Urgent measures for the welcoming of refugees in education (09/24/2015)

In the context of the actual refugee crisis, the Vlor has published a recommendation on measures needed for the education sector, so that education can take its responsibility towards refugees, in the short and the longer term.

Education is a human right; good reception education is a task for all schools

A good start in the Flemish education system is crucial for the refugees who are arriving today, for their further school career and for their integration in our society. Our Flemish education system has a long and strong tradition in the field of reception education for newly arrived migrants. Good reception education is embedded in any school culture where wellbeing, physical and mental health, and a secure school climate are important.

Challenges are at the same time opportunities

The quickly growing diversity of our society offers challenges and opportunities. Teachers, guidance services, parents, pupils… have a lot of questions on how education should react on the diverse linguistic, cultural, social and religious backgrounds of the learners. Facing the refugee crisis, our education institutions have to engage, but need to be able to count on support, expertise, capacity and a flexible legislative framework.

Need for extra measures on the short term

Exceptional circumstances ask for exceptional measures. In the short term, awareness raising and support for schools is needed, with extra information and training, incentives for cooperation with other education institutions and with health and welfare organizations. Expertise has to be enhanced in a sustainable way, with extra staff if needed. Work has to be done in the field of extra capacity, spreading across schools and regions, possibility to adapt legislation (quicker programming procedures, quicker procedures for the recognition of prior learning, …)