Educational responses to immigrant students in Madrid
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SourceIntercultural Education, 18.3, pp.207-213
During the last few years, changes in the Spanish educational system have had a far reaching impact. Several factors have been critical: (1) the progressive decentralization of education by the government, now a responsibility of regional governments; (2) the extension of compulsory education to the age of 16; and finally (3) the increase in the number of immigrant students, which has significantly added to the existing cultural diversity. The enrolment of immigrant students in Spanish schools is a relatively recent phenomenon (starting 15 years ago) when compared with other European countries. Madrid is the region in Spain with the largest number of students. As most of these students were born outside of Spain, we cannot yet speak of a second generation. The research described here investigated how the educational system in Madrid confronted the challenge of an increasing number of immigrant students. The institutional response was the Madrid Regional Government’s Compensatory Education Regional Plan. This encompasses several measures, which are described here. After a critical analysis of educational policies pertaining to immigrant pupils, the paper suggests ways of overcoming a purely compensatory approach. Intercultural education plays a key role is such considerations.