Cyprus Mail

EU experts in Cyprus to advise education ministry on integration of migrant children  

At the request of the education ministry, the European Commission has sent experts on the integration of children with a migrant background.

According to the ministry a seven-member team of experts from four European countries, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Greece, and a three-member delegation from the European Commission are participating in the two-day mission.

The team will conduct a study and submit recommendations for the integration of children with a migrant background into the Cypriot education system, focusing mainly on reception phases.

The group had a meeting on Tuesday with minister Costas Hambiaouris and other officials.

During their visit, the experts will also meet educational organisations, parent and teachers associations. They will also visit primary and secondary schools.

The ministry in recent years has implemented teacher training at all educational levels and implements mechanisms to monitor the progress of pupils with a migrant background through an electronic platform.

In his address launching the visit, the minister said great emphasis on the equal access for all children to education, as guaranteed by the Constitution.

“On this basis, all children receive quality education without any discrimination, which is a basic right regardless of language, religion, belief, gender or ethnic origin,” he said.

The policy of the ministry aims at their smooth integration into the educational system.

The ministry, he added, as far as possible, uses all the resources available from the European Union, such as the Structural Funds and the Erasmus Plus programmes.

“Despite the fact that progress has been made in recent years in the areas mentioned above, the ministry of education and culture is still facing many challenges, especially in the reception phase, due to the constant flow of children with migrant background into schools throughout the school year,” the minister said.

“I am convinced that with the opportunity offered by the European Commission… we will make the most of this effort.”

In 2016 an action plan for the education of children from a migratory environment was prepared, based on SIRIUS recommendations and was aimed at coordinating school activities for creating an educational policy for the integration of migrant children, including refugees.

However, according to the latest education and training monitoring report for Cyprus in September 2018, significant challenges still remain, including the need to find ways to put into practice student attendance at the age of 16, language learning and cooperation between schools and local communities, ensuring that there is continuity in the specific skills when a teacher moves from a school.

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