The Swedish diplomat Nicola Clase delivered a lecture at Nacka Gymnasium, November 2019, where she mentioned a crisis that might not get as much attention as it needs: refugee children are not getting an education. Since the Arab spring sparked in early 2011 in the Middle East, millions of people have fled from their countries to find safe nations to settle in. However, the journey on which the refugees embark can take a very long time and therefore the children that are now on their journey to safety seldom have access to education. About 3.7 million refugee children of school age do not attend school, according to a report done by UNHCR: “Stepping Up: Refugee Education in Crisis”. A further issue with this is that the older the refugee children grow, the obstacles averting the children from accessing education becomes stronger. One example is the UK where the asylum-seeking children can be forced to wait and sometimes face long delays until they get access to education because the British schools are afraid that their average grade point will decrease, according to The Guardian “Refugee children face long delays accessing education in UK”, 20 sep 2018.
Consequences of this crisis are many, one of them is that there is going to be an uneducated generation in the future. Young refugees will grow up without schooling and eventually have trouble finding jobs. Consequently this could lead to another crisis where there will be a lack of workers in multiple occupations. Moreover, failing to educate refugees could lead to perpetuation of conflicts and hostility around the world, because deficiency of education means a decrease in the numbers of smart ideas that could help develop the world into a better and more peaceful place. Nevertheless, it is very hard to provide education to the refugee children. How would teachers and learning materials be transferred to the warzones? It would also be hard to convince teachers to travel to hazardous places. There are schools runned by organisations like UNHCR, UNICEF and CARE. These schools do their utmost to provide education for the refugees, but the resources are not enough. Nicola Clase mentioned in her lecture that there can be up to 200 students in one classroom with only one teacher which clearly is not sustainable.
One solution for this crisis could be for the host countries to invest more funding in the educational system to provide further knowledge to teachers and schools about using the right teaching methods to help the fugitives to reclaim their aspiration and belief in the future. Sadly many refugees lose their optimism and dreams on their strenuous journey to safety. However, not all host countries can afford such fundings and might already have a problem to provide high quality education for their own citizens. For instance the Middle Eastern country Jordan which borders Syria, takes in a lot of refugees from Syria. However, Jordan is in economic despair and has a hard time providing the right education for the Syrian children. Moreover, some countries might just not be willing to spend taxpayers’ money on fugitives because of their political views etc. A solution to that could be for the host countries to allow refugee teachers to teach. Unfortunately many refugee teachers are blocked from employment because of their status as refugees in society. Instead of prohibiting them from teaching, the refugee teachers who are familiar with the refugee children and their culture and methods of learning should actually be encouraged to handle this task.
In conclusion, the education for refugees is in a big crisis. The sad fact is that it is very hard to provide education for children who are in refugee camps . Luckily there are solutions to this problem but for the solutions to work we have to make an effort. Fundings and keeping an open mind are vital for the unraveling of this issue to have an effect. I believe we really should take action and try to make a change. The whole society will eventually be negatively affected by the refugee children not getting educated today. Also more fundings in organizations like the UNHCR could help refugees to get educated while fleeing from their countries to find new homes.
- Livia Marcetic, EJ18a
On November 7th we second year law students had the privilege to attend a lecture by Nicola Clase, Sweden’s former ambassador in the United Kingdom. During her lecture she discussed the issues with the developing countries and the connection between globalisation and immigration.
Firstly, her presentation publicly discussed a controversial topic in our society. People generally have opposing views on immigration and it has henceforth become a sensitive question, especially for politicians. Clase brought up the immigration problems in Venezuela where the Venezuelan government had issued roadblocks to prevent humanitarian assistance from being allowed entrance to the country. She used the situation in Venezuela as a segue to clarify the difference between an immigrant and a refugee, which according to Clase is that an immigrant departs the country in the hope of finding a better life, whilst a refugee flees due to calamitous circumstances such as war or starvation. The people leaving Venezuela was deemed immigrants instead of refugees and was therefore not allowed necessary aid by the countries receiving them.
After Nicola Clase discussed the Venezuelan crisis she talked about the African problems and how starvation, refuge and education were of paramount importance to create a better life for children living in the harsh continent. The environment and the imperialism of the 19th and 20th century made Africa a poor, rough wasteland with corruption and starvation running amok. Clase brought up the difficulties of fleeing Africa and crossing the Sahara desert and how refugee camps aided the refugees with education, however they did not contain the necessary equipment to tend to severe wounds that the refugees may have been afflicted with and how hospitalization was not a choice for these people.
Lastly, she discussed the globalisation issues in Moldova and how adults working internationally affect the adolescents of said adults in negative ways. Clase mentioned how children had to tend to themselves since their parents were not present. Moldova is not the only country where people migrate for work, and it is an usual occurrence that happens in almost every country in some degree, however it is more apparent in Moldova than in other European countries. Clase’s underlying thesis is that as the world gets more globalized the more problems will occur that affect the next generations. Globalization is ambiguous in the way that it connects us in a positive way, however it also has its more consequential parts. The situation in Moldova subsequently led to groups of adolescents meeting up and tending to each other therefore forming a solidarity.
One can only speculate about the future. The U.N. has its global goals for how to combat the problems that Nicola Clase brought up. It is inevitable that countries will become more dependant on each other, which is not necessarily a negative aspect of the world, however Clase appeared to have a pessimistic outlook on the world we now have. It might not be pessimistic per se, perhaps more realistic. I was compelled by Nicola Clase’s rhetoric and how she was forward with us about how grim our world can be and how much worse it can get if we do not take action.
- Bix Bäckman, EJ18b