In the frame of the ETUCE/EFEE project “European Sectoral Social Partners in Education promoting effective integration of migrants and refugees in education”, a delegation of education unions and employers’ representatives met in Madrid on 16 and 17 May 2018, to discuss good practices and challenges in the Spanish education system with regards to policies on inclusion and integration.

Throughout the study visit, participants learned from Spanish representatives about the impact of enduring budget cuts, education system segmentation and the lack of a national strategy addressing specifically the integration of migrants and refugees in schools and education institutions. While learning from the different social partners, school communities, parents and students representatives’ perspectives and good practices in the course of the first day, the delegation had the chance to visit the ACE (Aula de Compensacion Educativa) center of the La Senda high school and to witness the difficult professional and working conditions of teachers and educators dealing with students of migrant origins and from disadvantaged background. Teachers, trainers, the school leader and union representatives from the school explained the potential support they would need to deliver quality education to those students coming from the most disadvantaged background. They shed light on the biggest obstacles they face for a real inclusion in education, including the deteriorating working conditions of those teachers working in public schools from the most disadvantaged areas: precarious contracts and lack of continuity in teaching and learning was felt as one of the biggest challenge to effective integration. The study delegation had the opportunity to draw the attention of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to the challenges facing schools and education institutions in this regard. 

The ETUCE-EFEE project aims to promote successful methods of migrant education in schools as well as evaluating current policies and practices, to establish a concrete set of proposals and recommendations for national member organisations and governments. Two additional study visits in Serbia and Belgium and two seminars in Denmark and Cyprus will be organized in the coming months. A research report, a video documentary, practical guidelines and a draft quality framework of effective practices are amongst the main deliverables of the project.

You can find more information about the project here.