ERG SES H 07, Learning and Education
The immigration, which has been continuing for a long time in human history, has become one of the most important global issues facing the world in recent years. According to the International Organization for Immigration (IOM), it has been defined as the major population movement that occurs within the giants or outside the state for any reason such as economic reasons, forced displacement, and any other reason.
As stated by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), refugees defined as people who do not want to return to their own countries for fear of being persecuted for many social reasons such as religion, nationalism, political, oppression. Besides, according to UNCHR’s Global Trends (2018), reported in 2017, 68.5 million people were forced to leave their countries and approximately 25, 4 million of them were a refugee and more than half of them were children. Herewith, it may become very important to constitute legal arrangements to protect them and their education rights by developed countries. In addition, the school and teachers have an important impact on the social development and cultural development of immigrant children. Based on this, the fact that immigrant children might continue their education on an equal basis with other children may be a very important factor in terms of their psychological and social development.
In this research, public schools in Italy and Turkey were determined as the sample population and some educator’s experiences were taken into consideration. Withal, the studies and practices to improve the education of immigrant children in both countries were compared. As per Sirin and Sirin’s (2015) perspective, being successful in education might be a challenge for children in their new country for some couple of years. Therefore, in order to facilitate the adaptation of immigrant and refugee children to the educational life, the cooperation between the countries that host immigrants and the creation of new solutions for facilitating education by educators can facilitate the existing process.
According to Konings (2018), immigrant children undergo a series of challenging processes at the beginning of their education and may not start school or receive legal assistance for immigration status if this process is not completed. Supplementation to this, these children may face barriers such as language, adaptation to the school, exclusion by the community and separation, even if their registration process is successfully completed.
Purpose of the Study
Having the right to education, which is an inevitable part of human rights, is the common right of refugees, of individuals who have been persecuted and deported (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2017). Furthermore, to protect the education rights of individuals who have been forced to flee their country and to support these rights may play an important role to help them grow as healthy individuals in the future. For these reasons, focusing on the development of projects and activities for the rights of immigrant children and their fair education can be a very important theme for the human future. The target of this study is to design different perspectives and new universal awareness in the world. Besides, this research focuses on the existing problems of immigrant and refugee children to create new solutions by finding some answers of these questions;
- What kind of education barriers will they face?
- What kind of differences do they have about education barriers in Italy and Turkey for immigrants and refugee children?
- What kind of studies and practices are being done by educators in school in Italy and Turkey?
- What are the differences between these studies in education for immigrant and refugee children in Italy and Turkey?
This study designed as a qualitative research method. Fifteen immigrant children who study in high school in Italy and ten refugee children who study in high school in Turkey volunteered to participate and answered open-ended interview questions. Generally, the questions are focused on the quality of education, expectations, dreams and social relationships. In addition, some interviews were held with the individuals who served as educators in schools from both countries. Qualitative data was collected from various participants - immigrants, refugees, social service members, and teachers. Moreover, this comprehensive perspective was useful to understand better the participants' feelings and to give them a chance to explain their issues to the world in more detail. Some participants wanted to volunteer but preferred to answer questions by drawing pictures and some participants wanted to volunteer but preferred to give short answers. In addition to all answers, these examples also tell many things. So far, a total of 25 pages of qualitative data have been collected from the participants. Obtained data were analyzed by content analysis.
According to the results of the preliminary findings, one of the biggest problems in both countries is the language. Most teachers have very fast and accentuated conversations in schools, which cause immigrant children do not understand what is said in classes. Findings also show that there are not enough language courses for immigrant students in Turkey. It might be very important that immigrant students can speak the language of the country they immigrated to an adequate level in order to be successful and to ensure their social development with the environment. Therefore, increasing the number of programs will enable immigrant children to learn languages, making new opportunities for their success and preparing grounds to practice their language can be provided by non-profit social institutions (Whitaker, 2010). Moreover, in Italy, most immigrant students stated that they did not receive any psychological support or help from any institution or school. Immigrants and refugees are exposed to many stress, violent experiences, and immense changes in immigration during immigration, leaving them vulnerable to a number of problems (Reed, Fazel, Jones, Panter-Brick and Stein, 2011). Considering these factors, the assistance provided by the psychological support and counseling services for these children can be almost life-saving for them. Besides all these to the findings, it was determined that children in both countries need various orientation activities by schools. In conclusion, it is possible to say that this study is a very sensitive and detailed study. At the end of the research, many important and critical findings were determined based on the answers of the students. It is aimed that this study will be implemented as a project in the future. Therefore, studies and interviews will continue in different regions of Italy and Turkey. Other findings, visuals, and solutions will be discussed at the conference.
Education Policy. Education 2030. Paris: UNESCO, 2017. International Organization for Migration (IOM) (2011a), International Migration Law No 25: Glossary on Migration. Geneva: IOM. Available from: https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/iml25_1.pdf Konings, P. (2017) Protecting Immigrant Children’s Right to Education. Child Law Practice Online.2018, Vol.36, No.2 Available from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/child_law/resources/child_law_practiceonline/child_law_practice/vol-36/mar-apr-2017/protecting-immigrant-childrens-right-to-education-/ Reed RV, Fazel M, Jones L, Panter-Brick C, Stein A (2011). Mental health of displaced and refugee children resettled in low-income and middle-income countries: Risk and protective factors. Lancet 379: 250–265. Şirin, S. R. & Şirin, L. R. (2015). The educational and mental health needs of Syrian refugee children. Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017, 19 June 2018. Available from: https://www.unhcr.org/5b27be547.pdf UNCHR (2011).1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, Geneva.3. Available from: https://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10. UNESCO. Protecting the Right to Education for Refugees. Working Papers on Whitaker, E. (2010). Language Acquisition of the Children of Immigrants and the Role of Non-Profit Organizations. (Unpublished senior thesis). University of Puget Sound, Washington, the United States of America (USA)
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