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EPALE

Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe

 
 

Discussion

Migrant Education Week Day 3: What are the solutions to supporting migrant learners in adult education?

28/04/2016
by EPALE Moderator

***This discussion is now closed.***

The current migration crisis has emphasised the vital role of adult education in supporting the integration and skills development of migrants across the European Union.

In our three-day discussion, we’ll be talking about:

In this thread we’ll be talking about solutions – what are the best ways to support both newly arrived migrant learners and established communities access and complete education programmes? We want to hear your views on the key factors for success, best practice examples and how to replicate this elsewhere.

 

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Linda Morrice's picture

Welcome Ahmet, and thank you for this overview of the work being done in Turkey. It is clear that Turkey is one of the countries at the forefront of the humanitarian crisis. Much of this very important work that you mention is targetting children and youth, are there any initaives which particularly address the learning needs of adults; for example young people who may wish to enter higher education, or who have had their university studies interrupted, or those who wish to develop skills (enginneering, teaching, medicine etc.) which will be needed to rebuild Syria in the future? Or is it a case of manging the immediate crisis? 

Linda Morrice's picture

In the discussions this morning the importance of developing pathways through education and into employment was raised, and we saw interesting examples offered by Pablo from Canada and Roberto from Germany of the sort of programmes being offered to support migrants.

As we know, many migrants come to Europe with higher level skills and qualification. Have colleagues got examples of projects which support migrants into jobs which match their qualifications and experiences which they bring?

Andra Tanase's picture

On this topic, of supporting  higher qualified migrants, it is important to monitor the facet that EU does not only "select" the high qualified work force and leaves the rest in Turkey. A retired Turkish diplomat pointed this out, that recently with the new EU-Turkey deal, from the 3 million refugees in Turkey the EU is hand-picking hte educated ones for ensuring asylum, leaving the rest behind for Turkey to deal with.

This is not only dangerous, but also unethical. However, it is not something that hasn't happened in the past when for exmample Romania during communism was "selling" both Germans and Jews back to Germany or Israel, having had a different price depending on qualifications.

Aniko Bernat's picture

Among the very few migrant inclusion programmes in Hungary (and all of them are implement by the civil sector) I would mention the comprhenshive inclusion programme of Artemisszió Foundation (http://artemisszio.blog.hu/2014/06/17/about_us_237) that also deals with skill development and mentoring in job searching of migrants. In this program many participants studies at higher education or have already graduated and this programme element is succesful especially among this educated group. Nevertheless, this programme is also open for less educated migrants and they can also profit from the mentoring in job searching. This is a pretty unique initiative in Hungary although this approach is focusing on a very basic need of all groups of migrants.

Linda Morrice's picture

We've talked about the use of volunteer teachers and volunteer mentors to fill the gap left by publicly funded provision; does this raise particular challenegs to ensuring the quality of programmes for migrants? Are there other challenges which apply particulary to this group?

Celine Castelino's picture

This is a controversial issue in the UK – teachers have constantly to battle against many politicians view that if you can speak a language you can teach it effectively. We have a long tradition of involving volunteers as teachers, supporters and befrienders. There used to be national qualifications for volunteers. Trainee teachers also frequently gain teaching practice through voluntary teaching. Good quality programmes used trained volunteers working alongside qualified teachers.

 

English My Way centres also use volunteers - many of whom can speak the language of the majority of their learners. Volunteers may also lead informal Learning Circles using video and printed resources produced by the BBC as a valuable addition to the classes taught by teachers. They also help with recruitment, pastoral issues, ICT sessions and supporting class sessions especially where their bilingual skills are required. They also help with recruitment, pastoral issues, ICT sessions and supporting class sessions especially where their bilingual skills are required. Some have gone on to train for ESOL teaching qualifications.

Julie Day's picture

The Learning Circles approach is quite interesting. These are aimed at non-professional volunteers who take the role of group leader to help family and friends learn English. There are useful resources that will help these group leaders run sessions with videos, storyboards and handouts to choose from. They cover the everyday English needed to survive in the UK.

There’s guidance and a Trainer’s Guide to show how to run a Learning Circle. Check it out here

David Mallows's picture

Hi Linda, 

My name is David Mallows, I'm thematic coordinator for Life Skills on EPALE, representing the European Basic Skills Network (http://www.basicskills.eu). I wrote about the use of volunteers in Migrant Education in this blog /en/blog/social-migrant-language-education. I've pasted in the relevant section below:

Teaching and volunteers

Recent years have seen a rise in the use of volunteers in migrant education as demand has increased and paid roles have become increasingly difficult to fund.  We should be careful when talking about volunteers. Volunteer is purely an economic description – it means that someone is not paid for the work that they do. It doesn’t say anything about their training or their ability to carry out a particular role. So, a volunteer teacher is a qualified teacher who is not being paid; anyone else is just a volunteer, not a teacher. In the Netherlands the terms ‘professional’ and ‘non-professional’ have been adopted in recognition of this.

And there are a great many ways in which non-professionals can enhance the learning process within, and particularly outside, the classroom – as language buddies, coaches, conversation partners, mentors or befrienders. By engaging in this way non-professionals can support and encourage adult migrants in their learning and their language use.

There is great goodwill in EU Member States towards migrants and refugees, with individuals keen to give their time to help them adapt and prosper. We should move quickly to harness that goodwill by defining roles and designing and providing training and support structures.

 

Aniko Bernat's picture

It is a relevant point, David: although 'professional' and 'non-professional' volunteers should be distinguished, no question why, it might not lead to a degradation of the 'non-professionals'. On the one hand, they provide so many essential help for migrants, your comment adequatly shows the list of these "services" (which enhancing not only the learning process, but the process of integration also), but on the other hand these 'non-professional' volunteers are professionals in other fields (other than language teaching) which might be also very much useful in mentoring and  helping in everyday challenges. Volunteers as migrant helpers are on the rise nowadays due to the large number of newcomers in the past years, and more and more share of the work is done by volunteers - to what extent can it be increased?

David Mallows's picture

Excellent point Aniko - we should make better use of the 'professional' expertise (and contacts) of volunteers.