DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES
More than 160,000 refugees, including over 70,000 children, applied for asylum in Sweden.
To ensure that they receive a secure education and future in their new country, the Swedish school system needs to invest to develop the skills of school staff concerning reception.
The need to educate school staff about reception is not new, but has become more urgent in the wake of the war in Syria. All children living in Sweden have the right to an education of high quality. The content must be adapted to each individual child’s needs and level of knowledge and it is also important for integration in school classes that the newly arrived pupils have the opportunity to progress in the Swedish language and other subjects at the same time.
That is the standpoint of the Swedish National Agency for Education, which has now assigned Lund University to arrange two continuing professional development courses: Paths to Learning for New Arrivals and Teaching Newly Arrived Pupils.
The aim is to improve conditions for good learning outcomes for newly arrived pupils and pupils with a native language other than Swedish. This applies in primary and lower secondary schools and corresponding types of school, and in the introduction programme of upper secondary schools.
Lund Univeristy wishes to contribute to the development of society by providing education about reception and bilingualism in primary and lower secondary schools. This creates increased understanding, and makes things easier for pupils in their social life and future working life. It also benefits the economy and creates a society in which we live together rather than apart.
Since 2014, Lund University has been one of the higher education institutions that offer the course Paths to Learning for New Arrivals, and the only one that arranges it entirely as a distance learning course. It is structured so that schools that are a long distance from the higher education institution offering the course do not have to refrain from participating due to lack of time, financial issues or geography. It also provides national dissemination of the knowledge and tools that will make life easier for newly arrived pupils at school.
In order to drive change, staff apply to the Paths to Learning for New Arrivals course as a school team with three to eight participants. Solutions based on the school’s unique situation are developed through literature and virtual meetings with the course tutor.
A new course in 2020 is Teaching Newly Arrived Pupils, which was developed when the Swedish National Agency for Education saw there was a need to strengthen certain professional roles. Home language teachers and study supervisors are key people in the reception process and require improved cooperation.