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Issues of Displacement and its impact on education


Contemporary conflicts very frequently lead to the displacement of the masses, seen through the prominent “diasporization” of populations throughout the world. While some are forcefully displaced through deliberate displacement tactics employed by armed groups, others are forced to take this decision owing to the destruction of economic, social, and family life, of homes, and of infrastructure, among other things.

While it goes without saying that all people have the right to education, host states have a compulsion of ensuring such provision of education owing to the Article 22 of the 1951 Convention which declares the right to primary education for refugees. However, this is far from being translated into reality, with there being significant distance between the declaration of this right and its practical implementation. Refugee children, for the most part, remain out of school in large numbers, since the barriers to accessing education in conflict situations are proliferated when the factor of displacement is accounted for. But why?

Children who are displaced have to start a new life, with very little means to do so given the economic restraint that fleeing and conflict posit. Therefore, displaced children are the victims of poverty with limited mobility. In settings where these children are able to gain access to schools, the psychological impact of displacement coupled with the ambiguity of what the future holds and economic deficit, leads to low attendance rates. Most importantly, aspects of racism, discrimination, and otherization further heightens feelings of not belonging.

It is crucial hence, for education to take priority in the initial course of action in conflict areas so the psychological toll on children is mitigated, with a long-term plan of action that assumes education to be mobile, and durable.

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It can be related to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and what kind of education they are getting here. For so many years, they did not have the access to quality education. But, they are being taught the Pakistani curriculum here, according to the UN reports. This curriculum is in English and Urdu which definitely affects their learning because of language barriers. Definitely, refugees and especially refugee children face a lot of challenges.

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Very interesting topic! I think it's also important to consider the policy changes that would need to be implemented to make education inclusive for these children. Like would they be provided additional support in a second language, what track would them be getting admission into, would it go beyond what the country in question deems compulsory education, etc. etc.

Also, including courses on the treatment and current situation of refugee children across the world into the curriculum (to increase the attention that is given to them at an academic level).

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Zersh Salman
Zersh Salman
22 ago 2021
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These are all very valid points and are crucial for the continuity of education for refugees. There is a huge disconnect in not only language but also culture and contexts when they arrive in a country of exile. Keeping in mind the long-term resettlement of refugees, we need to think about what kind of education will provide fruitful outcomes (settling within a country or eventually returning to country of origin). Moreover, adult education needs to be given due importance as well, since it is crucial for employment opportunities for refugees.

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Education becomes more critical during any crisis because people need to be educated to deal with that crisis effectively, and surprisingly, in today's age, children in conflict areas have very limited access to education.

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agreed! I think it is high time education starts being treated as a universal, mandatory right that should be provided in all circumstances, especially in times of conflict

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