UNESCO: Education systems need to enhance the inclusion of migrant and refugee children

UNESCO releases the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, Migration, displacement and education. It highlights countries’ achievements and shortcomings in ensuring the right of migrant and refugee children to benefit from quality education. It also addresses major barriers these children still face to access an inclusive education.

The report indicates that the number of migrant and refugee school-age children around the world today has grown by 26% since 2000 and could fill half a million classrooms.

There has been progress in the inclusion of refugees in national education systems, as seen in eight of the top ten refugee hosting countries. Chad, Ethiopia, Uganda, Canada and Ireland are among the global leaders in implementing inclusive education policies for immigrants. However, in the two years since the landmark New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, refugees have missed 1.5 billion days of school worldwide.

The share of students with immigrant backgrounds in high income countries has increased from 15% to 18% between 2005 and 2017, reaching 36 million. But, the report indicates that immigrant children are still not given a fair chance to succeed. In 2015, first-generation immigrant students in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) were 32% less likely than natives to achieve basic skills in reading, mathematics and science.

In 2017, in the European Union, twice as many young people born abroad left school early compared to natives. Students with a migrant background reported a lower sense of belonging at school, were less satisfied with their life, and experienced more school related anxiety than native students, as indicated in the European Commission Education and Training Monitor.

To improve the inclusion of migrants and refugees children in national education systems, the UNESCO report gives the following recommendations:

- Protect the right to education of migrants and displaced people.
- Include migrants and displaced people in the national education system.
- Understand and plan to meet the education needs of migrants and displaced people.
- Represent migration and displacement histories in education accurately to challenge prejudices.
- Prepare teachers of migrants and refugees to address diversity and hardship.
- Harness the potential of migrants and displaced people.
- Support education needs of migrants and displaced people in humanitarian and development aid.

Find out more about the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report here: http://gem-report-2019.unesco.org/