by Tamara Hegyi, 20th September 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives significantly. In particular, it had a huge impact on education, and especially on the education of vulnerable populations. The aim of this project is to ensure access, equity and inclusion in the learning environment.

Introduction to the project

Fast facts

  • Title: Digital cOmpetence to teach youth with mIgranT background (DO-IT)
  • Funding: Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union
  • Duration: 01/03/2021 – 28/02/2022
  • Partners: 2nd Vocational High School of Katerini (Greece), AMECE (Italy), Joint (Italy), Fundación Red Íncola (Spain)

The need for this project

Getting an education as a migrant student can be quite challenging. According to OECD “Immigrant students are less likely to enrol in early childhood education programmes, tend to have more restricted access to quality education, leave school earlier, and have lower academic achievements than their native peers.”[1]
Now, the pandemic has made the situation even worse. Again, OECD states that “The school closures and distance learning measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID‑19 put children of immigrants at a disadvantage, in several ways. Their parents tend to have fewer resources than native-born parents to help them in their homework, and 40% of native-born children of immigrants do not speak the host-country language at home. Such children are also less likely than students with native-born parents to have access to a computer and an internet connection at home or to a quiet place for study.”[2]

As ECEPAA believes that every child deserves and should get a quality education, we thought that a special project was needed that, in the future, could help all of us to better cope with unexpected and unparalleled situations like this COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of the project

Together with our partners we aim to advance the research on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and help people working with youth migrants expand their skill set.

The project intends to:

  1. Contribute to the gathering of more experience of what is happening on the ground by developing a research on the effects the pandemic has on the learning and teaching process of youth with migrant background, by also paying special attention to the use of digital tools.
  2. Increase the skills of teachers, trainers, youth workers and associations dealing with young people with a migrant background on how to deal with the effects the pandemic has on the learning and teaching of young people of migrant origin.

To achieve these aims we plan to use closed-answer questionnaires and in-depth interviews. In addition, we would like to develop a digital publication in 5 languages.

What we have done so far

Since the start of the project ECEPAA has been working hard. We have devoted a lot of resources to the management of the project, while simultaneously working on the gathering of inputs for the final digital publication.

To have a better understanding of our topic of interest we started our research by taking a look at the existing literature. We prepared a literature review that we could share with our partners.

The project plans to collect more information about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the education of youth with migrant background by the use of questionnaires targeting 5 different groups: teachers of technical and vocational schools, youth centre workers, migrant association members, researchers and trainers in training centres dealing with migrants.
ECEPAA prepared the first version of the questionnaires.

The final digital publication will contain at least 20 good practices related to strategies to support the education of young people of foreign origin. For this reason, we identified some guidelines for the best practices and started our own search for best practices that were implemented in Belgium during the pandemic.

Last but not least, together with our partner organization, the 2nd Vocational High School of Katerini, we did the necessary preparations for the project’s first transnational meeting. We drew up the agenda in light of the pandemic situation, making sure that we follow the COVID-19 regulations and health guidelines.

First transnational meeting

The first transnational project meeting was held in Katerini, Greece on the 6th and 7th of September where Gabriele Sospiro, director, and Anna Migliarese represented ECEPAA.

This meeting was our first in presence interaction with our partners regarding the project and we can happily and proudly say that the meeting was a success, we could reach all the milestones that we had set for ourselves.
The main goals of the meeting were to finalize the questionnaires, update each other on our research, identify three Greek best practices and discuss the next steps that will be taken.

The core events of the meeting were the visits to different institutions where the participants could observe best practices.

  • At the 2nd Vocational School of Katerini participants could see how the school system was working during the COVID-19 pandemic and the special measures that were implemented. Through a round table discussion with schoolteachers teaching migrants and refugees, the participants could address the problems and the best practices used to support the teaching and learning procedures.
  • During the visit to the Town Hall of the Municipality of Katerini participants had the possibility to meet with the President of the Katerini Council Education Committee who introduced them the measures taken and the best practices adopted for migrant students, at Institutional level, during the pandemic.
  • During the visit to the Refugee structure at “Kato Milia” area the participants met the training coordinator and held a discussion about the problems that exist, and the best practices that were adopted to address the teaching and learning problems of refugees and migrants during the pandemic.  

Anna shared her thoughts on the identified best practices:
“The First Transnational meeting in Katerini allowed all partners to be aware of the Greek best practices. We visited a school, the municipality, and a refugee camp that let us have a comprehensive overview of the situation. What we found is a multilevel cooperation, between institutions, civil society organizations, and experts of the education and migration sectors. Working in close cooperation is the successful strategy of Greek’s best practices. School professionals, teachers, social workers, NGO’s workers, etc. collaborate every day to be sure to leave no one behind.
Refugee kids have also participated in our meeting, in the refugee camp, and shared their points of view with us. Young refugees have had unique insights and recommendations on how to solve the challenges they are facing. Their ideas help us to make better decisions about the project’s future outputs.”

Now, that we could meet our partners in person and discuss the direction we want the project to take, DO-IT is going stronger than ever so please look forward to our digital publication.
You can check for updates on our and our partners’ social media accounts.

You can find our partners here:
2nd Vocational High School of Katerini
Fundación Red Íncola