02 SES 04 A, Inclusion of Individuals with Migrant Background
Human migration has always been a feature of social development, but the current scale of migration seems unprecedented (UNHCR 2016). While voluntary economic migration can be managed through a range of policy instruments, forced migration due to war, disaster, persecution or climate change is less predictable and more problematic to manage. Certain categories of focrced migrants are defined as refugees and recognised under international law, but this is not true for all categories fo forced migrants, and does not apply when the migration happens within a country. This lack of clarity creates opportunities for exploitation and modern slavery (Bales, Trodd and Willliamson 2009). While there is some recognition of the right of forced migrants, particularly refugees, to education, this right has largely been interpreted in terms of access to schooling. The role of vocational education is largely ignored.
Vocational education has the potential to play a key role in assisting individual migrants, host societies and sending socities in making the transitions of migration more humane and manageable. A major obstacle for migrants relates to their ability to access the labour market in their new homes (ETF 2017). Migrants variously face a range of obstacles including: legal obstacles related to the permission to work depending on their status; inability to gain recognition for their qualification and experience, either due to misalignment between different national qulaification systems, lack of mechanisms to recognise diverse qualifications, or because migrants cannot prove their credentials because of missing documents; they face prejudice from potential employers who may be concerned about the fit between the firm and employees from different backgrounds or prejudice from co-workers who may be threatened by or simply bigoted towards migrants; and they may have gaps in their social and technical expertise that make it difficult to access or succeed in the workplace. Vocational education systems and institutions can mediate some of these transitions and address the blockages if they have policies, resources and curriculum that are attuned to the needs of the migrants, and make members of the host society more aware of the particular needs migrants face.
What is not clear, however, is exactly what policies, resources and curriculum are needed? This paper seeks to answer that question from a neo institutionalist perspective (Lowndes and Roberts 2013), i.e. by exploring the ways in which actors in the vocational education space, be they policy makers, organisational leaders, educators, employers or migrants themselves are constrained or enabled by particular insitutionalised processes and practices, and what can be learned through comparisons across different settings. The paper thus seeks to firstly clarify the diverse needs of different role players (and particularly the diverse needs of migrants themselves), but also articulae at various levels within the vocational education system how the identified needs can be addressed, and if they cannot be addressed why that is the case.
The paper pulls together three related strands of work. Firstly, it draws on a scoping and literature review on TVET and migrants conducted for the UNEVOC network in 2017/18. Secondly, it draws on data from a survey and interview process conducted with selected UNEVOC member organisations which sought to identify policies and processes at national system level in selected European countries in order to identify different ways in which responses have been institutionalised, and finally it reflects on preliminary analysis of case studies of intersections between vocational education organisations and migrants to examine how these practices play out in specific contexts with specific people. The three data sources allow for the description of vertical case studies (Vavrus 2015) that enable one to understand the issues at multiple levels of one system, but also allow for comparison across national and organisational contexts.
While the case study data is still in preliminary stages of analysis, it is already clear that different types of migrants have very divergent needs with respect to vocational education. Thus gaining clarity on the nature of migrant's biography, motivation and intentions is key to developing policy and organisational responses. However, this diversity of need also creates major challenges at policy and organisational level as they attempt to address perceived and widespread concerns. The paper is expected to identify challenges with respect to recognition of qualifications and prior learning across countries, the need for more emphasis on social awareness around workplace practices and work cultures within skills programmes, but also point to the need for vocational education to focus on migrants in programmes not aimed at migrants.
Bales,K., Trodd, Z., and Williamson, A.K. (2009) Modern Slavery. Oxford: Oneworld ETF (2017) Recognition and Validation of Qualifications and Skills for refugees: Selected practices from Europe. Conference Paper presented in Adana, Turkey. Gowricharn, R and Çankaya, S. (2017) Policing the Nation: Acculturation and Street-Level Bureaucrats in Professional Life. Sociology. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038515601781 Lowndes, V. and Roberts, M (2013) Why Institutions Matter. Houndsmills: Palgrave Martin, P (2013) The Global Challenge of Migration. Washington: Population Reference Bureau Moyce, S, Lash, R, and de Leon Siantz, M. (2016) Migration experiences of foreign educated nurses: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 27(2), pp.181-188. Pinson, H and Arnot, M (2010) Local conceptualisations of the education of asylum‐seeking and refugee students: from hostile to holistic models. International Journal of Inclusive Education. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603110802504523 Sirkeci, I, Acik, N, Saunders, B, Přívara, A. (2017) Barriers for highly qualified A8 immigrants in the UK labour market. Work, Employment and Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017017726912 Vavrus, F (2015) Topographies of power: a critical historical geography of schooling in Tanzania. Comparative Education. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03050068.2015.1112567 UNHCR (2016) Global trends: Forced Displacement in 2015. Geneva: UNHCR
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