Fond of Difference and Critical of Discrimination: The Challenges Facing Educational Institutions in a Multiethnic Society

Report on a Talk by Professor Paul Mecheril

Many schools and other educational institutions want to adapt to heterogeneity and become more accepting of difference. In view of their students’ differing biographical and educational backgrounds, the large number of languages they speak, and the plurality of cultures that form and evolve in multiethnic societies, these schools are currently facing major challenges. In addition, the high level of inequality in society – caused in part by national, ethnic, and cultural power relations – makes it imperative to adopt an anti-discriminatory perspective on diversity. This talk introduced approaches from the field of migration pedagogy and deliberately did not dwell on students of foreign descent or their parents.

In most cases, the widespread focus on target groups is based on the idea of providing additional support to individual students in order to help them overcome their deficiencies. However, this focus fails to meet two main requirements. First, the change that is necessary in the field of migration and education must be conceived and organized as a process of transforming educational institutions. Second, consideration must be given to all students and individuals in the education system, not only to those of foreign descent.

The talk was given by Professor Paul Mecheril from the University of Oldenburg. The subsequent discussion was led by Dr. Anja Durdel, Director of Programs and Communication at the German Children and Youth Foundation.


Dr. Diana Dressel
Head of Education Department
T +49 (0)30 259 93 515

Conference Documentation: Schools and Museums Conference Working Groups (19)

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