Today, 18 December 2017, on International Migrants Day, ETUCE is pleased to announce the kick-off of the joint ETUCE and EFEE project ‘European Sectoral Social Partners in Education promoting effective integration of migrants and refugees in education’. The project, co-funded by the European Commission, and carried out from 2017 to 2019, is a direct answer from education social partners to the crisis of migrants and refugees, and the ensuing deprivation of access to quality education for migrants and refugees. The new two-year project is aimed at creating a sustainable framework for social partners in education to support schools and education institutions, teachers, trainers and school leaders dealing with students of migrant origin. The project is to be overseen by an advisory group, composed by employer organisations from the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE), ETUCE and its member organisations in Denmark (DLF), Belgium (ACOD-CSGP), Cyprus (OELMEK), Slovenia (SVIZ-ESTUS), Spain (FeSP-UGT) and Serbia (TUS).

According to a 2017 Eurostat study, in 2016, around 32% of the total number of first time applicants for asylum in Europe were minors aged less than 18 years old. Additionally, a 2016 Eurofound study reports that “although the school-age children of asylum seekers are entitled to attend compulsory education in all Member States, special arrangements for these children are not always guaranteed. Some countries reported that schools are ill-prepared to receive these children.” Social partners in education have grown increasingly alarmed with this situation, as it furthers unacceptable inequalities for these vulnerable groups, and inherently hinders the integration of migrants and refugees in society in the longer term.

Through a research on existing practices and policies regarding the integration of migrants and refugees in education systems in Europe, case-study visits in those countries who have received a sudden and large influx of migrants since 2015, as well as through a series of training seminars, education social partners will work towards developing a set of practical guidelines and a quality framework of effective practices and policies for the integration of migrants and refugees in education. A video documentary will further raise the attention of the wide public on the situation experienced in schools by learners of migrant origin. All the outcomes are to be disseminated at a conference to be held in 2019.

Crossing the doorstep of a school is no guarantee of quality learning”, said Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director, “ETUCE and EFEE are committed to work together for a successful educational experience of migrant and refugee students across Europe. This implies undertaking measures to cater for the specific needs of those students, but also for the needs of schools and the teaching personnel working with young migrants and targeting issues such as language acquisition, psychosocial counselling and intercultural competences.

To see the dedicated webpage for the project, please click here.