Educating immigrants

In my previous article on schools, I mentioned as one of the problems the fact that there are so many immigrant children, most of whom have Arabic as their first, and sometimes only, language.  Furthermore, they may be so young as not to be able to read even that language.  How, then, to educate these youngsters?

The way not to do it is to do what is being done now:  they are put in normal schools and left to sink or swim as best they can through a series of subjects, social studies, science subjects, maths, music, gym and languages.  This way they are not going to learn anything of value in any of these subjects.

The only way to handle this is to have schools where the above subjects are taught in the mother tongue of the students, usually these days Arabic.  In addition to the above subjects they should be given crash courses in the native language of the country to which they have come.  This way, whether they are granted or refused permanent residence, they will be able to go to their next port of call with a knowledge of the subjects roughly equivalent to what they need, and, if they are allowed to stay in the country, a good knowledge of the language there, and the possibility of continuing their studies in that language.

And where, pray, are the teachers to be found to teach social studies, science subjects, maths and all the others in Arabic?  Why, amongst other migrants from the same countries; from parents who are also waiting for word of their residence status, some of whom will have been teachers in the home country.

A system like this kills so many birds with one stone, that only an idiot would not be able to see it.  The children are usefully occupied; they are continuing their education, the nationals who are used as teachers are also usefully occupied; they can be paid a nominal hourly sum; both students and teachers can earn 'brownie points' towards the decision on their eventual acceptance into the host country.  And the biggest advantage of all - it gets these children out of ordinary schools, where, unable to understand what is going on, they can only resort to making trouble for their own amusement.  It is a win-win situation.

And if the unions quibble about the low wages of the foreign teachers, they can cough up qualified teachers in the same language to be paid at the going rate for other teachers.  If they can't do that, what are they quibbling about?

How much will this cost?  If the ping-pong tables in the recreation rooms are moved to one side and replaced with desks and chairs, not so much.  Indeed, the ping-pong tables do not need to be moved.  They can function as ordinary tables. Teaching materials will have to be paid for, and exercise books, but these are being provided anyway in the local schools.

So what is everybody waiting for?

© James Wilde 2015