Integrating refugees and migrants through education

The Lifelong Learning Platform has published a new policy paper on integrating refugees and migrants through education as a means to build bridges in divided societies. EPA, very much in line with the work we are currently doing to support the inclusion of migrant parents, has contributed to the paper, especially on the need to empower all educators, to involve parents and to have a school leadership approach for achieving this in formal education. Migration internal and external, the refugees, inclusion and integration are hot topics in the EU and nearly all member states, so this is a very timely communication.

The paper is built on the following principles:
1. Education: a right for all, not a privilege for some
2. Inequalities are a reality, but so is potential
3. Tackling segregated educational institutions
4. Intercultural dialogue as means to link diverse communities
5. Intercultural competences: the essence of a constructive dialogue
6. Overcoming the language barriers for full participation
7. Validation and recognition, additional tools for integration
8. Involving all actors to work on a common vision

The paper urges for supporting migrant parents to become engaged in school life. "As PISA and many other studies show, students are better learners when their parents are engaged in schools and value reading for instance. However, disadvantaged (refugee) parents tend to be less involved in their children’s schooling because of multiple economic and social reasons. That is why they should be provided additional support and guidance, so that they can equally participate in the life of the school community. Links between schools and parents as primary educators should be prioritised and outreach strategies could be improved to better align school and parental efforts by targeting parents who are more difficult to reach through, e.g. home visits. Finally, schools should open their doors to communities and become multifunctional community centres by expanding their functions and reconsidering their role in local communities."

Read the whole paper here.

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