The international research centre CARDET, in collaboration with the consultancy firm INNOVADE, and with the support of the European Integration Fund and the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus, undertook during the period of January-June 2013 the project “Research on educators’ perceptions and behaviors on issues pertaining to Third Country Nationals (TCNs) and suggestions for improving TCNs’ integration in the local society”.
The project involved a first-of-its-kind nationwide research, which aimed to investigate the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of educators in primary, secondary, and tertiary level educational institutions in Cyprus regarding TCNs.
The research followed a mixed-methods design with the combination of quantitative research (the completion of questionnaires by 1465 educators) and qualitative research (25 interviews and 3 focus groups). Based on their experience, educators were asked to express their attitudes and views regarding TCNs, as well as pedagogical practices that they apply in order to help the integration of TCNs in the educational environment in Cyprus. The research aimed to provide recommendations and good practices that could improve both the integration policies of TCNs in the local society and the integration of TCNs’ children in the educational system in Cyprus.
The results of the research, which were presented at a press conference in Nicosia, Cyprus on June 26, 2013, revealed that educators have ambivalent attitudes towards TCNs on a number of issues.
Regarding their perceptions on issues related to TCNs and education, half of the participants believe that the presence of TCNs in the classroom is important and has a positive contribution. They also believe that the presence of TCNs enriches the learning environment, which is appropriate for the integration of TCNs. A little more than two thirds of the educators indicated that they are not satisfied with the integration policies of TCNs and that the educational system in Cyprus is not ready to accept TCNs. Regarding their pedagogical practices, a little more than half of the participants reported that their teaching accomodates each student’s cultural background and that they differentiate their lessons in order to aid TCNs be better integrated in the classroom. However, three quarters of the participants pointed out that they do not use the TCNs’ mother tongue in their teaching and that they are not satisfied with the pedagogical practices that exist and which relate to TCNs’ integration. Finally, the vast majority of the participants mentioned that there are not enough training opportunities on intercultural education offered by the relevant governmental bodies, and that they are not provided with teaching material that is based on practices, which could help the integration of TCNs.
Suggestions for improving the integration of TCNs included the need for formulating a holistic approach to TCNs’ integration, formative evaluation of their integration, and the need to adjust integration practices based on the local needs of each educational institution.
For further information on the project please, please contact CARDET at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the photo: Ms. Christina Hadjeconomou ,Solidarity Fund / Ministry of Interior
Information provided by Charalambos Vrasidas, CARDET