. Eurostat’s 2011 statistical report on Migrants in Europe also shows that the shares are higher for second-generation youth with migrant parents.

    The European Union has underlined the importance of education, notably in its 10 year EU growth and competitiveness strategy, EU 2020. The strategy sets ambitious targets for the improvement of educational results: reducing school drop-out rates to below 10% (currently at 12%), and ensuring that at least 40% of 30-34 year olds have completed tertiary education by 2020 (currently at 36.9%). The results of the Education and Training Monitor 2014 show that we still have some way to go to achieving these results, and SIRIUS insists that these targets will be achieved only if we focus on reducing the inequalities of access to schooling and quality of education for socio-economically disadvantaged communities across the continent, in particular for migrants coming from a low socio-economic background.

    Updating the agenda on the education of migrant learners may help EU Member States to reach their common targets for a smart and inclusive economic growth and against youth unemployment. For example, the EU’s 2013 report on Using EU Indicators of Immigrant Integration estimates that closing the gap in early school leaving rates for foreign-born learners would bring the EU 30% closer to its headline target of reducing this rate to 10% and prevent half a million young people from leaving school early, which accounts for 8.7% of all early school leavers in the EU.

    “The agenda for migrant education in Europe comes at a critical time. In this time of austerity and increasing migration in Europe we need to be doing more – not less – for migrant learners” commented Miquel Angel Essomba, General Coordinator of the SIRIUS European Policy Network.

    END

    Notes

    1. The Agenda, recommendations and full list of endorsements can be read at: http://www.sirius-migrationeducation.org/a-clear-agenda-for-migrant-education-in-europe/
    2. SIRIUS is organising a conference in Brussels on 19-20 November 2014 to establish how to make school a success story for children and youth with migrant background: http://www.sirius-migrationeducation.org/sirius-conference-helping-children-and-youth-with-migrant-background-succeed-making-schools-matter-for-all-november-2014/ Young people with a migrant background, as well as practitioners and policy makers, will be available for interviews. You can already read some interviews with migrant run organisations working on different aspects of inclusive education on Immigrant Contribution section of the SIRIUS Website: http://www.sirius-migrationeducation.org/the-immigrant-contribution-2/

    SIRIUS is a European Policy Network on the education of children and young people with a migrant background. The project runs over a three-year period (2012-14) and is funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. Network partners include research centres, universities, civil-society organisations and public entities. SIRIUS integrates existing studies and reports on migrant education, updates data and hopes to transform the policy implementation on migration and education throughout the European Union. For more, visit www.sirius-migrationeducation.org.

    The Brussels-based Migration Policy Group (MPG) has been active in the SIRIUS Network as Communications Manager since 2012. MPG is an independent non-profit European organisation dedicated to strategic thinking and acting on equality and mobility. Mobility refers on the one hand to geographic mobility and the international movement of people leading to migration, settlement and integration, and on the other hand to social mobility that is hampered by discrimination and is promoted by equal opportunities.  For more on its work, visit www.migpolgroup.com

  • Language Support for Youth with a Migrant Background: Policies that Effectively Promote Inclusion

    By Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on November 14, 2014
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    coverthumb-SIRIUS-Language_SupportIt is crucial for children of migrant background in Europe to become proficient in their host country’s main language of instruction. Lack of instruction-language proficiency impedes students’ comprehension and ability to follow lessons, which can lead to poor academic performance.

    To avoid such outcomes, schools should provide sufficient support for youth of migrant background to learn and master the language of instruction. Teachers should also receive training to address the linguistic needs of their students in the best way possible. At the same time, schools could support the continued use and study of pupils’ mother tongue, which can both help students learn the host-country language and enrich the educational environment by introducing cultural and linguistic diversity.

    A new policy brief published by MPI Europe and the SIRIUS Policy Network on the education of children and youngsters with a migrant background, Language support for youth with a migrant background: Policies that effectively promote inclusion, provides key points and good practice examples on what comprehensive language support might look like.

    Recent studies have identified a number of tools and approaches that can provide effective language support for migrant children, including adequate initial assessment of language skills, language induction programmes that ensure a smooth transition into mainstream classrooms, ongoing language support, training for teachers of all subjects, and valuing students’ mother tongue. Despite these suggestions, there is no blueprint for what ideal language support might look like, and many European Union (EU) Member States are facing gaps in implementation of best practices.

    Download Policy Brief on Language Support

    The Brief is also available for download in French, German and Spanish.

