The border within: decolonizing refugee students' education

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The education of asylum-seekers is nowadays strongly influenced by the ‘refugee crisis’ narrative that, especially after 2015, has spread in Europe and beyond. The narrative suggests a basic ‘us and them’ dichotomy, where migrants are depicted as a problematic ‘them’ compared to the Western ‘us’. Accordingly, it is pivotal to understand what role education can play in centring the experiences of refugees themselves within the public debate, helping recalibrate this narrative. Upon arrival, refugees usually face several hurdles related to language, culture, and different educational systems. Setting in motion an organisational change that helps schools identify and remove barriers to learning and participation of refugee students implies adopting a holistic programme, focused on supporting students’ engagement and well-being as much as on developing literacy and curriculum. However, the aim of transforming the whole school, drawing from principled interventions based on inclusive values and extended cooperation with other agencies, cannot be achieved without dismantling the colonialist attitude that still permeates many school policies and practices. By developing a critical analysis of the re-colonisation dynamics that currently affect the education of forced migrants, the chapter contributes to defining a decolonisation approach, through which the refugee students frame of reference can be accepted and valued.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch handbook on migration and education
EditorsHalleli Pinson, Nihad Bunar, Dympna Devine
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781839106361
ISBN (Print)9781839106354
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameSociology, Social Policy and Education 2023
PublisherEdward Elgar

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