The school mediation service supports parents and students, especially with complaints about inclusion and staying in the school system. For school mediator Lis de Pina, the service launched five years ago has become an integral part of the education system.
When students risk dropping out of school, when specific needs are not met or when problems arise with the integration of immigrant children and young people, the national school mediation service (SMS) launched in 2018 can take care of the matter. We talked to school mediator Lis de Pina about her work of the past few years, a sometimes tense relationship with teachers or directorates and the outlook for the coming years.
Lëtzebuerger Journal: Lis de Pina, you have been Luxembourg's first school mediator for about five years. Are you still motivated?
Lis de Pina: Yes! In any case, I would like to fulfil this task until the end of my mandate (in two years, ed.).
What is your interim conclusion after five years of school mediation service?
There was a real need for a service that allows parents and students to have their concerns heard, to understand what has gone on in the procedure, where we stand, what we can offer in terms of solutions. It is a place of listening to be able to help parents and students in a targeted way, and inevitably the teaching staff as well. Because every conflict that can be resolved benefits them.
Statistics show that more and more people are turning to the SMS (see graph). Are you satisfied with the level of awareness of the contact point?
On the one hand, I would like to answer this question in the affirmative, because one can see a clear development over the past five years. On the other hand, I also say no because every matter that parents are coming with to us too late or not at all is a lost opportunity to support pupils. However, we are also aware that we cannot cover everything completely because we are also limited in our resources.
The school mediation service now has five full-time mediators in a team of nine. Is this enough to meet the growing demand?
(without hesitation) No, it is definitely not enough. Not only is the number of cases growing faster than our staff, but the issues are also much more emotionally charged than they were a few years ago, so they require our attention for a longer period of time.
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