Brussels, 19-20 November 2014: “Helping Children and Youth with Migrant Background Succeed: Making schools matter for all”

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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 o19 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.

EP logo19 November 2014: Making Reform happen
European Parliament
13:00 – 18:00

Invited by MEP Tonino Picula in association with the Network of Education Policy Centres (NEPC), we will join together with policy makers, education and migration experts and practitioners and migrant youth representatives to look at making reform of education happen by:
  • 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 needCoR logo
Committee of the Regions

09:00 – 18:00

Together with migrant youth representation, education and migration experts and practitioners and policy makers, we aim to:
  • 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.

 

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Mentoring in Education -Stakeholder meeting report

supreme mentoringThe final SIRIUS stakeholder meeting, this time focusing on mentoring, took place in association with the final conference of the SUPREME mentoring project on 27 October 2014 in the Neth-ER offices in Brussels. The SUPREME project has been developed by a partnership where VET and SME associations, as well as policy makers, work together to increase the cooperation between VETs and the world of work. The objective of the conference was to:

  • Learn about good practices in the field of preventing early school leaving and youth unemployment
  • Experience how mentoring binds education and industry on a European level
  • Explore state of the art mentoring results in European countries
  • Involve decision makers in order to secure the mentor methodology and the cooperation of industry and education in Europe

photo 3SUPREME members gave examples of their work from around Europe, with a focus on the importance of exchange of good practices that are adaptable to the cultural conditions of each country. Developing links between industry, welfare, education and policy makers is also important in order to get the most out of mentoring for all involved.

Thomas Huddleston (Migration Policy Group) spoke during the plenary session on The added value of European cooperation in mentoring, to serve migrant youth and highlighted the importance of mentors as role models that give positive images, confidence, cognitive gains, social skills and networking connections to their mentees. Inclusive education can be developed by involving all local communities (including immigrant ones) and sharing lessons learned for EU cooperation and policy recommendations.  He underlined the importance of mentoring for migrant pupils who are particularly affected by early school leaving, youth unemployment and over representation on technical or lower quality tracks, despite the high educational ambitions of both pupils and parents. Innovative outside-school learning through mentorships offers these children and their families improved knowledge of schooling, orientation for pupils and parents, often from mentors with a similar language and cultural background which allows them to address socio-emotional problems. He noted that there was a striking discrepancy between the popularity of mentoring on the ground and the lack of engagement on the topic on a policy level, whereby mentoring programmes are seen as “nice-to-have” but not “need to have”. Mentoring programmes should be recognised as helping educators to diagnose problems or missing services in schools, and can offer necessary support to develop the potential of their students. His recommendations summarised the ENESP Handbook on Mentoring and the SIRIUS Policy Brief on Mentoring and include the following:

  • Mentoring should be considered as an effective hands-on tool to reduce the achievement gap with little legislative or financial effort.
  • There is a clear role for mentors and the competences they need, but they should not be considered a substitute for social workers/therapy.
  • Mentoring programmes should be available for all pupils in less supportive environments, including high potential, not only ‘at risk’ learners.
  • There needs to be secure long-term funding beyond project cycles to ensure training and use of dedicated mentors, perhaps through ‘embedding’ projects within school system or well-established education or migrant organisations.
  • Mentoring needs to be an integral part of policymaking in education and in promoting education outside the classroom to strengthen social skills.
  • Closer cooperation with migrant-led mentoring programmes will allow non-migrant policymakers a better understanding of the needs and situation of pupils, parents, and communities, while also fostering good relationships with school, teachers and staff.
  • It is important to monitor and address equal participation of immigrant youth in mentoring schemes, not only as mentees but also mentors.

Logo-ENESP-300x74Ibrahim Elmaagac, General Coordinator of the Dutch Platform for Education, Innovation and Talent Development (NPOINT) participated on behalf of the European Network for Educational Support Projects (ENESP) in order to give practical examples of how they engage with students from an intercultural or socially disadvantaged background. NPOINT do this by assisting pupils in their studies to prevent them from falling behind, as well as helping them to explore their interests and find a course that suits their talents. Rather than measuring their abilities only through coursework and outcomes, they encourage a learner-focus on personal development and personal happiness.

mentoring handbook

Sarah Cooke O’Dowd (Migration Policy Group), together with Huddleston and Elmaagac manned the roundtable in order to meet mentoring stakeholders interested in understanding how to make mentoring schemes more sensitive to a diverse student population. To this extent, they were directed to the European Network for Educational Support Projects’ Handbook on MentoringOther participants wished to know more about the recommendations that SIRIUS has for policy making and they were given copies of the SIRIUS Policy Brief on Mentoring.

