1. General Background
Amidst the refugee crisis in Europe and particularly in Greece, states are facing the dual challenge: to integrate the massive influx of refugees and migrants in societies while trying to relieve the public unrest and the xenophobic phenomena. Education is the key to a successful social integration and to combat stereotypes and racist attitudes in society. In this context, XENIOS POLIS -committed to its main mission- that means, to provide vulnerable and socially sensitive groups with information, training and support- has designed a completed intercultural education program tailored to the needs of all interested parties in the integration process: refugees, education and administrative staff. To achieve a better and more efficient integration, refugees as well as education and administrative staff should be well-educated in order to develop a sense of belonging and a sense of common understanding.
2. The Program: Objectives, Content and Method
The program has a dual objective: to provide refugees with necessary knowledge and skills and to familiarize education and administrative staff with a set of tools and methods which they can adapt appropriately to their teaching or working culture. To this end, the program is structured upon two main axes:
a) the program “Learning in Greece and in Europe” addressing refugees and
b) the program “Intercultural Management and Action” addressing teaching and administrative staff.
It is also worth mentioning that the education program for refugees includes a childcare program for the children of refugees not attending special classes in public schools or in other childcare facilities.
The estimated duration of the program is 30 months and the classes will take place during these hours refugees’ children attend school. The curriculum of the program “Learning in Greece and in Europe” («διαβάΖΩ στην Ελλάδα και την Ευρώπη») includes:
- European languages (Greek and English),
- Greek and European Civilization,
- Greek and European Political Culture and
- Vocational Orientation and Training.
The curriculum of the program “Intercultural Management and Action” includes courses on intercultural management and mediation, innovative teaching methods and relative best practices.
The entire program is designed according to the principles and practices of adult education and intercultural mediation and teaching and it encourages the interactive teaching methods through the participation of students in workshops and sessions.
3. Added Value and Impact
The program sets a real added value on the integration of refugees since, for the first time, multiculturalism and diversity are considered as enriching factors for societies and are streamed into main social structures, education and public administration. In this context, the program has a multiplying effect not only on refugees’ integration but also on the change and transformation of Greek social culture, by making society more open and tolerant to the “different”. The curricula in this program can be the leading force towards an educational and public administration reform, respecting the equal access of all to education and public administration.