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EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe


EPALE discussion: Learning to live together

by Gina Ebner

/en/file/may-discussion-migrant-educationMay Discussion Migrant education

May Discussion Migrant education


As part of our May focus, EPALE is organising a written discussion on the role and challenges of migrant education in helping migrants to integrate in their host country, and how adult learning can foster tolerance and cultural understanding.

The discussion will take place on this page on 11 June from 10:00 CEST to 16:00 CEST and will be moderated by EPALE Thematic Coordinator and EAEA Secretary-General Gina EbnerDon’t miss the opportunity to share your views and experiences with the EPALE community on any of the following topics:


10:00-11:50 CEST

Cultural components: How is cultural learning for migrants offered and funded in your country? What does it involve and what are the challenges? How effective are introductory courses?

12:05-13:55 CEST

Intercultural learning: How can adult learning bring people together? Where does intercultural learning take place? What are the pitfalls?

14:10-16:00 CEST

Xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiments: What can adult education actively do to combat xenophobia and raise civic awareness?


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Marketa Benešova's picture
Hi, thank you for bringing up the theme. I just want to let you know that there is much to do in the Czech Republic as well. Studies show that there is not enough information about the adult education and also the fact that the foreignes often don´t speak Czech (and many Czechs still don´t speak English), there is a wide gap, which we must close. One of the good practises I want to share with you is a network of the  Centres for Support of Integration of Foreigners,which operates in almost all regions in the Czech Republic. The Centers are administred by the REFUGEE FACILITIES ADMINISTRATION OF THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR. They main activities are legal counselling, Czech language courses, Socio-cultural courses and public activities. I happened to work in one of them during my master mandatory intership and I had chance event to speak to some of the course participants. They find it very useful, however, not everybody from the community had been able to attend - mainly due to work hours but I came accross gender- based argument  that wife (of one particular participant) doesn´t have to come because she is the "house wife". I think this is something we must also take into a consideration when encouraging the foreigners to take part in the courses and look actively for some solution in order to bring, in this case, woman, into a learning process.
halil ibrahim kılınç's picture
Yaşadığın ülkeye uyum sağlamak ve oradaki imkanlardan faydalanmak için gittiğin ülkenin dilini öğrenmelisin. Beraber yaşamak için bu şarttır.  
Chiara Borsini's picture

Dear all,

 we're happy to share with you some information about the Eu funded Project Digital Welcome (

Digital Welcome is a European project, started in October 2017 and funded with support from the European Commission (AMIF), devised by partner organisations from Belgium, Greece, Spain, Italy and Germany and coordinated by ALL DIGITAL, Belgium.

The aim of the Digital Welcome Program is to generate an exchange of best practices between organizations specialized in the digital inclusion of disadvantaged target groups, to develop and pilot (in a two-tier development process) an innovative approach to cultivate social inclusion of third-country nationals in educational and social activities, in cultural life, in the voluntary sector and in digital creation activities.

During the Digital Welcome Program, an innovative methodology for a creative IT course will be developed and tested. The goal is to train young immigrants as digital mentors, who will then be involved as volunteers and will organize computer labs for their peers and other interested users, share their skills and demonstrate their potential for inclusion in the local community.

During the piloting, which will be implemented in each partner’s country by October 2018, 120 young people from third countries aged between 16 and 30 will participate in the program and improve their IT, language and relational skills through creative computer labs.

An integral part of the program is also the production of digital stories, which will give them the opportunity to reflect on the training experience and share it with their peers, to motivate them to participate in educational, social and cultural activities, thus facilitating the process of integration and developing skills and competences necessary for entering the world of work.

 The piloting is developed on the basis of peer learning and divided into four modules: digital storytelling, coding, digital journalism and soft skills and employability awareness.

Gina Ebner's picture

Dear all,

Thank you so much for the excellent discussion! We apologize again for the postponement of the discussion. Due to technical difficulties just before the original date, most people couldn’t access or post on the site. We therefore decided to move the discussion to a new date so that everyone would be able to participate.  

Nevertheless, we hope that you’ve found the contributions enriching – I certainly have! If you’ve missed (parts of) the discussion, then you can still go ahead and post, the site will still be open for comments.

Thank you and I hope we’ll talk again soon!
Rumen HALACHEV's picture
Thank you very much, Gina, for moderating this discussion and thank you all for taking part and sharing your views. We hope that it has been as useful and interesting for you as it was to us to follow this lively discussion. Stay tuned on EPALE for our next discussion coming in September.

EPALE Central Support Service
Andrew McCoshan's picture

Hi Gina,

A stimulating exchange today. Three thoughts it has prompted in me have been:

We need to counter mis-understandings about cultural stereotypes – but cultures are complex and in a word of limited characters on twitter etc we probably need to practice being short, pithy and factual!

-       Adult education’s part of this needs the local practical actions but does it need to be part of lifelong learning as a whole to be 100% effective

-       Local actions need to be unintimidating and possibly embrace many cultures at the same time.  I guess this is where simple, common activities between communities can be very effective …?

Andrew, EPALE Thematic Coordinator

Gina Ebner's picture
Thanks for bringing in lifelong learning as a precondition for successful cultural learning, couldn't agree more!
I keep thinking about your sentence of cultures being complex - are we still underestimating this? We tend to understand our own cultures differences, but what about others? I've been studying English for decades now but I still run into class signposts that I find utterly baffling ... and it took me ages to recognise them as you don't speak about them openly!
Eileen Chan-Hu's picture
Xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiments: What can adult education actively do to combat xenophobia and raise civic awareness?

At CRAICNI we have set up as a social enterprise to give diverse members of the communities, 'migrants' ad those with intercultural experience in skills in training and education the opportunity to train others and promote cultural awareness.  This has worked well, where over 80% of participants have never spoken to anyone from a diverse background, know about their cultures, backgrounds, countries of origin and their issues living, working and studying in the host country. 

Some positive examples of cultural competency have been found in our work in delivering, 'Supporting Children with English as an additional language,' to childcare practitioners. When we work with student social workers, we feel we give value to their existing degree course and placements with external training with us working in conjunction with their work placement management body and support raising cultural awareness and an appreciation of cultural sensitivity.  The first step to cultural competency is studying cultural awareness, whether these are the unseen areas, such as attitudes, opinions, upbringing etc or the visible areas, music, arts, language, cuisine even etc that diverse members can be the adult educators, trainers, facilitators to tackle racism and xenophobia.  As an ethnic minority myself and along with my team, we wish to encourage more people to enjoy learning about other cultures, reach understanding and respect of differences for a safer and welcoming society.  I would be interested to hear of other examples.

Gina Ebner's picture
I'm adding your website address for everyone interested:
You're raising a key point: there are many communities in Europe who haven't had many people from outside their communities. One of our Swedish members, Ibn Rushd, the muslim study association, worked with 'ambassadors' (young people who volunteered for this and received training). They would give talks in schools, communes etc about being a Muslim, telling people about their backgrounds. For many, this was a first experience.
Other examples would be very welcome!