SIRIUS is the European Policy Network on the Education of Children and Young People with a Migrant Background that was initiated by the European Commission in 2012. The network facilitates inclusive policymaking by exchanging knowledge and experience between researchers, practitioners, immigrant youth and communities and policymakers for the development of joint strategies on migrant education. The current network is composed of 31 members in 18 countries.
One of the important strengths of SIRIUS is involving migrant communities themselves into dialogue to empower and raise awareness of immigrant grassroots organisations working in the area of inclusive education. The outcomes of SIRIUS’ work include recommendations and concrete policy guidelines on how to improve education systems to ensure equity, social inclusion and excellence in education.
The SIRIUS Network was funded by the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme from 2012 to 2014 and through bridging funding by the Mercator Foundation in 2015. From January 2015 onwards, SIRIUS has been building their activities up on its Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe and Recommendations:
• project-based activities led by Sirius partners:
• national and regional level dissemination events, roundtables and debates organised by SIRIUS national partners;
• engagement in EU level policy discussions and expert workshops;
• annual General Meeting;
• project proposals (see attached overview of 2012-2015 achievements).
This 2015 transition year allowed for the constitution of a new Executive Board and the design of a new structure independent of the European Commission and a new set of activities to maintain the network based on partners’ core interests and the major added value for stakeholders. Among others the Network has set up a Policy Advisory Board to facilitate the exchange and consultation between relevant policy makers across the EU and reinforce the knowledge brokerage function of the Network. In response to the current situation of refugees in Europe, the SIRIUS Network has issued a ‘Statement on Urgent Response for the Education of Refugees’ and has been collecting signatures for this document. The SIRIUS Executive Board therefore turned to the Open Society Foundation for a 3-year structural support of core SIRIUS activities, upon which both the network and Open Society Foundation can build new strategic projects and collaborations.
The Network became an international non-profit making association (“Association internationale sans but lucratif”) governed by the Belgian law of June 27th, 1921, on March 16th 2017. The Network has now a legal personality and is registered in Belgium as an international non-profit association.