Thanks to the availability of the CPIA Cellini in Firenze, the 8th of January 2020 Glocal Factory conducted a Focus Group within PROM PAR project about the “Civic Education” issues for migrants and asylum seekers. The general question was: “What can help you live better in Florence/Italy and what obstacles do you find to integrate into the city?”

Here some notes of the Report

Context

The participants are asylum seekers and refugees attending courses to obtain the “terza media” diploma. The age is from 18 to 30 years old and they come from Gambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Brazil, Albania. The general climate of the meeting was interesting and interactive, despite the fact that the students were more numerous than expected, they all wanted to attend and participate in the discussion.

Work

First phase presentation of the PROM PAR objective: to set up contents and tools useful for migrants on Civic Education; presentation of the keywords used such as Civic Education, Services, Citizenship, Integration; distribution of the questionnaires (see below) to the students.

Second phase the topics dealt with concerned: the services known in the area, what it means to know and what it wants to use the services; what it means to be autonomous; how services and branches of the municipality, prefecture, police headquarters, first aid, employment centre work; the importance of learning the local language but also knowing and dating local people with their habits and traditions; visit the places of local culture, museums, theatres, events, libraries, sports and recreational clubs; how to use the internet; who to contact for their rights (migrants’ Associations, Institutions, Voluntary Organizations)

Third phase general conclusions. Final discussion and collection of the 10 questionnaires distributed where some students have written notes and proposals, from which emerged Needs, Obstacles, Contents and Tools.

 

NEEDS

  • More information updated, grouped and easily accessible on the topics covered (i.e. online news or paper magazine); organizing civic education courses by visiting the places of participation;
  • More Italian language study  in an intensive manner in presence, even with ICT and distance courses, or with native speakers;
  • More information aimed at finding a job, obtaining residence permits, the functioning of the health and social care system, passive and active employment policies;
  • More knowledge on basic economics and finance to be independent in money management;
  • More information on cultural, sporting but also trade union and patronal associations to participate in the various community activities.

Civil service and volunteering could facilitate learning and inclusion. Volunteering as a form of integration path.

 

OBSTACLES

  • Structural: with Salvini’s security decree, the reception centres for migrants have decreased and have been merged into a few structures[1], often far from CPIA schools, creating difficulties to reach the school; the operators of the reception centres are fewer and fewer and are unable to follow the students individually in school and career guidance courses; contributions for asylum seekers who have to pay a travel pass have also decreased. For these reasons, some students no longer attend school; school hours (3 hours in the afternoon) are not always compatible with the workers-students.
  • At school: lack of computer labs, IWB and wifi; a few hours of Italian study per week, lack of practical information on services to citizens and migrants, lack of specific IT courses on law, economics, environment topics.
  • Out of school: fragmented information, loneliness in the study, unfamiliarity with the local language; low competences in the use of the internet; operators at rude and hasty counters; few relationships with the locals and few opportunities to meet them.

Students learn more with word of mouth than with official channels, which are too many, complicated and dispersive.

 

CONTENTS

  • Need to have more information on services and regulations concerning migrants and locals;
  • Courses on ICT, Italian culture and history, basic Economics and Finance, English, Law, Labor market and services structure, work guidance.

 

TOOLS

  • New teaching methods such as computer labs, use of videos, podcasts, mobile, cinema and  theatrical activities, game education;
  • Educational visits to Institutions, Labor Organisations and Associations;
  • Class witnesses representing associations and organizations;
  • Stimulate non-formal and informal education, greater relationships with local people.

The school should compensate for the information and knowledge by aggregating it in a targeted way to migrants, making it easily accessible and online usable, as a podcasts or OERs Open Educational Resources

 

[1] Rapporto di Action Aid Centritalia 2020  https://www.actionaid.it/informati/pubblicazioni/la-sicurezza-dellesclusione