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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Education policies targeting refugee and immigrant children in the Nordic countries

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Background:
Nordic countries have child-centered and universally accessible education based on principles of equality while recognizing individual needs. Education is recognized as a crucial instrument for integrating and safeguarding children with migrant backgrounds. However, international education surveys highlight lower educational achievement in immigrant students versus their majority ethnic peers.
Methods:
Analysis was conducted based on Tomaševski’s ‘right to education’ framework (2001) stipulating governments must ensure the right to education along four dimensions: availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability. The study focuses on acceptability and adaptability of education and how it relates to the health and wellbeing of immigrant students.
Results:
Findings suggest key differences in Nordic migrant education policies in the areas of acceptability and adaptability. While Finland, Norway and Sweden conceive of mother tongue education as an important aspect of identity development and social and psychological wellbeing, Denmark does not offer mother tongue education. Teacher competences to meet the challenges inherent in increasingly diverse classrooms also vary – with Finish teachers required to have a Masters level education, while the other three countries have implemented diverse training strategies to increase teachers’ cultural competence.
Conclusions:
Migrant education policies in Scandinavia differ in key areas concerning acceptability and adaptability in terms of the degree of recognition of diversity, cultural background and identity of immigrant children and may contribute to ethnic differences in wellbeing and educational outcomes. Further research is needed into migrant education practices in schools to better understand the mechanisms leading to ethnic inequalities in outcomes, and identify models of good policy practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean journal of public health
Volume28
Issue numbersuppl_4
Pages (from-to)cky213.880
Number of pages1
ISSN1210-7778
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

ID: 55717846