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The IKAN project is a project where higher education students of the consortium of Antwerp University and Colleges (AUHA) voluntarily assist Newly Arrived Immigrant (including Refugee) Children with their studies in secondary education. This project aims to respond to the large increase of Newly Arrived Immigrant Children in Flemish education in recent years.
After a maximum of 1 year in reception classes (i.e. OKAN: reception classes for foreign-speaking newcomers), newly arrived immigrant students continue to regular education. This transition is often difficult. Only a small part of the foreign-speaking newcomers who started in OKAN eventually receives a secondary education diploma. With the name IKAN (referring to I Can) the project wants to emphasize that newly arrived immigrant children can have a successful education career, when provided with the right support.
Students affiliated to the AUHA engage voluntarily as a tutor. They accompany newcomers and refugees in the 2nd and 3rd grade full-time secondary education (general, technical, vocational and arts education). The guidance is offered on a weekly basis for 1 semester. They come together in small groups (min 2 - max 3) and support Dutch language and study skills. The meetings take place after school hours and last for 75 to 90 minutes. They take place in the school. This is mainly done through exercises Dutch, cross-border homework guidance and preparation, and review of tests. The small group and the informal atmosphere also supports the growth of newly arrived immigrant students’ motivation and self-confidence. The weekly contact between student and tutor also means that the tutor often becomes a trusted person and role model for these students and that the threshold for enrolling in higher education themselves is to be reduced.
In the spring of 2017, the pilot phase of the IKAN project was evaluated. The evaluation showed that the IKAN project has many added value for both the tutors and the tutees. The tutees can follow their classes more easily, understand the study material better and increase their Dutch language skills. In terms of self-confidence and motivation, the tutees also grew throughout the process. The tutors regard IKAN as an important learning process in terms of social and coaching skills and as an interesting eye-opener in terms of diversity and mechanisms of poverty and exclusion. As the IKAN project was proven to be successful, this project continued and was expanded in the school year 2017-2018.
Main objectives of the project:
• Support language proficiency in Dutch
• Cross-disciplinary homework guidance and preparation of tests
• Learning of study skills
• Increase student motivation and self-confidence
• To provide a gateway for inclusion in society (media, leisure, ...)
• Affinity with higher education and developing a realistic future perspective
• New social contacts (tutor as role model, friend, teacher, ...)
• Facilitate and support the work of the teachers
• Increase social and coaching skills, social awareness of tutors
- IKAN Project