Lesson 1 – The “refugee crisis”

In 2015 Europe experienced the “refugee crisis" with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria and the wider Middle East and Africa. Transit and destination countries have experienced great challenges in managing the refugee flow, amongst others to register and shelter them. However, this also raises questions of how to manage the situation beyond providing the basic need of food and shelter

Source and more information:
Bodewig, Christian (2015). Education is the key to integrating refugees in Europe. Located at:https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2015/11/23/education-is-the-key-to-integrating-refugees-in-europe  

What is the definition of refugee?

According to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, held by world governments in Geneva in 1951, a refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country." This definition includes people who have experienced persecution because of political beliefs or religious activities or because they are members of a particular ethnic group.

The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees established the legal standards for refugee protection, and 143 states have signed both. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), established in 1951, is the branch of the United Nations charged with the international protection of refugees.

More informnation: http://www.unhcr.org/1951-refugee-convention.html

The large share of refugees under the age of 18 United Nations records show that more than half of all Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. Such a large share of children and youth is a major opportunity: if host countries ensure quick access to quality education and training opportunities, they can equip this young, but disadvantaged, generation of refugees with the tools to succeed.

So how do we make education a success for refugee students in EU countries? Initially, refugee children and youth need targeted support as they enter the school system, such as through intensive language and general induction programs to allow them to participate in mainstream classes as soon as possible.

Some of the refugees – especially the children and young people - might come with war trauma, suggesting that schools need to offer psychological support. But beyond that, refugees will benefit from measures that make education systems more inclusive. The “Learning place Bio-Farm” has a big potential to offer them new perspectives outside mainstream school system and their living in refugee camps.

More information and video: http://www.unhcr.org/syria-emergency.html