Download:

SUPREME mentoring manual

Brussels, 27 October 2014: Business world mentoring in education – An asset to society

supreme mentoringLocation: Neth-ER office, rue d’Arlon 22, Brussels, Belgium

Date: 27 October 2014

Time: 14:00 – 17:00

The final SIRIUS stakeholder meeting on the issue of mentoring will take place in association with the SUPREME mentoring project that has been developed by a varied and strong partnership where 4 VETs, EU VET association, SME associations and policy makers work together to increase the cooperation between VETs and the world of work. The conference will allow participants to:

  • Learn about good practices in the field of preventing early school leaving and youth unemployment
  • Experience how mentoring binds education and industry on a European level
  • Explore state of the art mentoring results in European countries
  • Involve decision makers in order to secure the mentor methodology and the cooperation of industry and education in Europe
  • Receive their own copy of the Supreme mentoring manual and work and promo tools, as well as the European Network for Educational Support Projects Handbook on Mentoring and SIRIUS Policy Brief on Mentoring.

Thomas Huddleston (Migration Policy Group) will speak during the plenary session on “The added value of European cooperation in mentoring, to serve migrant youth“, after a number of other speakers who will have dealt with:

  • The added value of mentoring for youth (mr. Guydolph Dijkstra, mentee, mentor and studentmanager of MentorProgramma Friesland)
  • The added value of mentoring for business (mr. Philippe Vanrie, director of European Business and Innovation Network)
  • The added value of mentoring for education and government (mr. Veli Sarikaya, president of Provincial Directorate of National Education, Bursa, Turkey)
  • The added value of mentoring to society, in relation to corporate social responsibility (mr. Paul de Kuijer, liaison officer Shell International – to be confirmed)

Sarah Cooke O’Dowd (Migration Policy Group) and Ibrahim Elmaagac (NPoint) will make SIRIUS and ENESP information on mentoring for migrant youth available during the Roundtable sessions.

Download SUPREME mentoring conference programme

Download Supreme mentoring in Europe – background and partners

Registration and more information:

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please request attendance by sending an email to mentorprogrammafriesland@fcroc.nl with your name, company/organisation/college.

For any further information on the project you can contact Ms. Szilvia Simon and Hendrik Jan Hoekstra Tel: (0031)58 284 2547 www.supreme-mentoring.eu / www.mentorprogrammafriesland.nl

Finland – School Health Promotion Study: Young immigrants need support

There are clear differences in the health and well-being of first-generation young immigrants when compared to young people in the general population or other young people with immigrant backgrounds. First-generation young immigrants find the school work environment poorer than other young people, and they have more difficulties with studies than others. They feel less often other young people that they get support for problems with school or studies.

The School Health Promotion Study, carried out by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), enabled in 2013 for the first time a separate wide-ranging and comprehensive analysis of the health and well-being of young people with immigrant backgrounds in Finland. By first-generation immigrants we mean here young people who were born abroad and whose parents, likewise, were born abroad.

First-generation young immigrants perceive more difficulties in accessing pupil welfare services than other young people. “Schools should ensure that young people with immigrant backgrounds and their families know about the different kinds of services and support available in schools and pupil welfare. They should also try to encourage young people with immigrant backgrounds to trust more in the service providers,” says Researcher Anni Matikka.

Young immigrants are a heterogeneous group

Finland report_mental health

Lack of close friends was more common among first-generation young immigrants than among other young people. Falling victim to bullying, physical threats and sexual violence was also more common among first-generation young immigrants compared to other young people. First-generation young immigrants reported poorer health, were tired and had symptoms more often than other young people. Even anxiety and school fatigue were more common among them. They also smoked, drank alcohol and experimented with drugs more commonly than other young people.

The number of people of foreign origin in Finland is four times higher and the number of people whose main language is not Finnish or Swedish is ten times higher than in 1990. Children account for a fifth of all those whose main language is not Finnish or Swedish. So far there as been very little information about the health and well-being of children and young people with immigrant backgrounds. “The report now released shows that young immigrants are a heterogeneous group, and not all young immigrants need help. However, there are young immigrants who are facing several challenges in their health and well-being, and therefore these individuals need special support,” continues Matikka.

The report discusses the 2013 School Health Promotion Study responses by pupils in their 8th and 9th year of comprehensive school. The findings are presented in four categories by the respondent’s and his/her parents’ native country: general population (n=86 065), children in multicultural families (n=5972), second-generation immigrants (n=1641), and first-generation immigrants (n=2784).

Download report in Finnish

YLE UUTISET News article on report in English

Via Finnish National Institute  for Health and Welfare