Validating Integration Competences of Refugees
On December 12, 2017, the first transnational seminar of the VIC Validation Integration Competences project for refugees took place. VIC is a strategic partnership co-financed by Erasmus + and coordinated by the German partner DVV – Deutscher Volkshochschulverband. The project will be implemented by a consortium of six partners from five European countries: Germany, Italy, Greece, France and Austria, between December 2017 and November 2019.
After the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees in the last two years, Europe is now facing the challenge of integration for these refugee immigrants with a legal title to stay. In the main countries of entry (Greece, Italy) and main host countries (Germany, Austria, France), a number of educational offers aim to facilitate the integration of immigrants into the labor market and into society in general, but there is no common, precise and operational definition of this “integration competence”. The effectiveness of integration programs is also not measured and its impact on individual integration skills is not assessed.
This is the starting point of VIC, which aims to
- Collect the varying objectives of integration programmes across Europe and distil from them an operational working definition of “integration competence”;
- Provide adult educators working with refugee immigrants with tools to promote, plan, actively develop and validate integration competences among the target group;
- Implement these tools in various different types of educational programmes as listed above;
- Carefully evaluate their feasibility, adequacy and impact.
A competence validation approach will be developed for the target group of refugee immigrants. It can be a valuable contribution to the self-assessment and further individual competence development of refugee immigrants. The identification and recognition of competencies acquired in different types of integration measures help refugees to reflect on their competences in terms of integrating into the society and being an active citizen.
Through the VIC system, refugee immigrants will receive more systematic and better support of their integration competence development, and a certification which may help in the labour market on the one hand, and certainly boost their confidence and motivation for integration on the other hand.
VIC does not only create added value for the refugee immigrants. In addition, adult education providers, state agencies and NGOs doing educational work with the refugees will get an assessment methodology which makes the impact of their programmes visible and thus helps to account for efficient spending of taxpayers’ and money and private donations. Outcomes of the validation can also be used to make existing integration measures more suitable in order to promote the integration process in an optimal way.