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Taking care of diversity: the case of AMA
Bogaert, I. (2015). Taking care of diversity: the case of AMA, in: Gómez Chova, L. et al. (Ed.) EDULEARN 2015. 7th international conference on education and new learning technologies, Barcelona (Spain), 6th-8th of July, 2015. pp. 7389-7393
In: Gómez Chova, L. et al. (Ed.) (2015). EDULEARN 2015. 7th international conference on education and new learning technologies, Barcelona (Spain), 6th-8th of July, 2015. IATED Academy: [s.l.]. ISBN 978-84-606-8243-1. lxvii, 8450 pp., meer

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Documenttype: Congresbijdrage

Author keywords
    diversity; higher education; nautical training; values; standards;intercultural communication; language; multilingualism

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    The diversity issue, defined as 'how to attract disadvantaged young people to higher education and how to make them stay in higher education' is hot in some higher education institutions in Belgium/Flanders these days. At Antwerp Maritime Academy (AMA) the issue has a specific interpretation and has been realized in a particular way. How does AMA deal with diversity in its student population? At AMA the learning environment is characterized by two main factors: 1. working towards/along Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers and 2. functioning/acting in a 'mind set' of cooperation. The STCW act as a foundation on which curricula at AMA are constructed. Safety is a big item there. Secondly, participants in educational programmes at AMA function in a mind set of cooperation and collaboration (as opposed to individual orientation). Curricula act upon this feature in two ways: courses that stress communication and courses on languages such as Maritime English. From years of working along these lines we draw three types of conclusions. One, if they take a point of view in favour of education, young disadvantaged can get attracted to higher education. Apart from this warm feeling for it, sufficient financial resources must be at hand too, of course. Flemish/Belgian government takes great measures of financial support. Second, respect appears to be a major issue: in a diverse student population at AMA it is possible to work towards externally imposed standards, on the condition that students acquire skills and attitudes of mutual respectful acting towards team members and commanders. Third, the road from language development toward a fitting place in the job market is another interesting issue. As English is one of the main languages at sea and ashore, this language needs to be taught in a very profound way so as to make students familiar with the jargon as quickly as possible. Just offering some examples from our specific educational programmes, the audience/readers can decide about the usefulness/relevance of these examples when confronted with diversity questions in higher education themselves.

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