If there would be just one thing we can’t deny its existence, that thing would be immigration.
As of 2017 12.7 million people have migrated from Mexico to the United States, making this the largest migration corridor in the world. 1 in 30 people in the world are international migrants.
The 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report notes that migration and displacement interact with education in many ways. It adds that these links affect those who move, those who stay and those who host.
One of the most challenging aspects countries face is fulfilling international commitments to respect the right to education for all, this includes immigrants and those left behind by migrating parents. For instance, in 2010, 61 million children were left behind in China by families who migrated elsewhere for work, and 23 million of those children were under the age of 5.
Education is usually the major reason in the decision to migrate.
According to the report, domestically, those with tertiary education are twice as likely to migrate as those with primary education and internationally, they are five times as likely.
The report adds that;
“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.”
Among 21 high income countries, Australia and Canada had adopted multiculturalism in their curricula by 1980. Finland, Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden only adopted it win 2010.
For the past 15 years, Columbia has taken measures to ensure displaced children are treated preferentially in terms of access to education.
Due to South Africa’s permit requirements for Zimbabwean migrants changing, many children were often left without proper documentation making it illegal for them to be and to study in the country.
The biggest and quite widely ignored global aspect right now is the development of policies and legislations that will ensure that immigrants receive the education that ordinary citizens receive, or at least close to it.
Mduduzi Mbiza is a writer, content strategist, researcher, consultant, speaker and author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’. He has contributed his articles on education to Daily Maverick, The South African, Voice360 and EduOne.