ECHO, Expertise Center for Diversity Policy
Who are we?
Stichting ECHO is a center of knowledge and expertise on diversity policy. It was one of the national initiatives of the Ministry of Education Culture and Science and the associations of higher education in the Netherlands in 1994, to improve study success in education, more employment at the labotr market and to enhance empowerment and social mobility of Dutch citizens with a non-western background (migrants, children of migrants and refugees). This all should lead to a more inclusive society where all Dutch citizens develop and feel a sense of belonging. From 2003 ECHO is an independent not for profit organization that develops programmes and provides services and training to public and private organizations in- and outside of the Netherlands, on issues related to diversity & inclusion in education and the transition to the labour market. The methodology developed by ECHO to realize its objectives were implemented through project activities at universities in the first place and more and more in secondary and primary education as well. We have introduced models of good practice of international partners and deliverables from EU projects to Dutch universities. This is an on-going process through conferences, study tours and cooperation with colleges and universities abroad. We have been and are part of EU funded projects and are involved as one of the partners in the GAPS initiative (Global Access to Postsecondary Education initiative http://www.gaps-education.org). Furthermore ECHO challenges itself within a continuously changing society to direct itself to present a positive image of Dutch students with a non-western background by revealing their talent through the ECHO Foundation. From 2001 until now every year all universities in the Netherlands are invited to nominate students for an ECHO Award. ECHO awards are given to students with a non-western background who not only excel academically but are also active at their universities and even more important, in society.
Why we are Participating in the Project
The main activities and experience of ECHO relevant to the current project Partnerships for Digital Education Readiness are:
• Organising seminars and conferences in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Employment and municipalities
• Coordination of the Students-4-Students campaign, 27 projects with HE institutions in the Netherlands, funded by the ministry of Education
• Maintaining TLC, a digital Teaching and Learning Center with innovative practices and knowledge to enhance diversity and inclusive in education (www.echo-tlcenter.nl)
• ECHO Masterclass on Inclusive Excellence for Dutch educators with a focus on theory and practice related to Super Diversity, Critical Race Theory, Critical Pedagogy, Micro
Agressions and Stereotyping
• ECHO Junior Academy, children’s university for migrant and underrepresented youth, developed to better inform and prepare, children with a migrant background and refugee children on the education system. Organised in collaboration with city councils, schools, universities, community organisations and ECHO Ambassadors
• ECHO Mentor Programme for almost or just graduated migrant students in collaboration with public organisations and corporation
• ECHO Award for students with a migrant background who excel academically and are active in civic engagement. This initiative is supported by businesses, government, city councils and universities
• Collaboration with HEI partners in the urban area in the Netherlands. Approximately 70% of all students with a non-western migrant background in the Netherlands study at these HEIs
• Advice to and collaboration with the Ministry of Education on diversity and inclusion in education. Specifically, with the department of HE, the Equal Opportunities Alliance and the Chief Diversity Officer
• Advice to and collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment on diversity and inclusion at the labour market.
Our Role in the Project
ECHO is lead partner in charge of developing Awareness Raising Tool. The tool helps teachers explore their own identity and positionality, based on the premise that teachers are not neutral outsiders to the students’ learning process, but are part of the classroom dynamics.
The incorporation of the development of an awareness-raising tool into our project is a key differentiator from other approaches towards digital innovation. As a digital guided journey to
be individually taken by educators, the tool will allow them to:
• examine their abilities and competences for inclusion and identify areas for upskilling
• formulate a deeper understanding of what inclusion means within the context of their specific classroom, considering the unique diversity of students and their backgrounds
• reflect on their own identity and their positionality with respect to their students, with the aim of better integrating themselves into their own classrooms