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Why fund migrant and refugee education? Lifelong Learning Week 2022


On Friday 2nd December SIRIUS celebrated the Lifelong Learning week on “Investment in Education and Training: A Public Good for All” by holding a workshop on funding of migrant education. We opened with a panel moderated by SIRIUS director Mialy Dermish with speakers Noemi Casone (ENABEL Project Officer on Human Mobility Issues) and Paola Alvarez (OM Senior Regional Thematic Specialist Labour Mobility and Social Inclusion).

Both Paola and Noemie spoke about international legal frameworks such as the Global Compact on Migration and the UN Decleration of Human Rights that govern how we engage with the right to education for migrant and refugee students arriving in Europe. Both participants recognized the challenge of national systems to really produce the type of inclusive and quality education that are needed, not only to ensure that migrants rights are fulfilled , but also that migrants are viewed as positive contributions to our European society that they are.

Noemie pointed out many of the strong practices in Uganda, where ENABEL funds refugee education and we discussed how we do not learn from developing country systems that have hosted refugees for a long time despite their knowledge and successful measures implemented. A debate and questions rose around the value of formal and informal systems and why migrant students may need informal or non formal systems to help them bridge into more formal systems, should we view this as segregation or just a band-aid while we are reforming the more formal system. Paola also recognized that national systems are underfunded and struggling even without new arrivals but we also thought of non-funding solutions that allow for more autonomy in national systems, that  could help teachers and directors to respond to the different dynamics.

The panel was followed by a workshop where participants looked at the quality of successful funding campaigns in the past and brain-stormed ways that we could bring more money into the area of migrant education in Europe. Legitimacy of campaign actors, finding a way to connect emotionally with audiences and bringing a sense of urgency were highlighted as necessary for campaigns to be successful.

All in all the event was successful and it was a pleasure for SIRIUS to host this event as part of the LLL week.