What a waste: Ensure migrants and refugees’ qualifications and prior learning are recognized

Presented at the Global Education Meeting in Brussels, a new paper produced by our Report in collaboration with Education Above All and UNHCR shows that over a third of highly educated immigrants were overqualified for their jobs, compared to a quarter of non-migrants. It shows the extent to which this is an important issue for those concerned: new analysis from Europe shows that one in eight immigrants said that not having qualifications recognized is the biggest challenge they face, placed well above inadequate language skills, discrimination, or visa restrictions.

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Stories in the news of immigrant doctors and teachers who work as cab drivers occasionally draw attention to the amount of potential being wasted the world over. But more needs to be done to raise awareness of this issue. Imagine how much better society could be if these people were in jobs that match their skills. Continue reading

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Providing education for migrants and refugees requires common action and shared responsibility

The global relevance and timeliness of the 2019 GEM Report Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges, not walls was fully evident at this week’s Global Education Meeting in Brussels.

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Credit: UNESCO Brussels

This is a key moment in the SDG 4 follow up and review calendar. Scheduled to take place every 3 to 4 years, the main purpose of this event was to rally the international community behind a set of consensus-based key messages to be advocated for in the review of SDG 4 to take place at the next High-level Political Forum in July 2019. The meeting was organized by UNESCO and hosted by the Government of Belgium. Some 350 people attended, including ministers and officials from about 60 countries, representatives of development agencies and other partners.

The GEM Report team twice was given the opportunity to brief the audience on progress and challenges towards achieving SDG 4 using quantitative indicators, jointly with the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, and qualitative assessments of policy priorities.

In addition, migration and displacement were at the top of the agenda. A presentation of the 2019 GEM Report provided the setting for a panel consisting of ministers and high officials at the forefront of attempts to include migrants and refugees in national education systems. Continue reading

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Over $1.7 billion committed to education at the Global Citizenship Festival

Significant strides were made to #FundEducation at the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100’ this week, totaling just over US$ 1.7 billion.

It is often said that 2019 is the year of education: SDG 4 is going to be reviewed for the first time at the High-level Political Forum, while major decisions are anticipated on the international education aid architecture. These prospects are creating a sense of momentum.

This week, celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela, Global Citizen with the Mostepe Foundation and the House of Mandela hosted a fundraising festival for multiple sectors, education included. Below are some of the largest commitments announced during the event.

New commitments were announced by Germany for GPE of 19 million euros, and by Canada for Education Cannot Wait of 50 million Canadian dollars. The government of Kenya committed to spend close to 30%, almost double the regional average, and Sierra Leone 21.5% of its budgets on education.

global citizen blogPresident of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta said: “Today, I respond to the many global citizens who have called upon my administration to maintain its education budget above 20% of our total budget, but I want to go one step further, and this year, I pledge to you, my fellow global citizens, that in Kenya, our education budget will be closer to 30% of our total budget, making it probably the highest on the African continent.”

The 2019 GEM Report showed that low-income countries cannot rely upon donors to fund their education systems. As the graph here shows, almost 60% of spending on education in low- income countries comes from governments, with only just over 10% coming from donors. Continue reading

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Displaced children with disabilities face overlapping barriers

The 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report launched two weeks ago, focuses on migration and displacement. In discussing displaced people with disabilities, it begins with a premise established by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that having an impairment does not in itself create disability; rather, it’s society’s failure to accommodate and assist that ‘disables’. For refugee children living with a disability torn from their homes, the lack of assistance in their new environments is particularly stark.

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A relative pushes John’s wheelchair through the dirt parths of protection of civilians Camp 3 in Juba. The uneven paths make it difficult for people with physical disabilities to move around the camps. Credit: 2017 Joe Van Eeckhout for Human Rights Watch

The Report emphasizes the need for more data to help governments facilitate the integration of refugees living with a disability. The lack of data, coupled with the use of outmoded methods for measuring disability gives a distorted picture of the scale and nature of the issue.

The monolithic concept of ‘disability’ is unhelpful for monitoring and designing responses. Needs vary dramatically according to the type of disability people have. A survey from Pakistan shows that refugees with difficulties seeing were most likely to attend school (52%), while those with self-care difficulties were the least likely (7.5%). Continue reading

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India has some of the largest internal migration movements in the world – how has its education adapted?

People move around India all the time. Around 9 million moving to live in another state every year while the rates of those migrating within their state also doubled over just ten years. A lot has been done to adapt the education system in India to these movements, our latest 2019 GEM Report shows, but the challenges faced by the children of seasonal workers and those in slums need attention.

At a national level, the Right to Education Act in 2009 made it mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children. National-level guidelines exist that allow for flexible admission of children that provide transport and volunteers to support with mobile education and create seasonal hostels. These guidelines are also designed to improve coordination between sending and receiving districts and states.

Central directives in a country like India cannot cover all cases; therefore, many states also do their part, finding innovative solutions to work around population movements. Gujarat introduced seasonal boarding schools that gave migrant children an education and started an online child tracking system, for instance. In Maharashtra, village authorities worked with local volunteers to provide after-school psychosocial support to children who had been left behind by seasonal migrating parents. Tamil Nadu provides textbooks in other languages to migrant children. Odisha took over responsibility of seasonal hostels that were being run by NGOs.

Some of the children most in need of new solutions in India are the children of seasonal workers, who move following work opportunities. In 2013, 10 million children lived in rural households with a family member who was a seasonal worker. This movement is particularly common within the construction industry: a survey of 3000 brick kiln workers in Punjab found that 60% of kiln workers were inter-state migrants. Continue reading

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The legacy of past restrictions on migrants remains alive and well in education in China

First posted in the South China Morning Post

Internal migration in China for work and better opportunities is commonly described as the biggest in human history. Unsurprisingly, this has had a significant effect on education. Policies have shifted over time to reflect the changes on the ground, allowing 1all migrant children access into schools, but mindsets take longer to shift. What we learn from China is that discrimination in education cannot be eradicated overnight.

The scale of people moving around the country is unmatched elsewhere. In 2016, 77 million Chinese people had moved to find work in another province, whilst 93 million had moved within their province. As for the number of children, in 2012,2 there were an estimated 20 million migrants aged between 6 and 14. One in three children in rural areas are estimated to have been left behind as their parents moved.

But lessons can be learnt from the policies that China put in place – and then removed – to limit the movement of people in the country and how this impacted on education. Indeed, the lessons may resonate well in Hong Kong where the influx of Chinese students is putting pressure on the school system.

China’s registration system, the hukou, was put in the place in the 1950s, classifying residents as rural or urban and linking access to services, including education, by their registered place of birth. In the early 2000s, more than half of migrant children in Beijing were attending unauthorized migrant schools that were considered of lower quality and lacking in qualified teachers and infrastructure. They were the lucky ones. Migrant children at that time were far less likely to go to school at all than their peers. Continue reading

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The messages of the 2019 GEM Report are reaching all corners of the world

tmue20181120a144.jpgThe 2019 GEM Report launched on Tuesday, with 12 events already, and another seven in the pipeline for next week. Almost 2,000 people attended the events, and 4,600 watched the global launch event online.  In the first two days since launch, 5,700 full English reports were downloaded, equivalent to more than two a minute, testament to how timely the topic is. This does not include the download figures for the eleven summary versions also available in different languages.

Organisations from across the spectrum of migration and displacement debated and discussed the Report this week, from UNHCR, the Migration Policy Institute, the IOM, the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya, UNICEF, Care International, IGAD, the National Education Union (NEU) in London and teachers, including Mandy Manning, US teacher of the year (below). Continue reading

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