Inclusive Education. Fighting Inequalities in Education and Training – Brussels, 10 December 2014

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Wed 10 December, 09:30-11:00 // Mundo J (Rue de l’Industrie 10), Brussels

Learning is powerful in getting people more engaged in society in its economic, political and social dimensions. Providing high quality learning opportunities to all and especially to the most disadvantaged is crucial not only for our ageing workforce to cope with ever more competitive and changing labour markets, but also to be more socially included and have better living conditions. Unfortunately, inequalities persist in European education and training systems where vulnerable groups like migrants are particularly disadvantaged. As European history shows, rising inequalities go hand in hand with rising nationalism and discrimination.

EUCIS-LLL firmly believes that we should refocus EU cooperation on equity, democracy and social cohesion. They highlight the need to re-engage to deliver the vision of a social Europe with high levels of quality education in respect of Article 9 of the Treaty. The EU has undertaken a series of actions to answer some of these challenges including the Youth Guarantee, cooperation on early-school leaving, Social Investment Package, social dimension of the Bologna Process and the Roma Initiative. However, we miss a coherent strategy heading those measures towards clear goals and national/regional roadmaps and a strong political will.

The Launch of the flagship initiative on ‘Inclusive Education. Fighting Inequalities in Education and Training‘ on 10th December will take place during the Lifelong Learning Week 2014 (#LLLWeek2014). The seminar is meant to bring people together to discuss what the strategy on inclusive education could look like within the Europe 2020 Strategy. Thomas Huddleston of the Migration Policy Group will be there to present the SIRIUS  Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe.

The event is organised by the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL), with the support of MEP Julie Ward (S&D, UK).

Agenda

Opening session

  • Welcome words from Daniele DI MITRI, EUCIS-LLL Vice-President
  • Opening by MEP Julie WARD, UK, S&D

Presentation

  • Paul DOWNES, Director, Educational Disadvantage Centre, Senior Lecturer in Education (Psychology), St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University

Panel discussion

Group discussions

Conclusions

For further information: EUCIS-LLL Website

Germany: Rethinking and improving teacher training

Germany’s union for education and science is gearing up to host a conference in September focused on helping teachers navigate the challenges of working in a 21st century classroom.

Education International’s (EI) affiliate, The Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW), will launch its GEW Forum on the future of teacher training with a conference, Beyond Teacher Education, in Leipzig, central Germany on 25 September.

“Inclusive education, school structural reforms, full-time teaching: not only the requirements for schools, but also the challenges for teachers are changing,” said GEW Deputy President and board member responsible for Universities and Research Dr. Andreas Keller.Not least, the growing diversity in the classroom means that teachers must be more than just pedagogues. Meeting these new challenges requires good qualifications before entering the profession and continuous in-service training for teachers.”

The GEW adopted an “action plan on teacher education” at its 27th national union conference in 2013 held in Dusseldorf, putting the reform of teacher education on the next year’s agenda, he reminded.

During the fall, the new Forum on teacher training will also begin its work. Representatives of Länder (states) associations, professional groups and GEW branches, as well as experts and representatives from federal and state universities and educational organisations will take part.

 “All teachers and teaching staff, as well as academics and teacher students are cordially invited to the conference,” said Keller. “This event is a GEW contribution to the EI’s Unite for Quality Education campaign and will be a great start for our new GEW Forum on the future of teacher training and a good preparation to World Teachers’ Day on 5 October.”

The conference will also see EI Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst give a presentation on “What makes a good teacher and a good teacher? Professionalisation, skills and conflict of interest” shedding an international light on this topic.

Via Education International

SIRIUS links

Building Professional Capacity concerning the Educational Position of migrant children Report

Teacher Training and Professional Capacity – Stakeholder meeting report

Teachers from migrant and minority background meeting report

Are you an immigrant-run organisation that works in the area of inclusive education?

We want you!

  • Do you represent migrant teachers, parents or students?

  • Do you help students with a migrant background with after school activities?

  • Do you as a community organisation work with schools to improve the services they offer?

  • Do you do any other activities that aim to achieve a more inclusive and diverse education system?

If you are an migrant-run organisation and answer yes to any of these questions, we would like to interview you!

We are looking to carry out interviews with migrant-run grassroots organisations around Europe that work in the area of inclusive education and would like to be included in The Immigrant Contribution section of the SIRIUS Website.

We include these profiles on the website both to empower and raise awareness of immigrant grassroots organisations working in the area of inclusive education around Europe.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to sirius@migpolgroup.com with a brief outline of the organisation, including the following:

  • Name & Website of organisation (if there is a website)
  • Why was the organisation set up (what gap did it seek to fill)?
  • How does the organisation support inclusive education?

Sweden: How to support inclusive education in a school where 99% of students are descendants of immigrants

Ronnaskolan
Ronnaskolan

99 percent of the 800 students at the school Ronnaskolan in Södertälje, a city southwest of Stockholm, are pupils with a migrant background. With most of them born in Syria and Iraq, the numbers of new arrivals remain high: at least one fifth of the students has been living in Sweden for less than two years. A situation that can easily exceed school capacities, especially when considering that many pupils do not speak Swedish when arriving at school, have experienced war and expulsion in their country of origin or come from a low socio-economic background. Despite these challenges, Ronnaskolan has been remarkably successful in preparing its students for secondary education and providing quality education.

Principal Lina Axelsson Kihlblom has recently shared her vision of inclusive education in an interview with Lärarnas Nyheter, a Swedish magazine on education. When she started working for the school, only about half of the pupils were able to transition to secondary education, which in Sweden starts in grade 10. Two years later, already 76 percent of pupils had the sufficient grades to move up to higher education. Asked how such an “at risk” student population can perform that well, the prinicpal explained how the school was able to steadily improve their educational outcomes.

According to Axelsson Kihlblom, this process begins with defining concrete goals and having a clear idea of what the school should look like in the future. Convinced about the value of learning with and from each other, they stopped putting newly arrived students in a separate preparatory class. Instead, everyone is taught together in the same classroom to avoid segregation from the start. Newly arrived children then also follow one full day of learning Swedish as a second language. Although it does slow down teaching sometimes, Axelsson Kihlblom assures that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks; it sends a strong message that every student is equally valuable and that the school has high expectations and confidence in their newcomers. To ensure that slower learners receive the support they need without at the same time under-challenging other pupils, Ronnaskolan has introduced a two-teacher model. This means that in most classes two teachers are present to respond to the different needs of pupils. In addition, the school offers individual support for underperforming pupils. In regular meetings with both the student and his or her parents, teachers discuss the pupil’s goals and jointly work on a step-by-step plan on how to achieve them. Apart from closely involving parents, the school is also cooperating with the municipality, health care facilities and social services. Furthermore, the school has been working towards diversifying their staff and mostly employs teachers with a migrant background themselves.

A remarkable example of how to reach out to different stakeholders and jointly work towards advancing education for migrant children in Sweden.

Via Lärarnas Nyheter