As is the case with many human crisis and natural disasters, private industries look to quickly capitalise, which is why major efforts continue to ensure that refugee and migrant children receive a quality public education.
For edubusinesses around the world refugees and migrants represent a financial opportunity, rather than a humanitarian emergency. In both refugee camps and host countries, private education companies are looking to take advantage of a generation of displaced children for profit.
This was the focus of the recent Development Cooperation (DC) meetings in Brussels, Belgium where union leaders assembled at the head offices of Education International (EI).
“EI must be present in the refugee crisis because private actors are taking that space,” said EI’s Nicolas Richards, stressing that the organisation and its affiliates need to be front and centre when it comes to the education of the world’s most vulnerable.
The discussion, which also looked at how teacher unions should ensure that DC resources are used for projects in developing countries, rather than be directed toward domestic refugee programmes, came as researchers prepare to release a new report on refugees and edubusinesses.
Disaster capitalism targets education
“Private Participation in the Education of Syrian Refugees: Investing in the Crisis,” a forthcoming EI commissioned report by Francine Menashy and Zeena Zakharia from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, takes an in-depth look at the private players in education are capitalising on the refugee situation arising from Syria. The report is slated to be released in the coming months.
Global Compact for refugees and migrants
As a result of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants last September at the United Nations, governments are working toward a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. With negotiations set to conclude 31 January, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is opening dialogue with stakeholders in Paris on 2 February. The occasion aims to look at ways in which the GFMD can contribute to the new compact.
To learn more about EI's work with refugee and migrant education, please visit the Teachers for Migrants' and Refugees' Rights portal here.