SIRIUS first annual policy conference took place on December 15th, 2017 in Brussels and was a big success. Over 80 researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and representatives of migrant-led organisations gathered together to exchange knowledge, experience and good practices. This one day conference, organized under the activities of the EC co-funded project “SIRIUS 2.0 Policy Network on Migrant Education“, was a good platform to discuss, exchange ideas and dialogue on possible ways of collaboration and a unique opportunity to reflect on the capacity of the education system across Europe to meet the needs of migrant children. The conference reflected on successes, challenges, gaps and new potential priorities in the field of migrant education.
Following European Commission’s recognition of the valuable contribution SIRIUS provides to this policy area, three key sessions took place to produce and share knowledge on the topic:
1) Representatives from education ministries, schools, private philanthropies and experts addressed panel’s focus on “How can we educate in a diverse society?” and stressed the need of a more inclusive education system for migrant and refugee children and the importance of inclusive classrooms.
2) The “Floor is yours” session where participants had the opportunity to share their researches, projects, ideas on 10 specific topics; the session provided participants with the opportunity of networking, exchanging and reflecting on further cooperation and synergies in specific areas within the general migrant education framework. This highly participative methodology offered attendees an informal open space setting to share ideas, projects, actions and initiatives taking place across Europe.
3) Three workshops on “school leadership and governance”, “quality of teaching” and “social and emotional education in promoting migrant education” during which participants had the opportunity to learn from experts in these three topics and share also their expertise. The workshops enabled participants to benefit from experts’ inputs while sharing their expertise and reflections stemming from their national contexts. The outcomes of the session have been collected and will soon be shared within the network to strengthen SIRIUS’ and its members’ capacity to provide evidence-based policy recommendations and foster policy dialogue at both national and European level.
The whole day was very rich in discussions and knowledge-sharing. Participants have now diverse and excellent materials to enhance the work in the field of migrant and refugee education and reinforce collaboration among partners. As key outcome of the event, SIRIUS reinforces its position as recognised wide cross-country, multistakeholder and inclusive platform promoting positive change in the field of migrant education. The network further commits to reaching out more to policy makers and produce policy dialogues in all EU countries.