Quality education is key to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is crucial in confronting the social, economic, cultural and political challenges that are causing and resulting from the “global refugee crisis." Education is also the most effective tool to help forcibly displaced people integrate into their new home countries.
With millions of forced migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and several African countries fleeing their homes, desperately trying to reach and settle in neighbouring countries, in Europe and in North America, there is a need to identify the subsequent challenges posed to the education sector of transit and host countries.
Education is the fast track to integration. However, how do we define “integration” and what are its goals? Which education programmes would help achieve these goals? Are our school systems equipped to welcome large groups of refugee children and youth? How do we create favourable school environments? How do we fight racism and xenophobia? How do we prevent bullying? How do we prevent students from going astray? What are the specific needs of forcibly displaced children and how can teachers meet those needs? Are we to adjust our curriculum? Does the refugee crisis give reason to enforce global citizenship education? These and many other questions are to be addressed both during the international dialogue between education union leaders, refugee teachers, education ministers and international experts during this conference and for the foreseeable future.
As a launching pad for ongoing international dialogue between educators on the improvement of refugee education, the conference plans to address systemic as well as professional challenges confronting classroom teachers. Although discussions are to focus on forcibly displaced children and youth from conflict areas in the Middle East, potential conference conclusions and debates should be relevant for the delivery of quality education to children of forced migrants and migrants in general around the world. Furthermore, the conference is the launching pad of an ongoing international dialogue.
This conference reader provides relevant background information about the political and humanitarian aspects of the refugee crisis, the integration of refugees in their new countries, the role of international agencies, the policy framework in which Education International operates as well as its programmes.