Education is a human right and a public good helping to enable people at all stages in their lives to achieve their maximum potential. This includes the right to learn and right to teach for refugees and migrants in every corner of the world.

June 20th is an important day to recognise the hardships and challenges refugees have been through and celebrate their strength and courage. It is also imperative to continue to advocate that they are treated with dignity and demand the full respect of their human rights by governments, political actors and national institutions.
Educators on all continents have been on the foreground of refugee and migrant issues, as migrants and refugees themselves and as teachers and support personnel working to create welcoming schools and safe environments for all learners. 

This year in conjunction with World Refugee Day, Education International and a consortium of 10 partners, launches “Resilient teachers, students and education systems in South Sudan and Uganda” (BRICE), a project funded by the European Commission and led by Oxfam IBIS.

Safe, quality education for all learners

The project, which will be implemented from 2018 to 2022 in South Sudan and Uganda, will contribute to improved access and completion of safe quality education for learners in fragile and crisis-affected environments through the delivery of safe quality education models and continuous in-service professional development, as well as multi-stakeholder dialogue and data collection.

Civil war and violent conflicts in South Sudan have totaled close to 2.2 million refugees. The majority of South Sudanese refugees have fled to Uganda where the current number is close to 1.03 million. An average 2,000 refugees cross to Uganda every day and over 60 percent of the new arrivals are children.

More than 85 percent of the total south Sudanese refugee population are women and children who need education, as well as child protection and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) prevention. In total, there are 1.8 million children out of school in South Sudan. In this project, Education International will lead the global advocacy strategy and coordinate the teacher’s professional development in Uganda.

The rights of refugee children and teachers

More than 1,000 teachers will benefit from professional development support and around 100 politicians and officials will be invited to participate in a dialogue on how to improve conditions and access to education for children and teachers in conflict affected areas.

Over the past few years, Education International and affiliates have been developing numerous activities to fulfil the rights of refugee children and teachers worldwide and facilitate their integration in their host education system.

Capacity building, research, including the compilation study Education: Hope for Newcomers in Europe and advocacy activities co-funded by OSF, have been carried out in nine European countries since 2016.

In Jordan and Lebanon, training activities were implemented with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. A regional workshop was also held in Addis Ababa in September 2017 and several affiliates from African countries have started developing work in this area.

Manning was named National Teacher of the Year in the United States. She has taught English and math at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, for seven years, and her refugee students come from countries all over the world, including Syria, Mexico, and Sudan. While her students don’t often feel safe in the current political climate, Manning has helped transform her school by providing a welcoming and supportive environment. Manning is an active member of her local and state union and serves on the executive committee of the Washington Education Association. Here come a few highlights from her conversation with National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García on 11 June 2018 [1].

"I’ve learned how to be fearless from my students. I teach immigrant refugee students. My students have gone through unspeakable circumstances to come to the United States, a nation that gives them hope to be someone. I watch their innate hopefulness and fearlessness in coming into this new community, a community that in many ways has not welcomed them. They come to school everyday; they’re focused, they’re dedicated, they’re committed to their dreams, and becoming productive members of society and citizens. So, all I have to do is look at them, and they teach me how to be fearless.

Our current administration has not been welcoming to my students, and I wanted to ensure my students that I was [meeting Trump at the White House] for them. There was a question: Should I go? And they all said, unanimously, “Yes. Because he needs to know about us.” And so we sat down and we had the students write letters about their journeys to the United States and what it meant to them: their dreams and hopes, and how they want to give back to the United States. There was also advice for our current president on how he can help improve their lives in the United States, like using supportive language that doesn’t diminish them as whole groups of people. (…)

Everytime educators leave the classroom in order to advocate collectively, our love for our students is used against us. Sometimes, we have to leave the classroom to get the things we need for our kids, because at the heart of every teacher is our students. At the heart of every decision is what our students need. It’s very comfortable to be in our classrooms. But, (…) ‘Life happens outside your comfort zone.’ We have to be willing to get uncomfortable and face some of that negative messaging that we might receive in order to really make deep impacts on what we know is best for kids.

