Migration, displacement and education : Building Bridges, not Walls. Global Education Monitoring Report 2019
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Leave no one behind. This is among the most aspirational global commitments of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Migration and displacement are two global challenges the agenda needs to address in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4: ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. Migration and displacement interact with education in many ways. These links affect those who move, those who stay and those who host immigrants, refugees or other displaced populations. Internal migration mainly affects many rapidly urbanizing middle income countries, such as China, where more than one in three rural children are left behind by migrating parents. International migration mainly affects high income countries, where immigrants make up at least 15% of the student population in half of schools. It also affects sending countries: More than one in four witness at least one-fifth of their skilled nationals emigrating. Displacement mainly affects low income countries, which host 10% of the global population but 20% of the global refugee population, often in their most educationally deprived areas. More than half of those forcibly displaced are under age 18. Migration and displacement affect education. They require systems to accommodate those who move and those left behind. Countries are challenged to fulfil the international commitment to respect the right to education for all. They must often act quickly, under severe constraints or even opposition from some constituencies. They need to address the needs of those cramming into slums, living nomadically or awaiting refugee status. Teachers have to deal with multilingual classrooms and traumas affecting displaced students. Qualifications and prior learning need to be recognized to make the most of migrants’ and refugees’ skills. Education also affects migration and displacement. It is a major driver in the decision to migrate. Domestically, those with tertiary education are twice as likely to migrate as those with primary education; internationally, they are five times as likely. Education affects not only migrants’ attitudes, aspirations and beliefs but also those of their hosts. Increased classroom diversity brings both challenges and opportunities to learn from other cultures and experiences. Appropriate education content can help citizens critically process information and promote cohesive societies; inappropriate content can spread negative, partial, exclusive or dismissive notions of immigrants and refugees.