A new look at the inclusion of new generations and UASC

I am 877 thousand foreign children and adolescents enrolled in Italian schools (as 2019/20): a figure that grew progressively by 23.4% in the decade between 2009/10 and 2019/20, with a significant increase in the number of “second generation” children.. Through the European project “IMMERSE”, with a qualitative research, we have tried to offer a new look at the inclusion of these minors with a history of migration, in particular on children of the “new generation” and those who arrived alone in Italian territory.

By exploring different experiences with a view to multidimensionality, research examines the most important challenges and opportunities that migrant children live in the context of reception with special attention to the intercultural dimension and multilingualism.

IMMERSE qualitative research

Made between February and October 2021, the qualitative thrusts have gathered the testimony of several young people with a migrant background, involved thanks to the collaboration of our socio-educational centers in the cities of Turin, Rome, Catania and Naples, which for years have played a crucial role in the fight against educational poverty and social marginalization. A first study, with two illustrative cases treated nodes and resources that can “make a difference” in the professional and school experience of these young people, trying to identify the key variables that can influence the training cycles in a positive and negative sense.

The research has focused on school choices, motivation to study, results and expectations with regard to adulthood, and has also dealt with aspects of the school issue, inherent in the sense of belonging and social capital.

In Italy, the 2019/20 school year, students with a migrant background they represent 10.3% of the total number of students, but many difficulties still affect the path of these students, at each junction of the school system. Give it to her Less chance of inclusion in the nurseryto late schooling and early school leaving, passing, in certain territories, through phenomenon of concentration of foreign students in some schools which often provide inadequate teaching and learning support and fewer opportunities, due to the scarcity of cultural mediators and funding for integration. This phenomenon is accompanied by theexpulsion of Italian families from multicultural schools (the phenomenon white flight), in addition to the generalized cases of orientation of young people with a migratory background to the choice of technical-professional baccalaureate training cycles. Also in relation to the NEETor young people (15/29 years old) who are not included in school, training, or work, if we go to see the details, those of foreign origin are 33.5%, while the natives 22.5%.. Finally, it is necessary to consider the risk that the pandemic has aggravated this set of inequalities, implying a greater school disadvantage for students, also in terms of educational and digital poverty.

The “new generations”

The “new generations of migrant origin”, or minors of migratory origin born or raised in Italy (the so-called “second generations”), they represent a varied and growing reality in Italy. Often depicted as a “crossroads,” at the center of the intersection of different belongings and cultures, new generations are portrayed as engaged in a difficult mediation between multiple cultural referentsconstituted, on the one hand, by the set of knowledge, beliefs shared by the family of origin itself in affinity with the context of origin, and, on the other hand, with the different stimuli and contexts which they experience directly among their peers in Italy.

Unaccompanied foreign minors

In late April 2022, the UASCs were more than 14,000 young people, mostly male, mostly close to the age of majority and located differently in Italian territory. With little time available to establish a path of inclusion, these young people often encounter related obstacles lack of local educational and training offer or the delay in accessing it. In particular, the failure to enter the regular school system it seems widespread and is not accurately tracked by systemic data collection. In fact, most unaccompanied foreign minors come to Italy literacy courses, especially in the centers of first or second reception that receive them, in the Provincial Centers of Education of Adults (CPIA) of the territory or, in minority, in the private social organizations. The experience gained from the qualitative survey reveals this all the difficulties of attending a CPIA: from teaching and learning rhythms more difficult to sustain due to curriculum compression in fewer years of study, to lack of socialization with peers as attendees are usually adults.

For a more inclusive school

School careers and the educational success of migrant students are still too often at risk. The commitment to inclusion and the contrast of early school leaving requires educational interventions based on support, dialogue and participation, based on pathways that include:

  • the timely school placement in heterogeneous and consistent classes regarding the age of newcomers and the transparency of administrative procedures;
  • accompaniment to elections and paths able to enhance previous skills, guarantee professional opportunities and avoid the risks of abandonment;
  • strengthening school guidance devicesso that they are less conditioned by stereotypes, through adequate training of school staff, the support of cultural mediators and through the use of shared parameters with minors and their families or guardians;
  • development of new teaching methods remote included;
  • the adoption of approaches aimed at promoting an inclusive climate and non-discriminatory;
  • the spread of interventions aimed at promoting pluralism and foster intercultural confrontation;
  • the increase of opportunities for structured collaboration and continuous between schools / training centers and non-formal educational environments networked with the educational community.

Regarding the condition and the routes of unaccompanied foreign minors, the results of the research refer specifically to need to guide the development of interventions aimed at the UASC taking into account the following cross-cutting issues:

  • there limited time availableespecially for young people approaching the exit of the protection system, which requires timely guidance and insertion in school and / or training according to a project shared with the migrants themselves, with educators and tutors;
  • the need to develop motivation to studyto facilitate access to more qualified professional itineraries and enhance this propensity;
  • the priority to be given to socialization with colleagues from different backgrounds and natives;
  • the criticality of the paths characterized by fragmentation both in terms of the young person’s biography and migration project and in terms of services and forms of intervention and protection.

Therefore, it is necessary overcoming the extreme heterogeneity of approaches, encourage the development of more intentional and systematic inclusive practices, based on the coordination and collaboration of all key actors, and at the same time emphasize the importance of practices being inspired by a vision of cultural diversity as a resource for benefit of the whole community.

Read the full report “IMMERGE – A New Look at Qualitative Research.”

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For more information, see the article “New data on students of foreign origin and educational communities”.

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