Our project: 2017-1-EL01-KA104-035529: Further training of adult educators in a multicultural reality: Τhe School of Second Chance in Mytilene.
During the second week of May 2018, we travelled to Malaga, Spain, to further educate ourselves on the refugee/migrants crisis, in the context of the Erasmus+ Project “Further training of educators of adults in a multicultural reality: Τhe School of Second Chance in Mytilene” (Νο 017-1-ELO1-KA104-035529). We visited organisations and institutions, both public and private, that deal with the refugee issue in Malaga and Andalusia in general, and we noted valuable educational methods and practices that Spain applies on its borders with the African continent. It was a really interesting experience and we had the opportunity to compare and contrast both qualitative and quantitative data with what we face in our school on the island of Lesvos.
Members of the Tribeka training lab, our training institution in Malaga, bid us a warm welcome in their offices. After a short tour in the city of Malaga, a 4-hour seminar was held for us to inform us on the basics of the Spanish and Andalusian educational system. The Andalusian coast situation is quite different from northern Spain, since a large population of Rom people and the immigrant flows from Spain affect its anthropogeographical landscape.
A lot of emphasis was given to the two autonomous Spanish cities on the African border, Ceuta and Melilla, which constitute the main passage area for migrating population who seek shelter in Europe.
Regarding the Spanish educational system, a short historic flashback took us back in time, from the early years of catholic intervention in education to the harsh times of the Spanish civil war and Franco’s dictatorship.
After years of prosecutions of teachers and academics and an intense patriotic-catholic-conformist educational system, the Spanish Constitution of 1978 came to safeguard the autonomy of the educational system and make it compulsory for everybody to the 16th year of their life. We were also presented with the choices 16-year-old students have, which are either to attend Upper High School and get their “Bachillerato” that opens academic doors for them, or to attend vocational schools and enter the job market.
This short but thorough analysis was really valuable for us, since we were in a position to grasp the mechanisms that place refugees and migrants in the various educational levels and schools. What was highly impressive was the recognition of the human right to education for everybody, be they adults or kids, regardless of their political status. Kids of migrating families were placed in schools immediately and bureaucracy was not an issue, no matter how much time the students’ legal papers required to be issued.
What needs to be stressed, nevertheless, is the fact that Spain deals with a really smaller amount of refugee flows than Greece, and that, in the course of years this has been taking place, the Andalusian government have managed to develop remarkable coping mechanisms. Moreover, refugees coming to Spain through Ceuta and Melilla can speak the Spanish language, so their integration to the Andalusian society and job market is fairly easy, compared to what is happening in Greece and Lesvos in particular.
The visit to Málaga Acoge (by Kampas Georgios)
On Thursday, May 10, 2018, our school's instructors team had the pleasure of visiting the support center of a very important volunteering and social οrganization, "Málaga Acoge" (acoge: hug, embrace). This is the local organization of the broader social non-profit organisation "Acoge", which operates in the autonomous Regions of Andalusia and Melilla since 1990. The purpose of the organisation has been, from the outset, to contribute to an effective and comprehensive response to the initial, at that time, phenomenon of migration, with the fundamental aim of building a pluralist and inclusive society that guarantees equal rights and opportunities for all people living in Spain. At the same time, however, the volunteers of "Hug" offer their polymorphic support to their fellow citizens in need, especially in the last years of the economic crisis and the launch of unemployment.
Indeed, in the premises of the structure we visited, we met some young immigrants who are hosted in the accommodation of the organization. At the same we saw two new Spanish students in front of modern computers, taking intensive courses in the english language with their volunteer teacher, in order to be able to respond to the needs of jobs they had just found in the tourism sector. The refugee families supported by Málaga Acoge are already moving forward: They learn Spanish, participate in training programs and in workshops, such as Art Therapy or stimulation of emotional intelligence, organize social events ( eg birthday, carnival), make friends and generally try to build courageously a new life in Malaga, despite the fact that they lost their homes, relatives and jobs, displaced by war, violence and persecution.
Thanks to the voluntary and systematic effort of hundreds of people in Acoge, the organization serves thousands of people every year, with primary goal to address the multiple needs of refugees and migrants seeking help. Its motto "Protest, suggest, bet" reflects a firm determination to denounce situations of injustice but, at the same time, to present alternatives to current immigration policies. The general objective of action is to encourage the integration of migrants into the host society and to promote interculturalism, which is understood as a positive relationship among people from different cultures, coexisting in the same geographical context.
