Magazine article European Social Policy

Immigration/education : Report Praises Danish and Swedish Schools for Integration Model

Magazine article European Social Policy

Immigration/education : Report Praises Danish and Swedish Schools for Integration Model

Article excerpt

Migrant children are more likely to face segregation and to end up in schools with fewer resources, according to a report carried out on behalf of the European Commission and published on 11 April. This situation leads to under-performance and a high probability that these children will drop out of school early, said the independent study byathe Public Policy and Management Institute in Lithuania.

The report examines national policies in support of newly arrived migrant children in 15 countries. Among these, Denmark and Sweden are found to have the best models, since they combine "targeted support" with a "reasonable level of autonomy" for schools. The other countries asssessed are found to focus on only one of these aspects, meaning they do not achieve better results.

"Students who have grown up in the country are the first who need to adapt to migrant children," said Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. "They should be encouraged to welcome them, and we need the support of parents on this."

Without action by the EU - which has limited powers regarding education and can only go as far as comparing systems or making recommendations - there is a risk of a "vicious cycle" of poverty and unemployment.

Therefore, school autonomy and a holistic approach to educational support (including linguistic and academic support, parental and community involvement and intercultural education) seem to be a winning combination. Schools should avoid segregation and early selection of pupils in terms of ability, says the report. …

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