What is Bridge-IT about?
Increasing migrations into the EU raise the question of the potential of ICTs for promoting the integration of migrants and cultural diversity in Europe. The participation of immigrants and ethnic minorities (henceforth IEM) in the information society is in fact one of the explicit goals set by the Riga Ministerial declaration on digital inclusion, in order to increase their possibilities for integration and social inclusion, creativity and economic participation.
Pioneer initiatives have already been started throughout Europe over the last few years, but they are usually isolated, still poorly known and do not often involve stakeholders that might be interested in them and might contribute to their development. Therefore, there is a need for a “bridging” thematic network.
Specific issues that are addressed
Partner will mainly concentrate on existing initiatives and unexploited opportunities to further exploit the potential of ICT for social integration of immigrants and cultural diversity. A specific emphasis will be put on the organizational aspects in terms of identification and
adequate participation of all the relevant actors of the value chain (public authorities, IT providers, NGOS, immigrant organizations, etc).
Three working groups of the Bridge-IT Thematic Network will explore the three following topics/challenges and first experiences
which have addressed them.
1- ICT for new immigrants early education and for life long learning in a multicultural Europe.
How can eLearning and ICT applications for education facilitate immigrant’s education? How can they help teaching in an increasingly multicultural environment? ICTs in education are supposed to promote more personalized learning pathways, adapt to specific learning
/teaching needs, etc. Therefore, Bridge -T first working group will more specifically pay attention to the following issues:
- to what extend can ICT support IEM learners and pedagogical teams to overcome specific language and cultural barriers?
- How can ICT help IEM learners adapt to and understand the school culture of the hosting country?
- How can ICT make IEM learners more familiar with citizenship in Europe?
- How can ICT help pedagogical teams take better into account the diversity of cultural identities? How can education in new media improve the involvement and knowledge of IEM to participate more actively in these more and more technological society?
Initiatives have been taken in the primary education and secondary education with new migrants but also within the vocational training, non formal and adult education and higher education.
2- ICT for labour market integration of the immigrants and their participation to the economy
The focus here will address specifically how can ICT contribute to:
- re-skilling and re-qualification for best integrating immigrants into the labour market, this leads to look at good practices in employment and training projects;
- (electronic) one-stop-shop employment and job search/matching services, addressing specifically immigrants' needs and conditions, as well as employers' concerns in this area; ICT here might also contribute to bridge across social groups and help to fight
discrimination in recruitment and at work;
- business start up and new entrepreneurship support programs that are developed around the traditions and/or previous and new skills owned by immigrants; but also in the ICT /information society sector itself
- access to finance and banking services which can support entrepreneurial activities, but also other typical immigrants' needs (e.g remittances to the home country).
3- ICT, empowerment of civil society, social capital and cultural diversity
What are the specific role and value of ICTs for social-capital building and for immigrants/immigrants groups empowerment? Empowerment of civil society and social capital are needed as levers if one wishes to progress in most of the above mentioned areas.
- How can migrants organizations - or organizations that work with migrants –make a better use of the potential of ICTs, especially for overcoming specific barriers (distance, language, scarce economic resources)?
- How to better relate initiatives taken by IEM themselves or the organizations that work with them with potentially relevant public and private stakeholders in the European host countries?
- How to improve the capacity of the public institutions, IT providers, NGOs, etc to understand immigrants needs for integration, be able to adopt multicultural approaches and to be open to IEM's ICT initiatives and be able to cooperate with them.
- How to find a good balance between ICT for bonding social capital (consolidation of communities ties) and ICT for bridging social capital (capacity to relate with other communities and the hosting country)?
These questions raise the issue of the access, accessibility and acquisition of basic or advance e-skills by the immigrants, but also that of their involvement in the governance of more inclusive policies and the role that ICT can have in this process.
Bridge-IT aims at:
- Raising awareness among relevant stakeholders on the potential of ICT for social integration and cultural diversity, but also on the need to develop projects in this field targeting immigrants or organizations who deal with immigrants on a daily basis
- Facilitating the encounter and better understanding among the key players of the value chain be at a national or European level.
- Providing key players with a better vision and first tools on how to improve / deploy at a larger scale their own activities, or on how to duplicate initiatives coming from other countries.
- Promoting the development of better and more accessible ICT solutions, services, contents that can contribute to the social integration of immigrants and to cultural diversity in Europe.
- Developing policy recommendations based on the several output