07 SES 07 A, Inclusion of Newly Arrived and Refugee Children Part 1
Paper Session to be continued in 07 SES 08 A
As the flows of unaccompanied and separated minors are directed towards Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Spain, Italy is first among the European Countries for hospitality of unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) and the Italian practices of hospitality are considered a model for Europe. In the first half of 2017, as a matter of facts, 11,406 unaccompanied and separated minors have arrived in Italy - that is 93% of the total minors (12,239). At the date of 30/11/2017 there were 15,779 unaccompanied and separated minors registered in Italy (UNHCRI, UNICEF and IOM, 2017).
In this frame, the evident visibility of the numbers corresponds to an invisibility of the minors: the unaccompanied and separated children remain invisible persons, escaping the mesh of the social network. It’s a real process that leads to invisibility, process in which the visibility (Milani, 2015) is still marked by uncertainty and vulnerability (Kohli, 2006; Eide & Hjern, 2013). This vulnerability does not only belong to the single minor, it is rather a systemic vulnerability (Accorinti, 2014; Milani, 2015) that involves all the net that – starting from the country of origin - brings to the destination country, up to the reception centres and to the Communities for Minors.
This process of invisibility is very complex. Its variables are, in fact, several: social, political, cultural (culture, literacy and education) and economic. The children come from poor countries, that are at war or suffering epidemics and famines. In their “journey” (Deluigi, 2012; Zoletto, 2012) they constantly live in invisibility and are often victims of traders who induce them to secretive conditions. Here the minors become twice invisible because they were already invisible in their countries of origin: without education, rights and hope for the future. The process of invisibility could - however - be reversed and could lead the minor to visibility, thanks to the hospitability and to the laws of the host country. The rebirth towards visibility could be possible starting from politics of governance for unaccompanied and separated minors and of educational practices (Milani, 2015).
The category of invisibility is often associated to the interpretations related to unaccompanied minors. This category has not yet been fully explored, but it is exactly in relationship between visibility and invisibility of the minor that the possibility of inclusion or exclusion is situated. The research is situated on the intercultural research frame (Catarci, 2014; Stara, 2014; Catarci & Fiorucci, 2015; Fiorucci & Pinto Minerva & Portera, 2017).
The research, thus, tries to explore the category of invisibility as a category to read, to interpret, to diagnose and to question the practices of hospitability for unaccompanied and separated children in the Italian context and in particular in Piedmont.
This research is an explorative study that can open interesting reflections and researches for the Italian and European practices of hospitability and of educational interventions (Accortini, 2014; Deluigi, 2014). The research is structured as an interpretative inquiry through a self-filled questionnaire with open questions. The questionnaire has been administrated to the educators of the Communities for Minors that host unaccompanied and separated children. The concept of invisibility - proposed to reflect on the relationship with the minor and on the practices – constituted a kind of litmus test of the complexity of the intervention for these minors and, in parallel, of the discomfort and invisibility of the educators themselves. The research is therefore a qualitative one and attempts to survey deeply if the invisibility can be a useful category in promoting visibility – that is to say identity, restitution of dignity and of rights to the minors and processes of social inclusion by targeted educational activities. The questionnaire has therefore been formulated with 10 questions in order to survey these areas of interests: - the perception of invisibility of the minor and the concept of invisibility of the educators; - the signal-behaviours adopted by the minors that are compatible with the dynamic invisibility/visibility. - the actions implemented by the educators to promote the visibility of minors. As far as the methodological point of view is concerned, it was important to consider the responders also as individuals, capable to question themselves or to have interesting view points not contemplated in the questionnaire. Question number 10, in fact, asked: “We ask you to write down the question that is not contained here and to which you would have liked to answer on this subject and we also ask you to give us your answer”. This question allowed us to widen the perspective of the research, giving the “power of interviewing” to the interviewee himself, considered as an “expert”.
We expect this research, thanks to this interpretative – almost “provocative” – category, to make the ideas of the educators visible concerning: - the invisibility of the unaccompanied minors and its dynamics; - the reality of unaccompanied minors who are in Communities and in training and educative processes; - the ways to contrast the minors’ invisibility, to promote their possibilities of inclusion and, after getting out of the Community, to avoid lurching back into illegality, exclusion and hiding; - lights and shadows of the process that leads from invisibility to visibility; - the construction of a possible “weave” of a pedagogy of the hospitability and of the “visibility” to promote both in the Italian and European context. Finally, thanks to question number 10, we expect to give voice to the educators, listening to their questions and their responses as well. These possible outcomes could provide some contributes to improve the practice and new questions of research about hospitality and social practice for unaccompanied minors.
Accorinti M. (2014), Politiche e pratiche sociali per l’accoglienza dei minori non accompagnati in Italia. Policies and Practices on Unaccompanied Minors in Italy, EMN (European Migrant Network) – Ministero dell’Interno – European Commission – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Roma: CNR Edizioni. Accorinti M. (2015), Unaccompanied Foreign Minors in Italy: Procedures and Practices, «Review of History and Political Science», 3, 1, June, pp. 60-72. ANCI – Cittalia (2012), I minori stranieri non accompagnati in Italia - IV Rapporto Anci Cittalia, Anci, Roma. Catarci M. (2014), Intercultural Education In The European Context: Key Remarks From A Comparative Study, «Intercultural Education», 10, pp. 95-104. Catarci M. – Fiorucci M. (2015), (Eds.), Intercultural Education in the European Context. Theorie, Experiences, Challenges, Farnham: Ashgate. Deluigi R. (2012), Tracce migranti e luoghi accoglienti. Sentieri pedagogici e spazi educativi, Lecce: Pensa Multimedia. Deluigi R. (2014), Looking for projectuality: migrant movements and hospitable spaces, in Stara F. (a cura di), La costruzione del pensiero e delle strategie interculturali, Lecce: Pensa Multimedia, pp. 135-150. Eide, K. - Hjern, A. (2013), Unaccompanied refugee children – vulnerability and agency, «Acta Paediatrica», 102, pp. 666–668. Fiorucci M. - Pinto Minerva F. - Portera A. (2017), (a cura di), Gli alfabeti dell’intercultura, Pisa: ETS. Milani L. (2015), Due volte invisibili. Minori stranieri lavoratori e vittime di tratta e diritto all’educazione, in Tomarchio M. – Ulivieri S. (a cura di), Pedagogia militante. Diritti, culture, territori, Pisa: Edizioni ETS, pp. 314-322. Kohli R. K. S. (2006), The Sound of the Silence: Listening to What Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Children Say and Do Not Say, «The British Journal of Social Work», 36, 5, 1 July, pp. 207-721. Stara F. (2014) (a cura di), La costruzione del pensiero e delle strategie interculturali, Lecce: Pensa Multimedia, pp. 135-150. UNHCRI, UNICEF and IOM, Refugee and Migrant Children In Europe. Accompanied, Unaccompanied and Separate Children. Mid year overview of Trends, January - June 2017, pdf. Zoletto D. (2006), Straniero in classe. Una pedagogia dell’ospitalità, Milano: Raffaello Cortina Editore. Zoletto D. (2012), Pedagogia e studi culturali. La formazione tra critica postcoloniale e flussi culturali trasnazionali, Pisa: ETS. Zoletto D. (2015), Dall’intercultura ai contesti eterogenei, Milano: Franco Angeli. Main Laws Decreto Legislativo 25 luglio 1998, n. 286 «Testo unico delle disposizioni concernenti la disciplina dell'immigrazione e norme sulla condizione dello straniero». Legge 7 aprile 2017, n. 47, «Disposizioni in materia di misure di protezione dei minori stranieri non accompagnati».
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