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.