META – Minorities Education Through Art
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An intensive debate on obstacles which deny children and youngsters with different migrant backgrounds access to cultural education and to equal educational opportunities.

The Round Table took place at the Pfefferberg in Berlin. The meeting was organized by Pfefferwerk Foundation as the first part of the META Advocacy Activities in Berlin/Germany and moderated by Guillermo Ruiz from Sozialfabrik e.V. (Berlin).

Around 20 experts from several local authorities, schools and civil society organizations as well as politicians discussed problems, challenges and potential solutions to improve integration and participation of disadvantaged youngsters through cultural education at school.

The input given by Prof. Dr. Haci-Halil Uslucan, from the University Duisburg-Essen, tackled some general aspects of social integration of immigrant groups, the ethnic structure of society, contemporary migration processes and the inequality in access to education for members of minorities groups. During the following discussion, at first, the participants focused on the fact that the migrants living today in our society no are a homogeneous group. They shared the conception that there needs to be much more attention given to by the public and by people work in in the administrative field about inequality in access to education.

Several aspects influence the access to education, those facts must be considered in evaluating formal educational processes at local school level in general, as well as in the development of projects that link cultural education. Against this background, the participants discussed the important role of the parents of pupils with migrant background, their educational level and their knowledge about the German educational system - from very different points of view. During the debate it has been underlined that “disadvantaged” does not mean inevitably “with migrant background”, but normally “poor” - and in many times “with migrant background” means “poor”.

In some statements, there has been a special focus on the situation of the system of schools and their current structures. So participants stated that especially for schools it needs quite a long time to implement changes in their system to achieve their empowerment and to improve educational opportunities of disadvantaged youngsters. That is why many participants expressed themselves for a stronger cooperation between different organizations, institutions and actors of the civil society at local level. Cultural education and, in general, the access to culture institutions for all people were considered as appropriate tools to acquire new skills and to foster self-esteem at individual level inside the target groups on one hand, intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding at group/society level on the other hand. Basic needs were identified for sustainable, successful work are a long-term, sufficient financial support and (further) education also for teachers and local authorities representatives.

Finally, the participants of the round table decided to continue their professional exchange and networking, which is foreseen for December 2016.