16 Nov EFEE and ETUCE case study visit to Flanders on integration of migrants in education
On 7 and 8 November, the third case study visit took place of the joint ETUCE and EFEE project “ European Sectoral Social Partners in Education promoting effective integration of migrants and refugees in education”. Aim of the case study visit was to learn from experiences, challenges and good practices from education employers, teacher trade unions, school leaders, teachers, students, project leaders on promoting the integration of migrants in education. On behalf of EFEE, Sarah Kik, Assistant General Secretary, participated in the event. The first day, a meeting was organised to a primary school in Antwerp ‘De Wereldreiziger’. The principal and teachers provided an interesting insight in how they aimed to make inclusive education for all pupils, no matter their cultural or educational background, a reality. All pupils were integrated in regular classes and if necessary received one hour per week of intensive Dutch language lessons. Furthermore at the end of the day, the case study group met with a coach from PROFO (NGO) to learn more about their project with GO! Education of the Flemish Community (member of EFEE) on how to support youngsters with a refugee or migrant background (often non-accompanied minors) in dual VET courses to find their way into the labour market.
The second day, a visit was organised to a so-called ‘OKAN’ secondary school in Antwerp, the Marco Polo school. ‘OKAN’ stands for welcoming education for children who speak other languages (Onthaalklas voor Anderstalige Nieuwkomers in Dutch). The school provided courses for up to two years to newcomers in Flanders in order to give them a solid basis of Dutch and to help them to find their way in the Flemisch secondary school system that is caractorised by early selection (at the age of 12) for specific education streems (VET, pre-professional, pre-university, etc). The school promoted a learner-centred and holistic education vision to provide every student with the support it needed, be it on language learning, learning other subjects or vocational training, but also psychosocial support in cooperation with NGOs active in the city of Antwerp. In the afternoon, the case study group traveled to Brussels for a constructive debate with social partens and policy makers in education in Flanders on the integration of migrants as part of inclusive education in Flanders. In this session EFEE members from Catholic Education Flanders and POV (Provincial Education Flanders) participated together with a representative from the Ministry of Education of Flanders, and a representative of ACOD (teacher trade union). The outcomes of the case studies will be shared and discussed with all EFEE and ETUCE members during two training seminars in Denmark and Cyprus foreseen for 2019. Invitations will be send out in due time.
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