Notwithstanding the efforts made by EU Member States in recent years, third-country nationals continue to be placed at a disadvantage regarding employment, education and social inclusion compared to EU citizens (OECD/European Union, 2015). For refugees, and people with a migration background at large, education is key for socio-economic success and for overcoming disadvantages in European societies. Education fosters social inclusion, economic growth and innovation. While the education of migrants may have higher costs than for non-migrants in a short-term perspective, it is a social investment in the long term (Bonin, 2017). This is true from the perspective of receiving societies of the EU but also from the perspective of building peace and stability in the countries of origin of refugees. Considering that some refugees will eventually return to their countries of origin, the education and skills they acquire in EU countries are tools they can apply for transformation processes in the concerned countries.
Enhancing education for migrants requires coordination of different policy areas and multi-stakeholder involvement (Bonin, 2017). EU Member States have been facing challenges in providing decent opportunities in education for newly arriving refugees and integrating them into mainstream education. These challenges have intensified since 2015 with the arrival of larger numbers of refugees and asylum seekers.
This paper aims to provide an overview of the existing approaches of policies and initiatives for ensuring continuity of learning for refugees and asylum seekers, especially in Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK), and Italy.