Education for Migrants and Refugees

This eDiscussion was hosted in cooperation with Initiatives of Change in the UK. Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own.

Download the Report: Education for Migrants and Refugees


In addition to the Education Hub facilitator, Paul G. West, Mr Peter Riddell of Initiatives of Change moderated this eDiscussion. Peter Riddell is a National Coordinator of Initiatives of Change UK, and Convenor of its Agenda for Reconciliation programme. In his latter capacity, he has overseen the development of a programme of training for refugees since 2005. It started with a request from leaders of the Somali diaspora community for training in Dialogue Facilitation. in the intervening years, over 20 of those who received the training have since returned to Somalia and played significant roles in government, parliament, the civil service and NGOs. In the last three years, the training curriculum has been renamed ‘Refugees as Re-Builders’ and broadened to include themes such as ‘Ethical Governance’ and ‘Sustainable Livelihood’. It is being offered to refugees of all nationalities who intend to participate in the rebuilding of their countries of origin.

eDiscussion opening statement (now closed for email contributions)

According to the UNHCR, since 2015, an unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. Nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution.

Refugees are often at a disadvantage when it comes to provision of education specifically addressing their needs to develop skills and the validation of existing qualifications or partly-completed studies. Adult educators’ play a crucial role in enabling migrants and refugees to settle into new countries and environments. Intercultural and context-based curricula are needed to be part of the solution, through meaningful inclusion and an engagement process of migrants and refugees into their new communities. Education institutions and organisations, within the formal and non-formal sectors, have a key role in the provision of education to migrants and refugees.

While efforts have been made in making education accessible to migrants and refugees worldwide, effort is needed to be given to the education and training of adult educators who are responsible for teaching migrants and refugees. Migrants and refugees and need to be engaged and included within their new communities. The gaps in provision need to be discussed, reviewed and understood.


  1. What kind of educational approach and policies (including languages) are needed to embed the sustainable development goals and a human rights approach into the curriculum of adult educators working with migrants and refugees?
  1. How can migrant and refugee rights be better supported with teaching and learning materials and resources? How can the needs of migrants and refugees be better supported in terms of better understanding their human rights under international law?
  2. What mechanisms exist for the provision of education? Do governments provide the necessary education systems and is there a role for private sector? What are the best ways for educational practitioners to engage with migrants and refugees to develop a transformational relationship with their communities of adoption and origin?

When commenting, on the topics above, please include the number of the topic you are commenting on. We will share a summative report on this discussion with all including all input after the eDiscussion closes on Friday 30 June 2017. Contributions received will be published on the eDiscussion page. Kindly send your contribution to:

References and resources

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