How Can We Make Sure Refugees Have Equal Educational Opportunities?
Education is a powerful tool that can help refugees climb out of poverty and contribute to the development of their host communities and their home countries. It can also help refugees contribute to the economic growth of their new countries. Those are just a few of the many reasons why education is so important for refugees.
Accelerated education for refugees (AEP) programmes are designed to provide quality education to school-aged refugees and IDPs living in host countries. These programmes also aim to improve the professional competences of teachers, particularly in the case of AEP centres and primary schools. The project is expected to benefit approximately 665 teachers.
Currently, 263 million children and youth are out of school around the world. The number of youth who have dropped out from school has increased. The COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional 1.6 billion to this number. Accelerated education programmes can be a crucial strategy for helping these children and youth get an education.
AEPs are a popular response to humanitarian emergencies, but research on their impact is limited. The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Accelerated Education Programme, which is based in Northern Uganda, aims to develop rigorous evidence about the effectiveness of these programmes. By using a rigorous, evidence-based approach, AEPs can help provide quality education for displaced populations.
In the last few years, UNHCR and other organizations have been addressing the education needs of refugees. The UNHCR is urging international organizations and foundations to intensify advocacy efforts and promote the rights of refugee and IDP teachers. Similarly, the African Union is promoting awareness about the DOTSS framework for digital education and making sure it covers refugees. In addition, host countries should support education programs for refugees in line with UN frameworks. Moreover, individuals and communities can support these programs by providing funds and volunteerism.
A number of barriers prevent the participation of refugee children in school. Some learners lack connectivity or are too far from radio broadcast signals. In addition, children with disabilities are often disadvantaged in home-based learning programs. Additionally, girls face increased protection risks and domestic responsibilities. As a result, these barriers to education could contribute to a high rate of out-of-school children.
Turkey is one of the countries that are experimenting with innovative solutions for refugees. They have introduced ‘Syrian schools’ to help Syrian children attend school. The integration of these refugees into public schools is the right goal, but timing is crucial. Another important strategy is to recognize refugee teachers.
Access to accredited examinations
Refugees often face many challenges as they try to gain education. Access to accredited examinations is often difficult, and for those who lack the right credentials, such as a high school diploma, the process can be even more difficult. The United States provides alternative high school certification tests such as the GED and HiSET. Taking a US-based test may be the only option available to a refugee, but it is not free. A GED exam can cost upwards of $600, not including travel expenses to an urban centre. However, some providers provide discounted rates to refugee organizations or international refugee programs.
Access to examinations is often necessary for refugees to integrate into the American society. These examinations are often the first time a refugee will contact the US healthcare system, which is essential for their well-being. For many, these tests are also their first exposure to preventative care and early detection of medical conditions.
Parent involvement in children’s education
In the context of refugees, parents can be active and innovative in the education of their children. These parents are often the ones initiating and driving collaboration with schools. Such practice is rich and varied. Refugee parents are not passive; instead, they are often active in their own lives, working full time and finishing their higher education in their home country or Norway.
Parental involvement is important for immigrant children and for reducing ethnic educational inequalities in countries where they are arriving. According to research by Fleischmann, de Haas, and Jeynes, schools are important facilitators in integrating refugee children. However, parents may find it difficult to find time to become involved in their children’s education due to long working hours. In these situations, parents may communicate with teachers through video calls or by phone.
Another barrier to parent involvement is language barrier. Most parents do not have high school education and have difficulties communicating in official languages. In addition, lack of education means they cannot communicate effectively with school staff. This lack of education also makes it difficult for them to help their children with their homework and participate in school. Furthermore, the situation makes parents feel stressed.
In addition to being important in the education of their children, parent involvement is important in making sure the home environment is conducive to learning. Parents participate in school councils and parent organizations. Inclusion of parents in school programs can improve children’s academic performance. Furthermore, the role of parents in a child’s education has important benefits for teachers. Inclusion of parents in school is a critical component to the success of refugee children.
As more Syrian families have arrived in Canada, the Canadian government and private sector have become engaged in the resettlement of Syrian families. Despite the cultural differences, a better understanding of how parents perceive parent involvement in children’s education can help bridge this divide and ensure long-term success for refugee families.
The low attendance rate of refugee parents in schools is a cause for concern for teachers and school administrators. This may be due to cultural barriers that prevent parents from participating. However, this does not explain the low participation rates of refugees in school. Rather, it shows that parents have strong intentions, and that they want to help their children achieve success.
Reaching out to refugee parents
One way to improve educational opportunities for refugees is to reach out to parents. Often, these parents do not speak the same language as their children and may need translation assistance. One way to help parents is by providing interpreters at school events and offering flexible meeting times. Schools can also start cultural liaison programs, which bridge the gap between refugee parents and the school system. These programs provide orientation for new parents, build trust, and include them in PTA events and other school activities.
Communities should do more to support schools and ensure that they are welcoming to refugees. Providing educational opportunities for refugees is essential to mitigating the traumatic resettlement process and helping them integrate into the community. Providing welcoming schools is essential for helping refugee families integrate into a community and ensuring that children have equal access to quality education. Schools must provide an inclusive environment for refugee families and foster social inclusion to help them rebuild their lives.
The challenges of integrating refugee children into mainstream schools are many. Many of them arrive at school at odd times, have no academic records, and often experience bullying in school. Their parents may also lack adequate transportation or childcare to get to school. This can make it more difficult for teachers. Furthermore, school dropout rates for refugee children are shocking: nearly one-third of foreign-born children drop out of school.
As refugees come to Greece, many children have undergone significant trauma, and extra support is needed. While Greek schools are dedicated to providing extra support for refugee children, limited resources often limit their support. To provide support for refugee children, schools have set up refugee education coordinators, who are members of the permanent educational staff. These coordinators are typically experienced teachers selected through a call for applications.
The cultural environment refugees come from also presents a unique set of challenges. For example, many families from cultures that practice corporal punishment are told that their actions are considered child abuse. Their parents may even be forced to seek alternative child discipline methods, or face deportation. This makes them feel powerless to control their children’s behavior. Another area of cultural difference is the treatment of adolescents. In some cultures, children are forced to work outside the home and often experience exploitation as a result.