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.
- By Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on November 4, 2014
Since September 2013, Migration Policy Group has held a number of stakeholder meetings with European civil society stakeholders in order to develop a common vision on migrant education amongst migration and education stakeholders. The aim of these meetings was, in particular, to develop policy recommendations in order to consolidate a migrant education agenda on the basis of the consensus of European civil society stakeholders on the following topics:
- Educational support to newly arrived migrant children
- Promoting multilingualism among immigrants
- Vocational education and training to counter social exclusion
- School concentration
- The face of diversity: How to increase the representation of people with a migrant background in education
- Teacher training and professional capacity
- Mentoring in education
Once the policy recommendations had been developed and agreed with the SIRIUS steering committee, another consultation took place with the stakeholders in order to agree on a final version of the agenda and recommendations on migrant education.
Thanks to the input of numerous EU stakeholders as well as a variety of SIRIUS partners, a A Clear Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe has been developed, together with the recommendations on the above mentioned topics. Many of those who contributed to the meetings and the agenda also endorsed the document with the following messages:
- European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA): EAEA is happy to endorse the recommendations coming from the SIRIUS network as they complement our work in adult education. Access to learning for migrants must be a priority from early childhood to adulthood.
- European Association of History Educators (EUROCLIO): Supports the SIRIUS Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe and in particular its call for more inclusive educational systems and approaches, in line with EUROCLIO’s principle of high quality history, heritage and citizenship education that embraces cultural, religious and linguistic diversity as a way to foster social cohesion and contribute to intercultural dialogue.
- European Network against Racism (ENAR): Endorses the document A Clear Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe along with its Recommendation to Educational Authorities in Member States.
- European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW): If we want to live in a just society, education is the place to start with. If we want migrant girls to be a part to that society, education is a real place to support them.
- European Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD): Fully supports the SIRIUS Network recommendations and works to ensure an equitable approach to multilingualism, including state languages but also regional, minority, lesser-used as well as migrant languages.
- European Parents Association (EPA): Parents’ associations all over Europe are aware of the challenges migrant families are facing when trying to adjust to a new country and a new education system. The European Parents’ Association finds it very important that all children are supported in their education in a way that serves their best interest and at the same time parents are also given all necessary state support as stated in Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- European Students’ Union (ESU): ESU was founded on the idea that every student should be respected and represented. We view these recommendations and their focus on a learner-centred approach as integral in achieving this and allowing all students to prosper within the education system regardless of socio-economic background. For this reason we fully endorse the document.
- European Youth Forum (EYF): EYF demands quality and inclusive education for everyone. The EU rate of early school leaving being almost double for foreign-born learners points to difficulties and barriers that EU leaders must take urgent action to tackle. These recommendations, produced after careful study by the SIRIUS group, show what action is essential for the inclusion of young migrants and those with a migrant-background and we urge EU leaders to act to implement them.
- International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion Research Network (IMISCOE): The Clear Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe along with its Recommendation to Educational Authorities in Member States came into being with the support of IMISCOE.
- Migration Policy Group (MPG): Through SIRIUS, education stakeholders, migration stakeholders, and immigrant-run initiatives have finally come together at both national and EU level to create and endorse a common agenda for an inclusive and equitable education for immigrant learners. MPG hopes that these and other actors will take up and implement these recommendations at national and EU level, leading to greater mainstreaming, better coordination and more effective policies on the ground.
- Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Europe: Policies that support migrant students in their educational trajectories, from early childhood through secondary, vocational and adult education, are essential to improve outcomes and successful integration efforts for migrant children and their families. MPI Europe endorses the SIRIUS policy network’s recommendations on improving education for children and young people with a migrant background and their goal of promoting access to high quality learning opportunities for all.
- Network of Education Policy Centers (NEPC): Endorses SIRIUS in its work to provide equal educational opportunities for all in European Union. NEPC believes that education policy at all levels of education should be driven by the principles of social justice and the need to remove all forms of inequity from our educational systems which are crucial for creating societies based on values that EU promotes. The promotion of equal opportunities is not just the responsibility of policy makers but all the stakeholders in education who should strive for continuous improvements in this aspect.
