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Social networks report (pdf)

An Australian Research Council Linkage Project

Research Undertaken by:
The Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation (CCG), Deakin University and Monash University
In partnership with: Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and Australian Red Cross

Brief Review by Annabelle Leve

Study focuses on 587  respondents (15-23yrs old) in Brisbane and Melbourne from the following backgrounds:

  • African
  • Pacific Islander
  • Arabic-Speaking

with interesting rationales for these particular groups.  I found it interesting to be reading about the thoughts and opinions of these particular groups of young people because each of them represent less well documented immigrant experiences that Australia has a lot to learn about, and as per recommendations, in how to genuinely improve the “quality of services provided to Australian migrant youth to strengthen their sense of community belonging, social inclusion and general well-being” (2013:7).  And this certainly is relevant to education provision and general issues of respect and inclusion.

Some interesting findings that are clearly articulated in the executive summary suggest that although these groups share the same desire for cross-cultural engagement, they have quite different reasons for doing so.  Appeals and barriers also differed for the groups, relating to things such as intra-group and family obligations, experiences of racism and various forms of collective stereotyping and  discrimination.

Overall,  schooling and formal education comes out quite well, perhaps more so from the Melbourne participants than Brisbane.  Some of the recommendations I found particularly pertinent to education such as those in relation to family and community engagement, groups based on non-ethnic interests or themes, with encouragement for inclusion of Anglo-Australians ‘as a means to counter stereotypes’, and increasing collaboration with ‘places of worship and existing networks’ .

In direct relation to schooling, the key recommendation relates to increased collaboration, more culturally sensitive programs, and improved cultural diversity training.  (See excerpt below)

This study suggest that while in general young people
tended not to have problems with teachers and other school
staff, they still felt a constant need to ‘prove themselves’
in an environment where Australian values and ways of
learning were prioritised and where there was not much
opportunity to attend to their individual situations and needs
arising from their migrant or refugee backgrounds. High
school students from migrant backgrounds (the majority
of high school students in the sample were enrolled in
public state schools) would benefit from more culturally
sensitive programs and generally more supportive school
environment. To improve inclusion of CALD students within
schools additional diversity training could be facilitated
for staff and there could be more collaboration between
schools, service providers and government agencies.

The study outcomes show a disparity of participation in
school groups between Melbourne and Brisbane, with
high participation of African, Arabic-speaking and Pacific
Island students in school groups in Melbourne and a
much lower participation of young people from the three
groups in Brisbane.  […]  (2013:87)

Authors:

Chief Investigators Professor Fethi Mansouri, Professor Zlatko Skrbiš
Industry Partners: Steven Francis, Carmel Guerra, Soo-Lin Quek
Research team members: Melinda Chiment, Ameera Karimshah, Liudmila Kirpitchenko, Maša Mikola, Libby Effeney

ISBN: 978-0-646-90775-8
© 2013 Centre for Multicultural Youth

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