The educational tracks and integration of immigrants – problematic areas and proposals for actions
Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö
Julkaisusarja:Publications of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland 2016:6
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Julkaisun pysyvä osoite onhttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-263-391-0
A total of 32,400 asylum-seekers arrived in Finland in 2015. It has been estimated that approximately 35 % of all asylum-seekers, and up to 90 % of children arriving in the country alone, are granted resident permits. The current system and funding cannot meet those demands in full. On 5th November 2015, the Ministry of Education and Culture set a steering group tasked with preparing and fitting together the Ministry and the administrative branch’s short and long-term procedures resulting from the situation concerning the asylum-seekers and growing immigration. This publication includes the steering group’s evaluation of the problematic areas in the current system, and the proposals for procedures that could be launched immediately. The steering group suggests that the basic education for adults be renewed to meet the needs of immigrants better than before. It should be promptly investigated whether the bodies organising basic education are prepared to organise the sufficient amount of basic or preparatory studies for immigrants over the age of compulsory education from autumn 2016 onwards. Additional training and support materials are required for student health care and teaching staff for the recognition and guidance of children and youths who have been through crises and traumatic events. The educational tracks of those who receive residence permits should be expedited by lowering the threshold for integration training and the training following it. The shared content of the integration training includes language studies, Finnish society and working life, and education opportunities. After these common studies, the studies would be divided according to the target groups, with the objective of integrating them to normal teaching groups as soon as possible. The possibilities for improving language skills in Finnish and Swedish should be increased. Preparatory education for vocational training and training that improves study abilities for immigrants should be increased. Degree studies that are particularly directed towards immigrants should also be increased. The model should be developed to particularly meet the needs of immigrants in the education agreement pilot projects launched in spring 2016. Student bodies should be supported in the integration of immigrant students. The group integration of the students should also be supported. The participation of children in early education must be promoted as it will improve their language skills in Finnish or Swedish. The participation of mothers in language training should also be increasingly facilitated. It is also suggested that the participation of immigrants in arts, cultural, and sports activities should be supported, and additional training be given to the personnel in youth workshops and municipal youth workers. The recruitment of teachers with immigrant backgrounds should be increased. The report lists a total of 56 procedures.