Educating migrants and refugees worldwide

As people move to seek out economic opportunities or to flee persecution, the communities receiving them respond by creating barriers or by offering welcome and support. And much of the response takes place in schools.

UNESCO’s new Global Education Monitoring Report explores the many ways that migration, both within and between countries, interacts with the education systems in the communities involved. In the Foreword, Helen Clark, Chair of the GEM Report Advisory Board, observes that:

education is not only a moral obligation of those in charge of it, but also is a practical solution to many of the ripples caused by moving populations. It must be, and should always have been, a key part of the response to migration and displacement.

The authors describe how countries are bringing refugees and immigrants into their education systems and identifies some of the barriers to education that migrants face. These include:

  • Education systems that nominally include immigrants but segregate them into lower-level tracks.
  • Legal restrictions prevent migrant children from enrolling in or attending school.
  • Differing levels of education expectations in home countries versus host countries.
  • Detention programs the prevent asylum seekers from accessing education.
  • Isolation of refugees and lack of resources for education.

This comprehensive report includes data on overall migration trends, as well as examples of how specific countries have attempted to provide schooling for the new members of their communities.

Source: UNESCO. (2018). Global Education Monitoring Report 2019: Migration, displacement, and education — Building bridges, not walls. Paris: UNESCO.

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