On 8-9 February Alexandra Singpiel (AFS Germany) represented the Lifelong Learning Platform – of which EFIL is member – at the Peer Learning Activity organised by the European Commission for EU Member States on Intercultural dialogue as a tool to address migration, refugees and asylum seekers in educational contexts. The event took place in Athens, Greece, and was part of the activities of the EU Working Group on Promoting Citizenship and the Common Values of Freedom, Tolerance and Non-discrimination through Education.
Alexandra presented EFIL’s project on intercultural learning for pupils and teachers, which was welcomed as teacher training was a vividly discussed topic. The topic is currently looked into by many of the governments and stakeholders, however the trainings referred to are often organised by institutions (municipalities or ministries) and not in partnership with INGOs. The main focus is on whole school approach and the importance of including broader populations (via parents, NGOs, etc.)
Here below are the main outcomes from workshops and plenary discussions.
Workshop on Involving non-formal learning actors and international organisation in provision of education to refugees
– There needs to be clear cooperation and coordination between national and international organisations.
– There is a need to generate EU-wide consensus for refugee children with respect to the right to education. The countries receiving refugees have the obligation /responsibility to provide such rights.
– All European countries should take a fair share on the refugee distribution in order to cope with educational needs.
Workshop on Curricular adaptation
– History curriculum needs to be expanded to deal with migration, history outside Europe and decolonisation, identities
– All teachers, staff, parents need to be trained to promote intercultural dialogue
Workshop on Arts and theater to change attitude and create empathy
– There needs to be more information and research on positive practices so that policy can take them into account to make evidence-based decisions
– Arts can be used to create empathy and governments can support awareness raising on intercultural issues (e.g. though movies, etc.)
– Art should be better embedded in curriculum as it allows to address emotions
– There is a strong need for cooperation between governments and NGOs
The use of sports for inclusion, the creation of network of schools focused on ICL, the creation of fast learning programmes refugees that are teachers, and the focus on the interreligious component of intercultural education have also been presented as good practices.
Participants to the event also took part in field visits to local schools and the university to see different realities and projects regarding migrant/refugee inclusion in education.
The results of this event will be included in the key recommendations which are going to be compiled and brought forward together with recommendations from previous PLAs, as a final result of the working group which is ending its mandate this year. Eurydice is going to publish a report at the end of the year on “The integration of student with migrant background in schools in Europe”. The report will provide a comparative overview through policy analysis and measures, looking among others at intercultural education and activities, involvement of families and parents and the whole school approach.
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