Why is multicultural education required
Intercultural education should enable people to deal constructively with cultural diversity. The associated learning processes aim at mutual understanding and appreciation of cultural otherness, an enriching change of perspective as an extension of one's own perception and a tolerant interaction with one another. Such an attitude helps to prevent or reduce discrimination and to support equality. Intercultural education lays the foundation for living together peacefully in a culturally diverse society with mutual respect. (1)
In doing so, it makes a significant contribution in dealing with diversity and in the integration of immigrants in a multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious immigration society. Cultural diversity offers great potential and opportunities for a society, but it also harbors the risk of mutual isolation and profound conflicts. Against this background, intercultural education is becoming more and more important for all members of society. It is to be understood as a task for society as a whole. (2)
But intercultural education is also becoming increasingly important against the background of globalization and digitization, as there are more and more intercultural contacts, be it in a private or professional context, at home or abroad, on the Internet or in personal encounters. Intercultural skills can be seen as a key qualification in the 21st century because they enable people to act effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations. Intercultural competencies include knowledge and experience of other cultures, empathy for other people as well as critical handling and reflection on one's own images and prejudices against other cultures and people. It is important to have a generally positive attitude towards intercultural encounters and to question one's own cultural background. (3)
As an integral part of education, intercultural education plays an essential role in all forms of education and learning worlds. Civic engagement offers special potential for intercultural understanding, as it enables direct participation in cultural processes and represents an important field of activity for community activities in order to experience the exchange of cultural values and forms of expression in practice. (2) Intercultural encounters are also of great importance for intercultural learning, such as international events for people from different cultures, cross-border cooperation in a professional context, student exchange programs and study visits by students in other countries.
Important places for intercultural education are cultural institutions and institutions of cultural education, such as youth art schools and cultural educational institutions, but also educational institutions of numerous other actors, such as foundations or associations. The school as an institution is of particular importance because it reaches all children and young people with its offers. Intercultural education can be embedded in artistic school subjects, but also in other subjects such as ethics and religion. The focus should be on appreciating and dealing with the diversity of cultures and traditions. The promotion of multilingualism is also an essential part of intercultural education. Targeted training and further education of the educational staff in intercultural competencies as well as the development and implementation of new educational concepts for dealing with diversity are indispensable. An intercultural school development is a common task of all school actors in cooperation with parents and extracurricular actors, such as cultural associations, foundations or migrant organizations. (4)
In immigration countries, which are characterized by cultural diversity, the "intercultural opening" of the administration is of great importance in order to support the integration of immigrants. This includes regular intercultural training for employees, but intercultural competence must also be anchored in the structures of the administration and integrated into general administrative activities (such as planning or control). (5)
This term describes one of the fields of action of the partners in the Foundations and Education network (see Nettie Finder).
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