In order to achieve its objectives, the organisation develops networks and cooperates with other institutions at a local, regional, national and international level and manages with quality and transparency the financial resources it provides with self-financing, donations, public and private grants. In Malaga and elsewhere, all these initiatives of social solidarity and the smiling and eager people, perform a great social work: they do not let man’s humanity go unnoticed, get lost in bureaucracy, the processes or the poverty and misery. Any person who experiences a humanitarian crisis, local or foreign, can find a warm "hug" to rest and an open hand that will help him “climb the mountain” together, as it is very nicely said in our greek sayings.
Τhe visit to CEAR -Comision Española de Ayuda al Refugiado- (by Tzanni Koralia).
CEAR is the Spanish Commission that has been providing refugee assistance since 1979. It defends the right of asylum and human rights and promotes the development of refugees who have escaped wars or violations of human rights, asylum seekers, stateless persons and immigrants who need international protection or are at risk of social exclusion. CEAR employs around 1,500 people, volunteers and employees from various professions, law and psychosocial care groups. Over the last ten years, more than 350,000 seeking international protection have made use of the Commission services. Its work is supported by members, donors and followers on social networks to provide immediate, comprehensive and personalized assistance to refugees: from reception, learning of Spanish language, job search to legal support and recognition of their rights. The team that welcomed us there was really helpful and we discussed a lot of our common issues with the situation on the island of Lesvos.
The visit to ARRABAL (by Tzanni Koralia)
The ARRABAL-AID Employment Area is a non-profit organization with the task of fully integrating socially and laborably the most vulnerable people. Their vision is to be recognized as the mark in the field of social and employment and integration. In recent years, they have been working to improve professional and social skills and strengthen self-esteem for those who have the most difficulties in finding a job and are at risk of social exclusion. ARRABAL provides, among others, work guidance, self-employment advice, information on European resources and programs, education for employment and new technologies, training, intercultural mediation and social development activities.
Centro del Profesorado de Malaga (by Sarigiannaki Despoina)
It is a counselling and training center for all the educators employed by the Andalusian authorities, be it primary or secondary education. Andalusia has a network of 32 training centers for all its teachers, and we visited one of them, based in the city of Malaga.
This centre provides counselling and training to professionals of pre-primary education, primary and compulsory secondary education, special education and vocational training, linguistic education, adult education and art and sports education.
More specifically teachers have to have 60 hours of training every 6 years, in order to upgrade their professional status and be able to follow the progress their science makes. The training subjects vary but the challenges they address are quite similar to our country’s. Some of them are:
-Emphasis on difference
-Key competences in modern society
-Improving the educational process
The training which center provides can be synchronous or asynchronous, using a digital platform, so that even teachers who cannot physically attend classes can be served.
According to our guide, professionals who work in CEP meet with schools every May and June to analyze the educational needs of the institutions and form a plan for what needs to be attended to for the next school year. Every decision made and action taken for the next year is solely based on research data for every school. Finally, the center is open to and in contact with other educational institutions to maximize educational results.
Visit to La Rosaleda Educational Institute (by Touzenis Panagiotis)
Within the framework of the Erasmus + KA1 Trainers of the Second Chance School, we visited the La Rosaleda Educational Institute, where we learned about the way the school functioned and we traveled to its admiringly impressive facilities. IES La Rosaleda is a high school founded in 1947 in Malaga. The city, located in the southern part of Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, is a modern place with Mediterranean weather and rich in cultural events. The nature of the Andalusian education system guarantees free access to education for every person attending the institute regardless of any personal, family or social condition that leads to the management of the school from an intercultural perspective. In this sense, there are three main lines of action that affect the stages of primary and secondary education in their education system:
• reception and integration
• Teaching Spanish
• Preservation of cultural identity
Temporary language teaching departments are developing a Spanish teaching program aimed at foreign students with a lack of language knowledge, and are taught during school hours by specific teachers. It is carried out in primary education (maximum 10 hours) and secondary (maximum 15 hours)
Foreign language support programs for migrants:
Language support programs for migrants are extracurricular activities taught in the afternoon. In this area, specific language learning activities can be developed, as well as the development of working and work design ways that enable them to improve their academic performance. The school offers a wide range of studies, from Humanities and Social Sciences to Music and Art. It also offers Vocational Training and courses belonging to the following fields:
• Secretarial Studies,
• Business and Interior Design, Printing and Graphic Arts,
• Air conditioning and cooling,
• Vehicle Engineering and Sports and Physical Activity Animation.
Instituto de Enseñanza Secundaria La Rosaleda also supports a bilingual program at the Baccalaureate and a Vocational Training Council in Catering.
Number of students: 2,500 students
Number of Teachers: 180
Number of students with disabilities: 250
Click here to watch the interview in Tribeka with educators from SDE Mytilinis: