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Driving integration through language and education

Integration in school:

For people with a migration background, education institutions (kindergartens, schools) are particularly important stations on their journey towards integration over a longer period of time. The (German language) skills taught there and the shared set of values experienced form the prerequisites for successful participation in society and thus lay the foundation for a successful integration process.

In recent years, the education system has been marked by increased diversity in both staffrooms and classrooms. As a result of the growing heterogeneity of pupils, there is an increasing need to develop more customised learning processes.

The aim must be to create a fair and effective education system that provides all children and young people with the best possible individual support, while giving them the opportunity to develop. Education should be seen as a holistic, lifelong process that enables people to participate and enjoy equal opportunities, regardless of their social or ethnic origin.

Lessons that support every child and young person according to their individual stage of learning and development not only successfully prevent segregation tendencies, but also strengthen social cohesion and the feeling of belonging to Austria. An effective education system therefore plays an important role in the development of society as a whole.

Integration in school is not just a long-term process, but also a co-operative one. It is therefore important to prepare school staff and structures for these new challenges, and at the same time to involve parents and children more closely and help them to understand the rules and obligations of everyday school life. Sustainable improvements can only be achieved if everyone works together.

Integration work at the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research

For many years, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research has launched a raft of initiatives designed to promote integration. Since integration is an interdisciplinary issue, the Ministry works closely with other ministries, the federal states and key stakeholders, such as the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF).

In order to obtain a nationwide picture of integration in schools and to provide advice on any issues that may arise, the Ombudsman for Values and Cultural Conflicts was established in February 2019.

Ombudswoman Susanne Wiesinger is currently examining challenges and approaches in this area and will present all the results in a report.