Education

Education, a new MIPEX strand, emerges as a major area of weakness in the integration policies of most countries. Few school systems make professional assessments of what newcomer children learned abroad. Most children have at least an implicit right to attend kindergarten and compulsory education. They also access general measures to help disadvantaged students. They will benefit as much or as little as other students with the same social background.

Still, migrant pupils may also be struggling in school for different reasons than their peers. Here, schools retain wide discretion on whether or not to address the specific needs of migrant pupils, their teachers and parents, and monitor the results. Without clear requirements or entitlements, pupils do not get the support they need throughout their school career and across the country, especially in communities with many immigrants or few resources. Migrants are entitled to support to learn the language, but frequently it is not held to the same standard as the rest of the curriculum. Hardly any countries have systems to diversify schools or the teaching staff; most schools are therefore missing out on new opportunities brought by a diverse student body.

Few education systems in Europe are adapting to the realities of immigration. The most engaged are in North America, the Nordics and the Benelux. The UK leads Europe’s major countries of immigration; PT is best among the new countries of immigration; CZ in Central Europe; and EE in the Baltics. The rest fall below the 50% mark, some even critically below (FR, IE, LV, LT, BG, HU).

Best Case Add to MyPdf 

This is a composite of national policies found in May 2010 in at least one of the 31 countries.

Any child living in the country can go from kindergarten to university and achieve the best she can. She benefits from the same general measures as classmates with the same socio-economic background. If she has different needs because of her or her families’ immigration experience, she benefits from additional support. Her teachers are trained to recognise those needs and set equally high expectations for her. She is entitled to extra courses and teaching to catch up and master their language. Her parents play an active role in her education because the school specifically involves them at every step of the way. She and her parents also bring new opportunities to her school. All students can enrol in classes about her families’ language and culture. Her school uses an intercultural approach in its curriculum, textbooks, schedule, and hiring practices. She, along with all students and staff, learn how to live and learn in a diverse society.

Worst Case Add to MyPdf 

This is a composite of national policies found in May2010 in at least one of the 31 countries.

The school does not function as a motor for the integration of immigrant pupils. Many children living in the country do not even have the right to a full education. Only a few schools or ad hoc projects deal with integration. Most of the time, a migrant child is treated just like everyone else of his age. Worse, teachers may see him just as a problem. They have no way to reach out to parents like his, with different languages and backgrounds. He never properly learns the languages of his family or the host society, because language support is poor or absent. He ends up with other immigrant students in under-performing schools. Teachers and staff members are not diverse themselves and cannot handle diversity in their school. All students do not learn to respect and work together with people of diverse backgrounds.