    This policy brief is part of a series produced by the SIRIUS Network in collaboration with MPI Europe, which focuses on how policies at the EU level and within individual Member States can better support the education outcomes of young people with a migrant background.

    Via Migration Policy Institute 

  • Developing School Capacity for Diversity

    By Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on November 12, 2014
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    schoolcapacity_policybriefFor children of migrant background, school quality is critical to ensuring academic success. Research shows that school quality has a greater impact on the education outcomes of migrant children compared to their peers of higher socioeconomic status or ethnic majority background. Therefore, any comprehensive strategy to improve the educational position of migrant children must work to improve the quality of schools themselves.

    School quality, or professional capacity, encompasses the capacity of its teachers, administrators, and other staff. It can be measured by examining the content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and interpersonal skills of instructors; the level of responsibility administrators give teachers; and whether all staff work together in a cohesive, professional learning community. Schools with these communities, in which teachers work continuously to improve their teaching practices and learn from their colleagues, are more effective in encouraging student achievement in disadvantaged areas than are schools where teachers do little to reflect on their practices.

    This policy brief uses the concept of professional capacity to frame SIRIUS’s recommendations regarding school quality. It identifies four key areas for improvement: language diversity, the learning environment, social psychology and acculturation, and community connections. To develop expertise in these areas, the brief outlines three strategies for policymakers:

    1. build professional learning communities that focus on diversity;
    2. build networks of expertise on diversity;
    3. and develop teacher training programs dedicated to diversity.

    Download Policy Brief on School Capacity for Diversity

    The Brief is also available for download in French, German and Spanish.

    This policy brief is part of a series produced by the SIRIUS Network in collaboration with MPI Europe, which focuses on how policies at the EU level and within individual Member States can better support the education outcomes of young people with a migrant background.

    Via Migration Policy Institute 

  • Mentoring: What Can Support Projects Achieve That Schools Cannot?

    By Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on November 6, 2014
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    Although corporate multinational firms around the world have long reaped the benefits of mentoring and coaching programs, such programs are a relatively new fixture in Europe’s education system. For disadvantaged children of migrant background, who are disproportionately among those who underperform in the classroom, mentoring programs provide specific and personalized support on the road to academic success. Mentors who act as role models and fill the role of an older sibling can help improve the cognitive gains, self-esteem, and self-reliance of their mentees. When a high-achieving university student with an immigrant background teams up with a younger, at-risk student with immigrant parents, the positive effects can extend far beyond the classroom.

    In fact, mentoring is important precisely because it addresses core needs that schools themselves are not equipped to fill. The intense and individualized guidance provided via mentoring can motivate students more deeply and personally, and learning in an informal setting rather than a classroom can be a refreshing change for teenagers. Additionally, mentors can tackle emotional, cognitive, and social problems in a more holistic manner—for example, by reaching out to a student’s parents—than teachers are able to realize in the constraints of the school environment. The power of mentors lies in their ability to push pupils to become agents of their own educational trajectories and destinies.

    This policy brief explores how European policymakers can design mentoring and other educational support projects to be an integral part of the educational landscape, and explains why it is important for them to do so. It highlights examples of successful mentoring experiences that focus on cultivating the hidden talents and potential of children of immigrants, countering prevailing narratives about these children possessing an educational deficit and needing to “catch up” in school. Finally, the brief summarizes current research on the benefits of mentoring and offers recommendations for program development and for policymakers at the EU level.

    Download Policy Brief on Mentoring

    The Brief is also available for download in French, German and Spanish.

    This policy brief is part of a series produced by the SIRIUS Network in collaboration with MPI Europe, which focuses on how policies at the EU level and within individual Member States can better support the education outcomes of young people with a migrant background.

    Via Migration Policy Institute 

Activity leaders

  • Miquel Àngel Essomba

    Co-Leader on Implementing policies and networking

    Doctor in Education, I also have a Master in Psychology of Education and I am a postgraduate on Intercultural Education. I am currently professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Education at the University Autonomous of Barcelona, where I am also leading a research team within the Department of Applied Pedagogy, called ERDISC (Research on Diversity and Interculturality in Complex Societies).

  • Claudia Koehler

    Co-Leader on Implementing policies and networking

    Claudia Koehler holds a degree in sociology at the University of Bamberg. She has been working as a researcher for the european forum for migration studies (efms), institute at the University of Bamberg, since 2008.