10th December 2019
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  • 1:59 pm Apply for the Commonwealth Split Site Scholarship for Africans

The Sustainable Development Goal 4 is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” According to the 2019 Global Monitoring Report, the world is experiencing the biggest migration in history, from villages to cities and form one country to another. In recent years, countries have moved towards including immigrants and refugees in national education systems. As a result, many challenges are arising:

  • Refugees are crammed into slums, living nomadically or awaiting refugee status.
  • Teachers have to deal with multilingual classrooms and traumas affecting displaced students.  
  • Immigrants are nominally included but practically excluded in education systems. They may be kept in preparatory classes too long, for instance. Some countries separate students with lower academic ability, often those with immigrant backgrounds, into less demanding tracks, which compromises subsequent opportunities. Moroccan and Turkish second-generation immigrant students in Amsterdam were five time as likely as natives to enter lower secondary vocational tracks at age 12.
  • Immigrant children may advance relative to peers in home countries but lag behind peers in host countries. In the United States, children of immigrants from eight Latin American and Caribbean countries had 1.4 more years of education, on average, than those who had not emigrated. Yet their attainment and achievement often lagged behind those of host country peers.

Despite these challenges, countries are working towards inclusion:

Read more: calling on government to educate refugees and migrants

  • Among 21 high income countries, Australia and Canada had adopted multiculturalism in their curricula by 1980. By 2010, it had been adopted in Finland, Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden as well, and partly adopted in over two-thirds of the countries.
  • Historically, most governments provided parallel education to refugees, Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey shoulder substantial costs to ensure that Sudanese, Afghan, Syrian and other refugees attend school alongside nationals.
  • In the 2017 Djibouti Declaration on Regional Refugee Education, seven education ministers from eastern Africa committed to the inclusion of education for refugees and returnees into sector plans by 2020. Uganda has already fulfilled the promise.

All actors and stakeholders in the education sector must therefore work together to ensure that no-one is left behind including migrant and refugees.

Global Education Monitoring Report is “the mechanism for monitoring and reporting on SDG 4 and on education in the other SDGs”.

These facts and statistics have been culled from the 2019 Global Education Youth Report entitled Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges, not walls. Download the full report here

Ides Ofune

Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at info@desertbloomadvisory.com

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