By Victor Leclere, Jacobs Foundation Business Fellow
As the car winds alongside the Rhine river back
towards Zurich, I reflect on my personal outcomes from the Jacob’s Foundation
Conference on Education in Times of Increasing Cultural and Linguistic
Heterogeneity at Marbach Castle. The conference provided me with a unique
learning opportunity as a global citizen and healthcare professional.
The speakers presented research highlighting the
negative impact of resurging xenophobia, an enduring refugee crisis, and
outdated teaching methods on immigrant students’ education across Europe and
the United States. Despite these obstacles, the participants expressed optimism
for the future of immigrant pupils, identifying several promising practices to
create a supportive and personalized environment.
With every passing speaker, it became clearer that
education and healthcare, my sector of focus, face parallel challenges in
caring for an increasingly diverse population. Similar to the discourse
regarding healthcare providers today, the presenters highlighted the impact of
factors external to the education system and the importance of equipping
teachers with appropriate cultural attitudes. Although the response to these
challenges does not exist in a single solution, I remain hopeful that
incremental changes based on promising practices can improve the health and
education systems for all stakeholders.