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GATES OF VIENNA: THE JOYS OF A MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION…….

Posted by paulipoldie on September 28, 2010

When the idea is to integrate into the local culture, immigration, regardless of the background proceeds rather smoothly in spite of all the initial bumps in the road. Speaking as an immigrant to Finland, the TT can attest to the difficulties, but nothing is impossible if there’s determination and the will to accept the host state’s culture and and at least most of its values.
Here’s a story from the GOV’s own correspondent in Austria, AMT, concerning the “experience of ordinary Austrian parents with the much-touted advantages of Multiculturalism in primary education.” AMT offers a window on the stark, noticeable differences between immigrant groups, according to their desire to accept Austrian society.
One group of immigrants are in desperate demand for interpreters so that teachers can communicate with their children in school, while the other group of immigrants already have children fully fluent in the Austrian-German language, with no ‘language’ problems at all. KGS


NOTE: Same problem here in Finland as well.

The Joys of a Multicultural Education

by AMT

There is cultural enrichment and there is Cultural Enrichment. To explain this, my friend told me the following story:

Vienna is the city of multiculturalism in the old, positive sense. It was a melting pot, heartily inviting those who wanted to settle in this city in order to work, enrich it — again, in the old meaning of the word — and a great majority of them did. “They” being Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians, refugees from neighboring countries when Communism was at its most threatening. The war in Balkans altered this enrichment dramatically: in the 1990s, the face of Vienna started to change. It wasn’t yet noticeable except by the most watchful people. And this is when Cultural Enrichment began. Crime rates roared, as did rape rates and “honor” murders.
My friend told me this story because her daughter, Marie, started first grade a couple of weeks ago. Marie cannot attend the public school near her house ever since her mother — on her way out from the voting booth located in a first grade classroom — saw that school children were taught Arabic. As a result, Marie’s parents chose a nearby Catholic school, which charges a hefty €145 a month, but which, according to the headmistress, does not accept non-Christians, with miniscule exceptions made for atheists.


Imagine my friend’s surprise when on the first day of school she heard the names of Marie’s classmates during roll call. Imagine also her surprise when she heard some of the parents talking with their children. The languages she heard included English, French, and Dutch. Henry’s parents are from Connecticut; Viktoria’s mom is from Texas, her father from Germany; Lily’s parents are Dutch. This is what she calls enriching: Viktoria is sitting next to Marie, thus allowing Marie to practice her English. Viktoria’s German is flawless. And this is what separates cultural enrichment from Cultural Enrichment: some these kids may be considered “immigrants”, but they speak the local language, as do their parents, and this allows the teacher to teach the curriculum without any “language” problems.

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