- Open Society Foundations: Endorses the call from the SIRIUS network for a clear agenda to affirm and support the equal right to education in inclusive settings for all European residents, including children and youth with migrant backgrounds. We welcome the recommendations put forward here by SIRIUS to strengthen education inclusion and equity, they are important for improving the quality of education overall and crucial for building a stronger and fairer Europe. We endorse the agenda for this conference and urge Member States to incorporate these principles in their education policies.
- Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU): OBESSU strongly believes that each learner has the right to high-quality education, regardless of socio-economic background. These recommendations, focusing on one particular aspect of social inclusion in education, are completely in line with OBESSU’s views on the topic and we therefore fully support it.
- Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM): As well as the challenges that all migrant children may face to enjoying their education and realising their full potential, undocumented children face specific discrimination in European education systems due to their migration or residence status. Policy makers and service providers should ensure inclusion of undocumented children in measures to improve educational outcomes for migrant children, and address the specific status-related barriers, to enable all children to have access to high-quality education at all levels, without discrimination.
Enhancing EU Education Policy: Building a Framework to Help Young People of Migrant Background SucceedBy Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on November 4, 2014
While many countries in Europe have high-quality, well-established education systems, socioeconomically 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.
This 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.
According to EU data, 8.3 million young people in the EU Member States (3.1 million under age 15 and 5.2 million ages 15-24) were born abroad, while the number of second-generation young adults (ages 15-34) is estimated at more than 4 million.
Download Policy Brief
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.
Brussels, 19-20 November 2014: “Helping Children and Youth with Migrant Background Succeed: Making schools matter for all”By Berta Espona on November 4, 2014
Education remains a critical element of government policy in the twenty-first century. A society with strong educational outcomes will have a better chance for economic and social development, and realize the potential of its citizens. Strong education systems allow societies to become equitable and meritocratic at the same time in a balanced way, facilitating both social mobility and inclusion. Education empowers people to participate fully in the community and strengthens democracies.
European Union policy has underlined the importance of education, notably in its most recent EU growth and competitiveness strategy, EU2020. The strategy sets ambitious targets for the improvement of educational results: reducing school drop-out rates to below 10%, and ensuring that at least 40% of 30-34 year old citizens have completed tertiary education by 2020. In order to achieve this goal, the European Commission has developed an Education and Training Strategy (ET2020) based on strategic objectives that include promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship. While European countries have well-established education systems, there exists a strong inequality of access to schooling and quality of education for socio-economically disadvantaged communities across the continent, in particular for migrant groups. 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.
A SIRIUS Conference entitled “Helping Children and Youth with Migrant Background Succeed: Making schools matter for all” will take place in Brussels on 19 and 20 November 2014 in order to highlight successful strategies identified by the SIRIUS Network over the past three years to effectively implement holistic education policies with targeted measures for migrant students on a systematic level. At the local level and with a particular focus on children and youth, we will outline our suggestions for developing inclusive classrooms within schools that are open learning spaces and that develop strategic partnerships with the local community.Invited by MEP Tonino Picula in association with the Network of Education Policy Centres (NEPC), we will join together with policy makers, education and migration experts and practitioners and migrant youth representatives to look at making reform of education happen by:
- Discussing policy recommendations to improve the education of migrant children and garnering commitment for their implementation.
- Highlighting systematic approaches to improving equal access and opportunities to quality education for children and youth with migrant background.
- Identifying the keys to making inclusive policy making a reality.
20 November 2014: The schools we need
Committee of the Regions
09:00 – 18:00Together with migrant youth representation, education and migration experts and practitioners and policy makers, we aim to:
- Discuss state-of-art of school level approaches to improving equal access and opportunities to quality education for children and youth with migrant background, their contextual aspects and possibilities of transferability to other countries.
- Outline good practice to support schools in addressing educational needs of children and youth with migrant background.
- Agree on strategies to foster school/community partnerships and increase active involvement of migrant youth and communities in school decisions.
