On 20th and 21st May 2021, Dutch, Slovenian and French representatives from the partnership of the SIRIUS 2.0 – Policy Network on Migrant Education Project (EAC/S28/2016) met for a Peer Learning Activity on multilingualism

Wait, what? Who’s Sirius? What is a Peer Learning Activity? Why do these people meet? 

The SIRIUS 2.0 project is a partnership, a network, aiming at promoting cooperation and exchange among different stakeholders, coming from several different sectors of the education and training sector. The network actively promotes the development of inclusive policies to foster the inclusion of children and young people with a migrant background in school education. 

To reach this aim, the very diverse partnership of SIRIUS engages in several activities including conferences, seminars, roundtables with policy makers and practitioners and exchanges of views, like Peer Learning Activities. 

PLAs, in short, are a space for practitioners and other institutional and non-institutional stakeholders to exchange in order to identify good practices, learn from each other and implement change through the practice of continuous knowledge sharing. 

The PLA organised in 2021 with partners from the Netherlands (Risbo), France (SIRIUS and LISTIAC) and Slovenia (Educational Research Institute) was about the topic of multilingualism in education. As we read in the PLA report: “More and more young learners are growing up with several cultures and languages and may experience multiple transitions between different school systems and school languages. Raised in changing multilingual and multicultural environments, individuals may no longer identify themselves with one language and culture but rather with a range of languages and cultures acquired in different situations. In the context of these social transformations, multilingualism is becoming more a way of life than a problem to be solved”.

Having looked at the practices in the Netherlands as a focus case study, partners from Slovenia and France identified a set of national recommendations to implement more inclusive multilingualism in the school system, as well as some transnational recommendations have been produced. In practical, the report of the PLA stresses the following: 

  • The Language Friendly Schools label should be more widely applied.
  • The national political agendas should place multilingualism at their core. 
  • More projects and exchanges among countries, like in the case of the PLA, should be organised to explore the issue of multilingualism more thoroughly.

As OBESSU, we see the central role of multilingual education in guaranteeing inclusion. In fact, as we stress in several of our policies, languages should never be an excuse for segregation and should actually be at the core of promoting a more intercultural environment and exchange. As outlined in the Education Area 2025, multilingualism is fundamental for enlarging the future opportunities of young people in Europe, and as such, we cannot wait to engage more with the partners of the SIRIUS project to discuss teacher competences, learner’ need and the role of community in promoting effective multilingual education, as well as with policy makers in discussions on the needs of serious funding and reforms for this change to actually happen. 

You can read the full report here>>

If you are interested in reading more about OBESSU’s position on refugee and migrant rights to education or promoting minority languages, you can read more by clicking on the links.