Building bridges, not walls


With more people than ever before on the move – either voluntarily or forced from their homes –  there are enormous implications for education that require flexible and innovative solutions. This is the central theme of UNESCO's 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, Migration, Displacement and Education: Building Bridges, Not Walls. It analyses several tried and tested solutions – with varying degrees of success – and concludes with a set of recommendations for policymakers working on the issue.

Education has a direct or indirect influence over whether people move and where they move to.  It affects their resilience, attitudes, aspirations, beliefs and sense of belonging. Yet, for many on the move, especially the displaced, the administrative or discriminatory barriers they face often impede their access to education entirely, even though it can provide a safe haven.

The annual report makes the case for education of migrants and refugees to be given priority in their host countries’ plans. Most migrants are talented and driven; many have overcome huge challenges in their bid to do better. Expanding access to quality education for people on the move improves their lives.

Ignoring education in the response to migration is a failure to recognize its power to address diversity and promote inclusion. Through effective teacher training and teaching materials, a good education can provide people with the skills to engage with different cultures and challenge their own stereotypes. It can build much-needed bridges across cultures and divides, and forge a path towards a more cohesive and just world.

Go back to the article: Education for migrants: an inalienable human right