The European Commission has just published a new study on the diversity within the teaching profession with regard to migrant and/or minority background. Although data is limited, teaching staff with migrant and minority backgrounds are underrepresented compared to the actual diversity of learners in many European countries.
The study identifies and analyses the existing statistical data, explores the prevalence of the different barriers to teacher diversity, maps the policies and initiatives implemented across Europe and examines the evidence on the effectiveness of the policies.
Why we need to act?
The teaching profession should reflect the diversity of society. This is because:
- We cannot afford limiting the pool of candidates for teaching by effectively excluding a large share of the population and wasting potential talent (especially in light of staff shortages and a decline of interest in teaching careers)
- Working for equal access to the profession is a matter of equity
- Teaching is a highly visible profession, and young people benefit from a diverse teaching force with a range of role models (this will also help fight stereotypes);
What to do
We therefore need to promote a more diverse teaching force and eliminate obstacles for under-represented groups, including migrants, to enter teacher education and the profession (and stay).
The bigger picture
Increasing teacher diversity is desirable, but must be part of a wider strategy to help schools address increasing diversity in the classroom (this must involve targeting all teachers and their practice).
The current refugee crisis
In countries with large numbers of newly arrived migrants and refugees, there is an interest in involving qualified teachers from among these groups (the Study gives some pointers, e.g. on the recognition of diplomas)
The study was written by Vicki Donlevy, Anja Meierkord and Aaron Rajania (Ecorys).