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.