ERG SES C 12, Culture and Education
By equal opportunities it is understood that personal and social circumstances such as gender, ethnicity or family background, do not pose obstacles in achieving maximum of educational potential (MSMT, 2016). Equal opportunity doesn’t mean the same as the same treatment to everybody. So that everybody has the equal educational opportunities, it is necessary to favor some pupils. Children with immigrant background need such a special treatment so that they can attend school in the new country, they or their parents have moved in. What kind of special measures countries chose, it is task for policy makers. In this contribution I will show what the politics (legislation and strategical documents) of equal opportunities for immigrant children in education looks like. The main research question is: What is characteristic for the Czech and Norwegian legislation and strategical documents for ensuring equal opportunities for immigrant children in education? The main aim of the contribution is to introduce global and European tendency in immigrant children education, and on examples of two contexts (Czech and Norwegian) to show similarities and differences in the legislation, highlight these points and explain them by using political, historical, social and economic context of these countries (Bereday, 1964).
The most crucial of theoretical framework is firstly literature on equal opportunities in education, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which sais in the Article 26 that (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children (UN, 1948). If there are not given an equal opportunities to immigrant children, we speak about ethnic (racial) discrimination (Ochodek, 2014) or religion discrimination (Bobek, Bouckova, 2007). Those concepts are also theoretical basics for my study.
Secondly, I am using legislative documents dealing with equal opportunities and education of immigrant children on the global and European level (OECD, 2015; UNICEF, 2013; CRC Committee, 2012; EURYDICE, 2009; Abramovic et al, 2011; Equal Educational Opportunities Act, 1974) and on the country level: Czech crucial documents (School Education Act - especially paragraphs §16 and §20; annual Concept of immigrant integration; Drbohlav, 2011) and Norwegian ones (School Education Act – especially paragraph §2-8; Kunnskapsdepartementet, 2007; Utdanningsdirektoratet, 2006).
Thirdly, I am working with the models of integration by Giddens (1997) (also in Berry, 1994, Belohradsky, 2009, Jensen, 2007). Those are essential theoretical framework for deciding what are the nowadays strategies in explored countries. Model of assimilation was visible in the Czech Republic till 1989 (the end of the communism era), when there were no special respect or treatment for national or cultural differences. Model of assimilation is no longer supported and is recognized as undesirable. Today’s tendency and goal of modern, democratic countries is the way of integration (Giddens, 1997). Main idea of this model is cohabitation of different cultures, where those cultures are equal, minorities are allowed to keep their cultural and traditions but in the same time they are ready to participate in the cooperation in the major society based on the principles of equality.
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