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Irlandzki system edukacji a wyzwania imigracji

Podczas seminarium Inclusion of Migrants and beyond – Lessons Learnt from Old Countries of Immigration, ktore odbylo sie 21 lutego z inicjatywy the Immigrant Council of Ireland oraz Sport Against Racism Ireland dyskutowano stan irlandzkiego systemu edukacji oraz wyzwania, jakie liczna imiagracja do Irlandii stawia przed szkolami. Wskazano na trudnosci, z jakimi borykac sie musza dzieci emigrantow oraz zaapelowano o wprowadzenie nowych rozwiazan, opartych na doswiadczeniach krajow z dluzsza historia imigracji.

Szczegoly w dalszej, anglojezycznej czesci posta. 

Ireland’s Education System Can Learn from Countries with Long Histories of Immigration

The Irish education system should offer specific supports for children from migrant families to tackle the barriers they may face, today and in the future. Otherwise they could suffer disadvantage in later life, which would have significant cost implications for the State and the individuals concerned. That’s according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), which held a public seminar today (21.02.11) on the educational challenges faced by the children of migrants.

The seminar, Inclusion of Migrants and beyond – Lessons Learnt from Old Countries of Immigration, featured inputs from a number of migrants who spoke about their experiences in the Irish education system.  Some spoke about the difficulties in accessing third-level education, despite having high grades.  The seminar also included a keynote address by Professor John Mollenkopf, Director of the Centre for Urban Research in New York, and a noted authority on education and migrant issues.

According to Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council: “Despite the small investment required, recent economic constraints have resulted in the erosion of budgets to assist migrant children compete more equally within the education system.  While these budget constraints frustrate teachers, parents and students alike, the more worrying outcome of such regressive cuts is the long-term implications they will have on the educational outcomes.

The ESRI has established that migrant students made up 10 per cent of the total primary school population in 2007 (the most recent figure available), and over three quarters of them were from non-English speaking backgrounds.  Newcomer students also made up six per cent of the second-level school population.

“Ireland has a relatively new and relatively small migrant population,” said Denise Charlton.  “For both migrant children and the children of migrant parents, we are in the unique position of having the potential to learn from countries with extensive experience and long histories of migration and immigration.  Rather than closing down small, but important, budget lines, we need to make investments that will ensure these children are facilitated to contribute very positively to Ireland’s society and economy over the coming decades.

In his address at today’s event, Professor John Mollenkopf said children of migrant parents have many positive characteristics, which – if nurtured properly within the education system – can make significant contributions to society in the areas of leadership, enterprise and education.  “Firstly, the parents of migrant children have met the challenge of immigration, which makes them products of ‘positive selection’,” he said.   “These children are likely to grow up in multi-generational families with more adult workers, giving them a strong work and achievement ethos.

“However, growing up in poor neighbourhoods with bad schools can be a real challenge.  It is important to make sure these children have access to “second chance” routes into university if they cannot get in by the normal route.”

Professor Mollenkopf pointed out that family background was a key informant in the educational outcomes of migrant children: where parents have a low level of educational attainment, or poor familiarity with the national language of the country to which they have moved, their children perform less well.  “Ireland can learn some basic lessons from the US experience: more comprehensive and integrated schooling systems produce better results for migrant children.  Both second-chance opportunities and university systems open to people from diverse backgrounds are also critical to ensure that those children who did not achieve in the early education stages can revisit the system once they are more financially and linguistically proficient,” he said.

The migrants who spoke at today’s seminar included a mature student of accountancy; an Open University graduate in Social Science and Economics; and a DIT student, who struggled to meet the demand for extra ‘international fees’ when in her second year at college.

Today’s seminar was organised by the Immigrant Council of Ireland with support from Sport Against Racism in Ireland (SARI).

Notes

This seminar is co-funded by the European Programme for Integration and Migration, an initiative of the Network of European Foundations.  The students who spoke of their personal experiences at the event are members of SARI’s ‘Education through Sport’ education mentoring programme.  Since 2003, SARI has mentored over 200 sports practitioners through education and skills-based programmes.

About the Immigrant Council

The Immigrant Council of Ireland is an independent human rights organisation that advocates for the rights of migrants and their families and acts as a catalyst for public debate and policy change.  It is also an Independent Law Centre.  Further information on the Immigrant Council is available at: www.immigrantcouncil.ie.

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