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There is a lot of pressure on our education and our labor market. Due to ever faster changes in technology and in the world around us, continuous content renewal of our education is essential to give children the best education for the future. The theme of internationalisation is becoming increasingly important in this context. And this is not just about learning foreign languages - starting with English. It is also about world citizenship; 'how can we better understand the world and each other'. These (21st century) skills are needed in all jobs; now and in the future. From the baker in Best to the engineer at Philips. We can see that universities of applied sciences and universities of applied sciences are already working hard on this. But we also see that extra attention is needed from childcare, primary education, secondary education and senior secondary vocational education.

Internationalisation in Brainport Eindhoven 

In Brainport Eindhoven there is an enormous increase in the number of international knowledge workers. This growth is mainly due to increasing shortages of a growing number of profiles on our own labor market, with tech and IT as the most important examples. In order to be able to fill vacancies quickly, we are recruiting more and more internationals. This is no longer only done by large companies, but also increasingly by SMEs. We see that this group of internationals has changed in recent years. Where people used to stay for up to three or four years and then left again, they now stay longer. Whereas in the past people used to come alone or with a partner, more and more families are now emerging. They have partly different expectations in terms of facilities.

There are two conclusions that form the core of the vision 'We are the Future', written at the end of 2016:

  • Continuous innovation in our education is necessary, also with regard to the theme of internationalisation; 

  • The supply of international local education (in addition to the International School Eindhoven) for the rapidly growing group of international knowledge workers must be improved. 

We are the Future   

The vision We are the Future is formulated as follows: "Within 5 years, all schools in the Brainport region have embedded internationalisation in their policies as part of a broader Brainport education vision and this has been translated into activities in collaboration with multi-helix partners." The focus is on child care, primary education (pe), secondary education (se) and secondary vocational education (mbo). By internationalisation we mean:

Language skills

Language proficiency in one or more foreign languages is a basic prerequisite for being able to function in international contexts. English is a world language and, as a result, the most important language in science, business and industry. In addition to English, other foreign languages such as French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese are also important. In addition to English, children of international parents also need mother-tongue education and Dutch (NT2).

World citizenship

Cultural awareness is about knowledge of other countries and cultures. The willingness to immerse oneself in the people of these countries and cultures and to give meaning to cultural practices. This strengthens the capacity for international reflection. The potential impact of events elsewhere can be translated by pupils and teachers into their own environment and vice versa. This allows them to understand the different cultural perspectives.

Intercultural communication and cooperation skills

International cooperation goes beyond understanding cultural diversity. It is also about taking this diversity into account and building relationships of trust in various collaborations. It includes the ability to reflect on communication styles and to adapt one's own style to the environment and background of the cooperation partners. 

How do we work on this with Brainport Development?

In order to support internationalisation in the region, we are focusing on the following areas: 

 

Meeting the educational needs of internationals

Expats, international knowledge workers, migrant workers and status holders have specific educational needs. The educational needs of children from this target group are also motivated by the desire to integrate into the local society. We see that these target groups are increasingly opting for regular Dutch education, but that they do have additional wishes with regard to language skills (English, NT2) and intercultural communication. We want to support the region in doing so.

 

Primary & secondary education approach

In order to (further) internationalise education in the region, a number of activities are required for primary and secondary education. These activities can be subdivided into: 

1. Specific activities:  

  • Regional coordinators give advice to individual schools on how to take concrete action and organise things

  • Professionalisation and training based on the specific context and needs of educational institutions 

2. Generic activities:  

  • International cooperation: five pre-university and three mbo schools start with a cooperation pilot with the Spanish Basque Country with the aim of structurally promoting mutual world citizenship

  • Events and workshops that deal with themes that all educational institutions can concretely work with. 

  • Professionalisation and training on generic topics such as language skills, world citizenship and intercultural communication and cooperation 

Childcare approach

In the childcare sector, employees have noticed that an increasing number of children from internationals are among their customers. In order to meet the needs of this group as well, we are investing in the further internationalisation of the training of pedagogical staff members/educational assistants. In addition, we will also invest in the level of English and the 'cultural awareness' of the pedagogical staff.

Mbo approach

It is important for all future employees that they are 'internationally competent'. This requires the mbo to invest in the internationalisation of their programmes, for example by offering English language or bilingual programmes, but also by improving the intercultural cooperation skills of the students.