Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

PROMISE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 19171
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY
Country: Austria

Integrating migrants in science education

An EU-funded initiative has set the groundwork for promoting the choice of science careers for migrants. The project's all-encompassing approach included a focus on cultural differences, teacher difficulties and role modelling.
Integrating migrants in science education
The 'Promotion of migrants in science education' (Promise) project undertook a range of activities aimed at setting the stage for equal opportunities in science education, and promoting migrants' choice of science studies and careers. The focus was on children of individuals that emigrated for economic and political reasons.

The establishment of Club Lise at all partner universities aimed to directly promote talented migrant girls at universities. Aimed at fostering the choice of science studies for migrant girls, these clubs bring together an intercultural group of girls to work on science topics. Being the most underrepresented group in science, migrant girls work with female scientists and science students - migrants themselves - as role models for their own science careers.

For the indirect promotion of migrants in science education, Promise partners cooperated with migration, language and intercultural research experts to develop methods and best practices in intercultural science education.

Given that differences in science education as well as linguistic and cultural communication problems often hamper the successful integration of migrants, Promise investigated the barriers that hamper migrants when learning science. Interviews and monitoring were used to concentrate on the difficulties encountered by science teachers in culturally diverse classroom settings.

Harmonisation of science education necessarily includes respecting cultural diversities, and identifying commonalities and two-way learning of good practices of science teaching. In addition, factors proving to be counterproductive to successful intercultural education and the motivation of girls must be identified. It also calls for the creation of methods that will boost the success of intercultural science lessons.

As part of efforts to harmonise the different methods and standards in science education, project partners promoted intense cooperation and exchange between countries of origin and countries of residence. This was achieved by setting up an international network of universities and schools from the project's four partner countries. Efforts in this area aimed to further the idea that harmonising the different science education systems can lower barriers and difficulties encountered when entering a new education system.

Project members also developed basic principles for intercultural science education in efforts to establish the long-term promotion of migrants. These principles can be used to consolidate teacher training.

Yearly Promise conferences offer partners the opportunity to present and discuss their work, and provide a forum for science education issues to be discussed with school authorities.

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