A refugee education support hub has been launched by experts at the University of Nottingham.
The Hub for European Refugee Education (HERE) brings together academic and stakeholder expertise of policies and practices for integrating children, young people and adults with refugee backgrounds through education, in order to help them to be able to live lives of dignity and value in their new societies.
HERE forms a bridge between academics, policymakers, practitioners, refugee communities and other stakeholders in order to support societies across Europe to provide a socially just inclusion of refugee and people seeking asylum in, and through, education.
The Hub has been set up in response to the increasing number of child refugees in Europe – according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the end of 2021, of the 89.3 million forcibly displaced people, an estimated 36.5 million (41 per cent) were children below 18 years of age. In 2016, Save the Children noted that there was now more child refugees in Europe than at any point since the Second World War.
Dr Joanna McIntyre, Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham and Founder of HERE, said: “The situation across Europe concerning forced migration is often described as a crisis – but we need to challenge that depiction and move refugee education on from crisis response.”
The need for some people to seek sanctuary has been happening for years and is still ongoing. It is crucial that we accept that unless the causes of forced migration are eradicated then we will need sustainable models of inclusive education, so that we can focus on supporting young people who have been displaced, into education and help them to make a positive contribution to the societies they are joining.
Dr McIntyre continued: “Currently, children and young people can be in out of education for far too long as they wait to be allocated to a school or college. They are missing out on vital time where they could be getting accustomed to their new environment and resuming their education. The sooner they can do this, the better chances they have of contributing to the social and economic life of their new context and shaping a better world for all.”
Catherine Gladwell, Chief Executive at Refugee Education UK, said: “Refugee children and young people tell us that education is the key to unlocking their futures. Yet, so often they wait months to get a school place after arriving in Europe, and, when they do, schools struggle to know how to support them to thrive.”
This network provides a critical resource for sharing knowledge and evidence about what works in education for refugee learners – so that we can all get better at equipping them with the education they need to build more hopeful futures.