The Tübingen Intercultural Network for Parents’ Education (INET for short) will receive a total of 25,398 euros in funding from the state for its “INET in Kitas” project in 2023 and 2024. The state Ministry for Social Affairs, Health and Integration has already funded this project in 2021 and 2022. The INET network was founded in 2010. It aims to “improve educational and participation opportunities for migrant people.” More than 160 volunteers work with INET. One of them is Oula Mahfouz, an editorial member of tünews INTERNATIONAL.
Oula Mahfouz knows both sides of the education system. She was a teacher in Syria. The Tübingen native is also the mother of five children. She knows from her own experience how a daycare center, an elementary school, a community school or a high school in Baden-Württemberg work and what questions move parents. But during the intensive training sessions on five Saturdays to become an INET parent companion (also called a multiplier), Oula Mahfouz has learned even more: “There’s always something new.”
Since 2011, around 160 volunteers have qualified as INET parent guides. 25 languages are thus represented. After training on the topic of daycare centers, the multipliers can answer all questions from the registration process to settling-in models and language support to cooperation with parents. They can also provide information about the school system, the tasks and function of the parents’ council and the transitions to secondary schools. Parents have many questions, according to the volunteers’ experience. The parent guides receive a fee of 10 euros per hour for their work.
The volunteers translate, for example, during conversations between teachers and parents. Sometimes it is a question of whether a child should change from the previous school to another type of school. The parent guides know the school system in Baden-Württemberg and all the technical terms. They have learned in the INET training how many different paths there are to the desired educational goal.
Oula Mahfouz is also involved in the parent café with coffee and cake at the Tübingen Hügelschule. There and at other cooperating schools, two representatives from INET and two teachers are present as contact persons in a relaxed atmosphere. Parents can bring their children. The parents find this offer good. The contact persons always receive positive feedback.
At the course “Mothers in Conversation—Active!” in the Brückenhaus, the Tübingen native also translated—for example, when a specialist from the Job Center was a guest there. Some participants can already understand some things. “But they don’t yet dare to ask in German,” is Oula Mahfouz’s experience.
Much more information about the INET project and contact with coordinator Lâle Tipieser can be found at https://www.tuebingen.de/inet. Links to leaflets on issues concerning daycare centers and schools can be found in various languages at https://www.tuebingen.de/inet#/3612. The press release from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs on the funding is available online at https://sozialministerium.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/service/presse/pressemitteilung/pid/land-unterstuetzt-interkulturelle-elternmentoren-programme-rund-660000-euro.
Platanenallee in Richtung der Stiftskirche. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL/Mostafa Elyasian.