With the support of the Government Communication Office, teachers of primary and secondary schools and high schools received multimedia educational material on migration and refugees. The toolkit was designed and produced by the non-governmental organization APIS Institute in cooperation with Slovenska Filantropija and ZRC SAZU. This is the first toolkit developed for teachers since the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2015. Teachers rated it positively and the first experience registered among the students confirmed its suitability and quality. Also, teachers who participated in the training expressed APIS Institute the wish of deploying similar material for the youngest primary school students.

“When the refugee crisis began, we did not have anything in our hands, we only had anxious students”

said one of the participants during the training for teachers.

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In response to past events and the spread of hate speech and intolerance, APIS Institute from Ljubljana has produced materials to be used by teachers as part of their regular programs or optional classes. The first group of teachers will use the toolkit during Geography, History, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology and Slovene classes. It will also be included in optional content classes about family, peace and non-violence education. Additionally, teachers will also be presenting some parts of the toolkit material within the thematic days or camps organized by the school.

At APIS Institute, we designed the toolkit in such a way that students can become aware of emigration of Slovenes, immigration into Slovenia and the reasons underlying these choices, as well as the challenges posed by integration. Everything will be conducted over a timespan of three hours. During the concluding session, students will become acquainted with concepts such as “refugee” and “international protection”. The toolkit includes educational videos, first-person accounts and archival material. It also contains exercises based on non-formal learning methods to be carried out by teachers with their students during every session. The multimedia material will enable students to identify themselves with personal stories and, through non-formal exercises, invite them to participate in the learning process and constructively self-reflect using an artistic approach. The material was created in cooperation with experts: the pediatrician, child psychiatrist and humanitarian dr. Anica Mikuš Kos, as well as the sociologist and scientific adviser at the Institute for Slovenian Emigration and Migration ZRC SAZU dr. Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik. The expert on Human Rights and Asylum Law, dr. Neža Kogovšek Šalamon contributed to conceptual clarity in the field of international protection.

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“We have found that since the media referred to migrants and refugees in a negative way, schools had no tools available to address intolerance and hate speech in classes. Also, we found that they encountered intolerance both in classes and within teacher collectives “, said the project manager at APIS Institute Neva Danaja Pirc.

30 teachers from Ljubljana, Postojna, Idrija, Kranj, Ptuj, Jesenice, Murska Sobota and Celje participated in the first training period. The trainings will continue, as the material is included in the catalogue of further education and training programs for education and training professionals (i.e. KATIS) of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. They are one of the priority topics of vocational training programs for the inclusion of diversity.

On the initiative of the training participants in Postojna, APIS Institute will organize an evaluation meeting of all those who will use the toolkit at the end of the school year 2018/2019. Participants expressed the need for a shared exchange of experiences and information that could contribute to a more objective view of migration, respond to the challenges of integrating immigrant students and refugees, and address hate speech and intolerance among pupils.

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Through this toolkit, APIS Institute contributes to the sensitization of younger generations and provide a broader view of the multicultural society.

A short movie from the Refugee Unit can be seen here.

The project is co-financed by the Government Communication Office in the framework of efforts to respect and integrate members of various ethnic groups, refugees and migrants.

Responses of participants:
“Everything is useful.”
“Quality material.”
“This seminar is absolutely not a waste of time.”
“It’s great that something like that started. When the refugee crisis began, we had nothing in our hands, only ragged students. “
“Students quickly soak in the information of intolerance from the media. What the media did (during the refugee crisis) is unforgivable”.
“We have to start in this area (with migration education, op. Av.). Now. So that if immigration happens to us, we are technically ready. “

Student responses:
“During these three hours, I became acquainted with the concepts of migration. Some things are interesting, others not. I have come across some examples of migrants who came for a better life or who were persecuted.”

“We learned to respect the refugees and economic migrants, even though we might have not even looked at them before. We were put in the shoes of people who cross the borders for a better life and realize that such a life is difficult. We have seen some concrete examples of people fleeing their homeland from danger. We also learned that there is very few refugees with real refugee status and that have to comply with certain regulations. Because of the knowledge we received, I really enjoyed these hours. I would not improve anything. “

“I mainly liked working in groups and watching films that were beautifully showing the situation of refugees and migrants. The presentation was fine, because it was awesome and good to listen to. In the morning, it was good, because we learned some new terms and because it was different from the usual school day.”

“Working in groups is pretty good. Videos should be more targeted at migrants rather than giving an explanation of the situation in Slovenia.”

My range of refugee knowledge is not wide. Like everyone else, I had prejudices against refugees and immigrants. Three school hours were not enough, but they helped me understand the wider picture, the causes of migration and their distress, and helped me get rid of certain prejudices. I liked real stories, too.”

“The idea of ​​the very theme seems great to me, because people need to get acquainted with this “taboo”. The whole course was great for me, especially working in groups and developing an individual opinion. I liked the comparison with the films and examples of stories, as this also helped the “small-minded” to develop a different view of the whole situation.”

“I liked that we had to think about what we would do, if we found ourselves in such a situation. The real stories of people who experienced this experience (emigration, immigration) on their own skin also helped.”

“I believe that all residents should be aware of what is happening elsewhere in the world. Ask yourself why foreigners came to Slovenia and why they are often not equally greeted on the streets. In short, I think it was instructive, and each lecture gives people a lot to think about.”

Material for kindergartens and the first triad of primary school
The talks with the participants in the training encouraged the experts dr. Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik and dr. Anica Mikuš Kos to spread this material as soon as possible among young people. They even suggested that the toolkit is adjusted to be used for children in kindergartens and school pupils of the first triad of primary school.

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