3.9 Education

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Users of this online learning resource are responsible for connecting with government and local organizations to ensure access to relevant information on refugee sponsorship in their community.




Education and Schooling



Sponsorship group members can have a variety of responsibilities related to education. Obviously, the scope of these responsibilities depends on the refugee newcomers’ family composition, their ages, educational needs and aspirations, and the specifics of the education system in the resettlement country. Sponsorship responsibilities may include:

  1. Assisting with enrollment of children in a local school and helping to access assessments.
  2. Researching programming specific to supporting refugee newcomer children that may exist in your community. This programming may be offered within schools or support service organizations.
  3. Discuss educational and employment goals of the adult members of the family. If needed, you can explore adult secondary schools, vocational training or higher education programs and learn about the registration process. Schools may require proof of some level of proficiency in the local language, so it would be important for the sponsorship group to consider how its plans for language training relate to and support its plans for secondary school access. 
  4. Contacting schools and the library to learn about their programming and extra academic support. 
  5. Contacting the school social worker, teacher, or principal/headmaster regarding specific issues as required. Such conversations are appropriate, for example, if the refugee newcomers are struggling to understand the coursework, or they are experiencing issues with other students like bullying or discrimination. If the sponsorship group learns about issues, it is important to discuss options with the refugee newcomers and to follow their lead on what steps to take, if any.
  6. Providing school supplies and school orientation for newcomers. Ensure these items, or funding for them, are reflected in the budget. 
  7. Reviewing school protocols with parents, if needed, like contacting the school if a child is absent.
  8. Providing or arranging for homework support, especially for children.

Recognizing Education Credentials

Sponsored refugee newcomers may need to have their credentials assessed to determine equivalence in the resettlement country. They may be disappointed to learn that their diplomas or educational credits are not fully recognized, requiring them to study for a longer period of time than if they were in their country of origin or asylum. This may compel some people to take supplementary courses to catch up in their educational pursuits, or even start anew. 

Similarly, foreign credential assessments may be important in order to access work in professions that are strictly regulated. Without credential assessments, refugee newcomers may not be able to work in the fields they have trained in before arriving in the country of resettlement. As such, your group may also wish to research the costs and processes of having foreign education credentials assessed and recognized.  

There may be alternative foreign credential assessment programs available in your country. These are programs to help refugee newcomers have their foreign credentials recognized when they are missing credentials documents, or when their documents are considered insufficient or unverifiable.



Education Scenario



You are responsible for educational support in your sponsorship group. You meet with Anthony, and his wife, Daniela, to discuss education opportunities. 

During the conversation, Anthony tells you that Daniela does not need to finish secondary school, that her priorities are to care for the children. Daniela remains quiet, but seems to agree with Anthony.

What guiding principles are useful to consider in this scenario?



Check In: What would you do?

Thinking about the how this scenario relates to managing expectations, considering culture, considering power, and privacy and confidentiality, in your training journal give a brief description of how you would address this situation.


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