Imagining the Future through Refugee Education: Tensions between policy and practice

Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Session: January 19, 10:10-10:30AM

Separate schools for refugees were, until recently, the norm in neighboring host countries, where 86 percent of refugees globally live. Since 2012, global policy has focused on integrating refugees into national education systems, with 11 of the 14 largest refugee-hosting nation-states adopting this model by 2014. This policy of integration reflects the reality that displacement is protracted and return to a country of origin is elusive. The practice of integration of refugees reflects a different reality, often filled with bullying, isolation, and exclusion. My comments will explore the tension between the stability a model of integration of refugees into national education systems promises and the precarity it creates. In particular, I will address how refugees’ daily experiences in classrooms place them outside of current membership in society and add to their uncertainty about the links between education and their imagined futures.