The project EDINA (EDucation of International Newly Arrived migrant pupils) brings together policy makers, schools and researchers from Finland (Helsinki), Belgium (Ghent) and The Netherlands (Rotterdam and Utrecht). The main objective of EDINA is to provide support to municipalities, schools and teachers in the reception and the integration into the school system of Newly Arrived Migrant pupilS (NAMS). The high inflow of NAMS in and within Europe implies that schools are experiencing a constant increase in the numbers of pupils who do not master the school language. This situation creates a heavy challenge for the European school system. Against this background, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of successful reception of NAMS at their new schools in order to facilitate optimal integration.
The three Member States provide education for children and adolescents regardless of their residential status. However, criteria regarding the reception, duration of special schooling, transition to regular or to secondary school, constitution of learning environments, and instructional background of teachers greatly vary within and between the countries. At present it is unknown which of these different approaches are the most effective. There is thus a high need to identify the most successful strategies to improve the education of NAMS and to make this knowledge available in order to empower schools across Europe with the ultimate goal to improve the prospects of this vulnerable group of pupils.
Our project will develop a multimodular programme. This programme will include a training module to develop specific teachers’ competencies, a training module to promote active differentiation within the classroom, a toolset and resource base to optimize the reception, observation and transition processes of NAMS. A particular strength of our programme is that it will be developed by an interdisciplinary team including schoolteachers, school boards, municipalities, and researchers from pedagogy, didactic, intercultural communication and second language acquisition and is to be used by teachers, schools, municipalities and policy makers. It is based on a thorough qualitative analysis of the situation of NAMS (age 6-18) in the educational system of the three countries involved. The goals are (1) to reduce disparities preventing under or over referral to specialized care, proposing adequate strategies and activities to help teachers, schools and municipalities to support these children, (2) to increase the efficiency of investment in the education of NAMS supporting the development of management programmes for this group at city level and, (3) to strengthen education and training paths of school staff fostering the collaboration between schools, municipalities, and researchers nationally and internationally. With this programme, we aim to ensure that NAMS may access the level of education that corresponds to their cognitive possibilities in order to reduce early school leaving and to support excellent schooling attainment.