Integration, empowerment and protection of migrant children through compulsory education

This report from the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons highlights the gap between States’ undertakings under domestic and international legislation on primary and secondary education and its actual delivery to migrant and refugee children. Examples from Council of Europe member States illustrate good practices and many areas for improvement. The recommendations constitute a “checklist” of conditions for ensuring migrant children’s education.

Authors: Rapporteur: Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group

In 2016, out of 6.4 million primary and secondary school-age refugees around the world, an estimated 3.5 million had no school to go to. Only 61% of refugee children had access to primary education compared with a global level among non-refugees of 91%, and an average of 23% refugee adolescents attended lower secondary school compared to 84% of non-refugee adolescents.

Schools should be safe places for children to grow, socialise and learn together, but schools are still being used as targets or military bases in conflict zones. Even in countries not at war, they may be the scene of unacceptable demonstrations of coercion by armed forces, such as expulsions of irregular migrants. Asylum procedures are sometimes used as a pretext to deny children schooling, and segregation used as a way to avoid addressing linguistic or cultural challenges.

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