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.
- 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 – 18:00
- 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.