4 October 2019
The International Scientific Conference “Life Strategies and Mobility of Youth in Central Asia: Challenges, Prospects and Potential” launched the 2019 UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (2019 GEM Report) on “Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges, not walls” in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on 19 September. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan organized the conference.It gathered different participants from ministries of education and of labour, NGO representatives, and members from the academia as well as other stakeholders from Central Asia.
The main aim of the event was to present results of a research on youth migration in Central Asia, led by IOM in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
To complement this research’s results, UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office presented the 2019 GEM Report, which focused on migration and displacement as well as its implications to education system globally, including Central Asia. The presentation brought attention of the stakeholders to main findings of the report, which highlighted multiple links between education and migration.
Migration and displacement put pressure on education systems, including increasing a number of refugee and migrant children in the world and a growth of urbanization leading to a closing of schools in rural areas and thus, leaving children behind.
Education is often central to people’s decisions to move. It is also vital for improving the extent to which host communities welcome migrants and strengthening migrants and refugees’ sense of belonging. Education can challenge stereotypes and help people face the unknown.
In Central Asia, both internal and external migration leaves an impact on education systems, where half of population is young people. For example, among Central Asian countries, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are among the countries where emigration rates exceed 5% of the population. Most of emigrants seeking jobs in Russia are often left without education opportunities. In Kazakhstan, almost half of schools in rural areas are multi-graded, where children of different age sit in one classroom, caused by urbanization among other issues. School officials in Uzbekistan often require proof of residency, a passport and command of the national language before enrolment, which creates barriers to access education for people without documents or permanent residence.
Key messages addressed at this conference were:
• People on the move are often denied their right to an education, often because of a lack of paperwork.
• Immigrants are often discriminated against in education and when it comes to finding work, are wasting their potential.
• Education systems have not adapted to fast moving internal migration and to meet needs of those perpetually on the move such as nomads or pastoralists.
• Teachers are expected to be superhuman, managing multi-lingual, multicultural classrooms and children facing trauma, but their training and teaching materials have not kept up with the times.
• There is a new momentum to improve how included refugees and migrants are in education, which we must seize upon (The two new global compacts are being finalized and to be signed by almost all countries: the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and the Global Compact on Refugees).
• This momentum must be used to fill the remaining two thirds of the funding gap for refugee education.
As a result, the event raised awareness related to these important messages and urged different government and non-government stakeholders, including education policy-makers, to implement the report’s recommendations.
Media coverage of the event