- Give participants the space to seek and share solutions to issues and to the challenges that this issue provides.
After the conference, on 21st November, will take place at vlor headquarters the 6th SIRIUS General Meeting.
- By Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on November 3, 2014
The European Union has underlined the importance of education, notably in its most recent 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%, and ensuring that at least 40% of 30-34 year olds have completed tertiary education by 2020. This goal was developed from and is supported by the Education and Training Strategy (ET 2020), which is based on strategic objectives that include promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship.
While European countries have well-established education systems, there exists a strong inequality 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. 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. Clearly, young people with migrant background have a number of critical and specific education needs that are still not met and may not be compensated for through current education policies or in the classroom. 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.
Agenda and supporting Recommendations
The SIRIUS Network on the education of children and young people with a migrant background has spent the past three years debating policy priorities for migrant education and inclusion. EU and national stakeholder meetings, conferences, peer reviews and site visits have contributed to our knowledge on how education systems must change to provide all learners with the skills and knowledge to perform to their potential in today’s diverse societies.
Summarising the results of these activities, the Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe and the supporting recommendations for EU institutions and for Member State authorities present a vision on migrant education and a set of policy recommendations that aim to promote a more inclusive education system and lead to a decrease in the achievement gap between pupils with and without a migrant background. Migration Policy Group, as SIRIUS’ Communications Officer, developed a first draft based on the outcomes of the EU stakeholder meetings that have taken place since September 2013, as well as recommendations from numerous SIRIUS publications. This text was improved upon through a consultative process with the SIRIUS Steering Committee, SIRIUS’ national and collaborative partners, as well as EU stakeholders from August to October 2014.
The final version of this document is well supported by a wide variety of actors who aim to help raise and spread a strong message for a more inclusive education policy including for immigrant learners.
- A Clear Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe
- Supporting document: Recommendations on improving education for children and young people with a migrant (for both Educational Authorities in Member States and EU Institutions)
- Endorsements for the Agenda and Recommendations on Migrant Education
Migrant Education Platform: Consultation with European Stakeholders on Recommendations for the Migrant Education agendaBy Sarah Cooke O'Dowd on September 30, 2014
European Union policy underlines the importance of education, notably in its most recent EU growth and competitiveness strategy, EU2020. The strategy sets ambitious targets for the improvement of educational results: reducing school drop-out rates to below 10%, and ensuring that at least 40% of 30-34 year old citizens have completed tertiary education by 2020. In order to achieve this goal, the European Commission has developed an Education and Training Strategy (ET2020) based on strategic objectives that include promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship.
While European countries have well-established education systems, there exists a strong inequality of access to schooling and quality of education for socio-economically disadvantaged communities across the continent, in particular for migrant groups. 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 aren’t currently met through mainstream education policy.
The SIRIUS network on the education of children and young people with a migration background has spent the past three years debating policy priorities for migrant education and inclusion. Stakeholder meetings, conferences, peer reviews and site visits have contributed to a common vision on how education systems must change to provide all pupils with the skills and knowledge to perform to their potential in today’s diverse societies. Summarising the results of these activities, and the EU stakeholder meetings in particular, a common vision on migrant education and a set of policy recommendations has been developed that aims to promote a more inclusive education system and lead to a decrease in the achievement gap between pupils with and without a migrant background.
On 29th September, Migration Policy Group brought together European stakeholders with the objective of finding a consensus on the vision and the recommendations. Stakeholders representing students, adults, education councils, language diversity supporters and migrants commented on the document from their viewpoint, and concrete proposals were set forward in order to improve the reception of the document by national and EU level decision makers. Written comments from those stakeholders not able to attend will be collected until the 10th October, while at the same time comments from national SIRIUS partners will also be welcome in the same time frame.
The agreed version will be presented in the European Parliament on 19 November at the SIRIUS Conference Helping Children and Youth with Migrant Background Succeed: Making Schools Matter for All, with the objective of presenting our vision for the future of the migrant education agenda in Europe.