A holistic approach to education: Danish folk high schools and refugees

Fri 18 Nov 2016 08:45:00 AM EET

EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2016. As the numbers of refugees seeking help in Europe are still on the rise, Danish folk high schools prove they can offer a holistic introduction to a new society. With years of experience and a large network, the Association of Danish Folk High Schools (FFD) gives an insight into what makes integration of young refugees successful.

The article series shares good practices by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2016.

The Association of Danish Folk High Schools (FFD) argues that folk high schools frequently offer the safest environment for learning, one that provides guidance on education and employment. The extensive network of FFD is a constant source of positive examples and a reminder that effective integration of refugees requires the involvement of different stakeholders.

The three success factors

To make sure that each refugee receives continuous support and personalized guidance, FFD provides funding for a mentoring programme. The mentor looks after students between 17 and 25 years of age and oversees their contacts with a social worker. FFD also provides assistance in establishing collaborations with municipalities, local authorities and humanitarian organisations. Such collaborations have already proved to be fruitful: the mandatory three-year integration programme often leads refugees to folk high schools.

Alongside the personalized approach to learning and the wide network of collaborators, FFD lists one more success factor. As young refugees live at the premises of the school, their housemates include Danish students. Such living arrangements offer not only a constant exposure to the Danish language, but also an opportunity to befriend more people and create a social network.

While no organization holds the ultimate recipe for successful integration of refugees, the example of FFD shows how certain aspects have a decisive factor over the learner’s wellbeing and comfort.

The project: Danish folk high schools and refugees

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Resources:

Text: Aleksandra Kozyra
Photos: The Association of Danish Folk High Schools (FFD)