I go to school, therefore I integrate!
It was on May 13, 2015 when The Minister of Education in Portugal, Nuno Crato, introduced his country as a successful pattern for other EU member states in “integrating immigrants in to school” while the experiences of years with different policies around Europe have shown lack of achievement to address the needs of integration. As he argues the factor of diversity has played a significant role on success in Portugal; “This tolerance for diversity is not very common to all countries and I do believe it worth valuing”. This diversity and democratic respect, based on this approach should be deployed at schools and combined with respect for knowledge...., otherwise the school would be failing in its mission.
As Nuno Crato suggests “both facets should walk hand in hand (with) the theme of citizenship, tolerance and dealing with difference, highly important and extremely contemporary to Europe”, while Europe’s statistics generally illustrates absence of interests from immigrants’ side to enter the educational systems. Based on Eurostat(latest data about education), in 2011, at the EU-27 level, more than one third of the foreign-born population aged 20-64 only had primary education or lower. It means one third do not even get the chance of trainings based on the targets of states. Based on available data for the year 2011, foreign-born population at EU level in the age group of active years shares the property of around 36% with primary educational attainment or less, and this figure reduces to 26% for higher level education. However, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Luxembourg, Estonia, Sweden and Cyprus had the highest shares of the foreign-born population with tertiary educational attainment (35-48 %).
On the other hand, the outcome of integration based on educational systems is still more or less blurred, as each member states follow its own projects. For instance, some schools in Greece follow the policy of cultural diversity education to solve the issue of exclusion through immigrants who are basically from Balkan countries and recently from Syria and Iraq after the war in the region. In this system students should stay more at school to spend specific time for learning the destination country’s language. During this process students improve their communication skill therefore; they can also take the courses in their mother tongue’s languages which help them to keep their ties to their countries’ of origin. But a country like England has made no commitment to offering mother tongue tuition to immigrant children within the school curriculum.
Generally speaking, National strategic policies that value linguistic and cultural diversity in the school system go toward a further step on integration process. And precisely, those are the countries where measures have been adopted to support mother tongue tuition for immigrant pupils.