Gela (SR). March 1, 2017. SUPPORTED STUDY GRANT FOR 50 UNACCOMPANIED MINOR MIGRANTS. Funded by FONDAZIONE SICILIA (SICILY FOUNDATION). Made in collaboration with COMPREHENSIVE INSTITUTE GELA / BUTERA – PUBLIC JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL E.MATTEI with Headmistress PROF. AGATA GUELI_ FIRST RECEPTION CENTRE MANAGED BY THE GELA COOPERATIVE “YOU AS ME”
- Upon arriving on the Sicilian coast, unaccompanied migrant children between the ages of 10 and 16 are first identified and then accommodated in first reception centres, which are run by various cooperatives of different kind and nature, that receive the minors for a regulated period of 3 to 6 months.
- From these first reception centres, minors must then be placed in a more stable, long-term residence where the objective is to integrate the child into the host country’s school system. During these critical first three months, in addition to meals and accommodation, children receive psychological support, basic literacy tutoring and some degree of recreational and athletic activities coordination.
- These three months are crucial to the fate of these minors, who arrive from a most trying journey, having been spared nothing. During these months, children do not receive a specific education because it would be extremely hard to assess and monitor the level of any prior schooling received by them; communication difficulties are significant (virtually no one speaks Italian) and the little time available renders a normal integration into a school environment even more difficult.
- The intent of this MSE pilot project is to immediately intervene with formative programmes capable of influencing the futures of these children. It may be a mere drop in the ocean, but it can set a powerful example, which can be replicated on a larger scale.
- The education module will take place in a public school over a period of 3 months. It will consist of 6 hours per week where the participants will be divided into 3 class groups, formed on the basis of their spoken language — recurrently French, English and Arabic. During the programme, students will be provided with an intensive, well-structured Italian course, together with a general cultural knowledge and civic education course that will help them to understand where they are (geographically) and what the social norms are in the host country. In addition, they will learn about the actual possibilities of permanent settlement or transfer, in order to be prepared for the first interview with the local committees and be able to understand what is happening.
- The support given by the people operating in the hosting structure is fundamentally important in order to, obtain an accurate analysis of the children’s education needs and an assessment of their current knowledge, constituting an essential reckoning and orientation service.
The realisation of MSE’s pilot project has been made possible by the contribution received from Fondazione Sicilia. The funds provided will fully finance educational materials for the minors as well as the costs of the teaching staff.
A heartfelt thank you to the Headmistress and teaching staff of the Comprehensive Institute Gela/Butera E. Mattei Junior High School. Without their generous cooperation (having provided premises and pro-bono teaching hours) the project could not have been realized.
ACTION PLAN AND CRITICAL POINTS
LESSONS WILL BEGIN ON THE 1st OF MARCH 2017 AND END ON THE 30th OF MAY 2017. THE LESSONS WILL TOTAL 6 HOURS PER WEEK, SCHEDULED TO BE ON MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS FROM 3 PM TO 5 PM.
Lessons will begin at junior high Enrico Mattei of Gela on the 1st of March. Students will be allocated to one of 3 classes depending on the spoken language of origin: English, French or Arabic.
The education module, structured specifically to set a “good practice”, is the first of its kind and lessons will be provided on the Italian language and an introduction to European civic education.
Attendance will be voluntary (attendance can not be made compulsory) but the minors will be made aware that after 3 absences, not motivated by health related issues, they will no longer be permitted to continue the courses. We expect virtually every minor to enroll as it is a continued request to be able to study as soon as possible in a “real” Italian school.
Books and educational materials will be provided, there will be assigned homework between classes, to be done by the students at the reception centres with support from the operators who are already providing basic literacy courses required by law.
The operators of the reception centre will take turns assisting with classes taught by professors of the Enrico Mattei School. This dynamic has been designed to create the maximum possible integration, utilizing all the tools available to amplify the results of the programme.
Critical issues that emerge from the first organizational approach
-Minors, by law, are to remain in the reception centres for a predetermined number months, but they actually end up staying for much longer periods of time, due to the continuous disruptions in reception centres supply chain caused by the overwhelming influx of migrants.
-There is a possibility that some minors may be moved to another location without notice and as a result will suddenly leave the programme. However, this is in regards to a number no greater than 20%.
-An open-ended issue: Increasing residence times in the centres may open up the possibility for minors to take the eighth grade examination. This would represent a key and necessary step for them to be able to enroll in any type of further education or pursue professional opportunities.
-This last point is added as a new goal of the project. As good practice, pioneer project, it has has no monitored precedent in Italy.
RESULTS AND OBJECTIVES
Only by completing these first three months of education cycle will we be able to obtain comprehensive evidence and meaningful data regarding the practices and results. Upon completion we will be able to streamline the effective solutions that then may be replicated in other parts of the country.
It is an ambitious goal, especially in light of the enormous legislative and organizational disarray regarding unaccompanied migrant minors throughout Europe and particularly Italy.
Therefore, by June 2017, we plan to publish the results on ourwebsite and to give maximum emphasisi on publications here in Italy and abroad
Noto (SR). November 2016. THE CENTER OF MIGRATION STUDIES MEDITERRANEO SICILIA EUROPA IS BORN
The agreement between the C.U.M.O. (Eastern Mediterranean University Consortium) and the Association Mediterranean Sicily Europe is now signed.
The Centre is the first of its kind in southern Italy, and will be responsible for Migration, Multiculturalism, Social integration, Security and Defense.
Chairman Steering Committee Professor Corrado Spataro and Scientific Chairman Committee Professor Maurizio Caserta In Noto (Syracuse)
Support for interaction and integration of refugees in Europe
The project foresees the creation of a multidisciplinary theatrical workshop characterised by non-verbal dialogue and aimed at encouraging communication that disregards the knowledge of languages and in which the main characters are refugees.
Alongside each workshop activities are planned for learning European languages and culture. The project will be created in collaboration with Italian and foreign agencies and associations.