Integrating minority, migrant & refugee children at European schools & society – Online


According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), over 1 million asylum-seekers and migrants reached the European Union via the Mediterranean in 2015 alone; that is, nearly five times as many as in 2014. The UN’s refugee agency estimates that 84 percent are from countries that, because of war or other circumstances, qualify them as refugees. This overwhelming refugee crisis poses many immediate challenges that should be addressed at different levels within the European Union. And clearly one of the biggest challenges in the years to come is how the EU will manage to integrate the men, women and children who remain in Europe after the crises subside; this will be the real long-term test for EU policy makers and EU communities, in general.  The integration of refugees and immigrants in Europe has seen a plethora of academic and policy prescriptions; this fact itself shows that there are few absolute answers to this challenge that EU will face in the years to come. It is worth noticing that international human rights law does not address explicitly the ‘integration’ issue and the rights to non-discrimination and equality appear to be the cornerstones for a successful integration policy. A recent study has concluded that ambitious integration policies do work, and those countries who embrace ‘inclusive integration policies’ tend to provide the best conditions for social cohesion, to the advantage of refugees and immigrants and the societies that host them. ‘Integrating minority, migrant & refugee children at European schools & society’ is a course that offers the participants the opportunity to involve in discussions on the role of education in the overall effort to integrate refugees & immigrants in European societies. This is an essential course for all those involved in education, such as school principals/directors, teachers of formal and informal education, trainers, public employees responsible for educational policies, community leaders, social workers, NGO and civil organisation staff.

Main Aims

  • Understand the concept of cultural awareness and how to deal with cultural differences
  • In depth knowledge of best practices & policies at school for integrating minority, migrant & refugee children
  • Understand the need for organisational adaptations at school environment
  • How to develop and implement desegregation policies at school
  • Comprehend the importance of national language acquisition for migrants & refugees
  • Overview of best practices related to supplementary schooling in immigrant communities



According to an independent report submitted to the European Commission (EC), migrant students are disadvantaged in terms of enrolment in type of school, duration of attending school, indicators of achievement, dropout rates, and types of school diploma attained. Nowadays, it is widely accepted that the degree to which migrant student achievement is related to socio-economic origin depends much on the specific national education system and context.  It has been found that the educational attainment of migrant students is comparatively higher in countries with lower levels of economic inequality, high investments in child care and a well-developed system of preschool education. Moreover, investing in quality early childhood education and care is crucial, as it is at this stage that the foundations are laid for subsequent learning and achievements, and also because it is shown by research to contribute significantly to breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Undoubtedly, integration into the culture of the immigration country is a major function of schools in immigration countries. Therefore, the relative absence or distorted presentation of migrants in the school curriculum, in textbooks and in other materials and in school life, harms the self-image and self-esteem of minority group children and youth and negatively affects their chances of school success.

Quality of school research supports the hypothesis that schools of good general quality are also good for migrant children and their educational opportunities. Peers have a substantial influence on the achievement of migrant children, since minority children exposed to classmates with better performance and higher educational aspirations tend to increase their own. Moreover, various studies have also shown that low teachers’ expectations towards minority students generally have a negative influence on their performance and that teachers of a migrant and minority background have a positive influence on migrant achievement in schools.

Discrimination is often a major factor affecting the achievement of migrant students. Research shows that denied support is the most significant form of discrimination in the education of migrant children.

Finally, it is widely accepted that although parent involvement is positively associated with achievement of children in school, immigrant parents generally do not seek contact with schools. Therefore, mentoring in different forms and by different actors can substantially improve school attainment.

Who to attend IRIE?

The IRIE course is ideal for:

  • School principals & directors (primary & secondary)
  • Teachers (primary & secondary)
  • Educational Advisors
  • Community leaders
  • Community workers
  • Social workers
  • NGO‘s working with minority groups, migrants & refugees
  • Civil organisation staff


The methodology of the training is based on a combination of three important elements:

  • Provision of knowledge required (theory)
  • Use of training tools, such as case studies, videos, games, animations & exercises (practice – hands on experience)
  • Feedback/reflection (review)



The course is ideal for school principals, teachers of primary and secondary education, social & NGO staff working with minority, migrant & refugee children and parents, wishing to gain in depth knowledge of the best practices and policies related to integration of these pupils at school environment as well as in their societies.


By the end of the course, delegates will have acquired capabilities to:

  • Deal with cultural differences inside the classroom and make the most out of cultural diversity
  • Embrace cultural diversity and best practices for integration
  • Develop and implement desegregation policies
  • Understand the importance of national language acquistion for integration of minority groups and migrants
  • Implement best diversity policies and take affirmative actions


Course Content

Module I: Understanding culture

– Welcome and introductions

– Introduction to cultural awareness

– Understanding culture

– Dealing with cultural differences

– Importance of intercultural communication

Module II: Policies and measures at schools

– The teacher-student relationship

– Organizational Adaptations

– The school and its environment

– Relations to parents and communities of migrants & refugees

– Desegregation policies and measures

Module III: Individual support of minority, migrant & refugee children

– Early childhood programmes for the support of general development

– Support for school achievement outside the school system

– Mentoring: actors & methods

– Supplementary schooling in immigrant communities

Module IV: Language & integration

– Relevance & importance of national language

– Individual conditions of national language acquisition

– Best practices and policies of national language acquisition across Europe

Module V: Diversity Policies & importance of integration

– Anti-discrimination laws

– Diversity Policies

– Affirmative Actions

– Importance of integration of migrant & refugee children in EU societies

– Conclusions & recommendations


  • Certificate of attendance & certificate of competence