If the decisions that are being made are negatively impacting our kids, we cannot sit idly by, even if it means we’re going to face challenges in the community. Because ultimately, if students truly make up the foundation of our arguments about why we are outside the classroom advocating, no one can argue with us."

[1] The full video of the Facebook live is available here.

The conference “Esperienze e proposte per l’apprendimento dell’Italiano L2 nelle classi multilingue e multiculturali” held in Castellammare del Golfo on 30 may 2018 brought together 80 participants to discuss experiences and proposals on ways to improve education for newcomers, with a focus on teaching Italian as a second language in a multilingual and multicultural context.

In particular, the outcomes and deliverables (online language courses) of the project “Una lingua per il lavoro” carried out with financial support from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF 2014-2020) were presented. Through this project, Trapani’s Adult Learning Center joined forces with local partners (Istituto Comprensivo S. Bagolino and two associations), to develop specialized language training courses associated with introductory vocational training modules, building upon activities initiated in 2016-17 with support from Education International and IRASE-UIL Scuola. 

Representatives from the university Ca’ Foscari of Venezia and the University of Palermo confronted their experiences with regards to reaching out to female migrants and developing language training modules in migrants’ mother tongues. 

Sonia Grigt, author of “The Journey of Hope: Education for refugee and unaccompanied children in Italy”, presented the outcomes and recommendations formulated by Education International on refugees’ education both at national and European levels, building upon the activities carried out with affiliates throughout Europe and Italy since 2016. She insisted in particular on the different aspects of inclusion in education and measures needed beyond intensive language courses, the necessity to coordinate amongst the various concerned actors in the field (local authorities, accommodation centres, etc.), to disseminate and sistematise good practices developed locally and finally, to design sustainable and predictable funding mechanisms for schools and educational institutions in order to be able to develop comprehensive and long-term integration strategies. Copies of the EI report were handed over to key stakeholders participating in the event.



Mandy Manning, an English and math teacher and a member of the NEA, serving on the executive committee of the Spokane Education Association, was named the 2018 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief School State Officers (CCSSO) in the USA.

She has been teaching at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School for seven years where students come from a variety of regions and countries: Syria, Chuuk, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Myanmar, Sudan, Mexico, and Tanzania. Her approach to teaching newcomers goes far beyond students’ academic success. Considering the hostile political climate and the fear and anxiety that newly arrived students may experience as a result, she stresses the importance of “helping them understand current events, know their rights, and providing a safe and welcoming environment”. According to the executive director of CCSSO, Mandy Manning embodies the “dedication and spirit (…) that every student in this country deserves”.

Building upon teaching experiences in different countries around the world, Mandy Manning privileges a global perspective in her teaching and a student-centered approach. During this year, she wants to “engage the nation in a conversation about how we can encourage students to experience things outside of their understanding” and “inspire educators and students to see potential in every voice and opportunity in every classroom.”

Mandy Manning is also deeply involved in her local and state union. National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García called her “a shining example of how teachers transform the lives of their students every day, engaging them and creating enthusiasm for learning…. Mandy sees no barriers—only bridges.”



Liberia’s request for Nigerian teachers under the Technical Assistance Corps agreement has been met with condemnation of the Nigerian authorities by education unions, arguing that Nigeria itself is struggling to deliver quality education.

Nigerian education unions have highlighted their country’s shortage of teachers and struggle to ensure quality education. The reaction was prompted by a request for over 6,000 teachers from the newly inaugurated President of Liberia, George Weah, during a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari. Weah said the issues inherited by his government could only be tackled with assistance from countries like Nigeria.

The Liberian president identified youth unemployment and the need to revive the education, agriculture, mining and health sectors as some of the urgent problems facing his country. He told his Nigerian counterpart that “your sustained technical assistance for capacity building in these sectors is most welcome.

More specifically, under the Bilateral Teacher Exchange programme, we are seeking 6,000 more teachers to make up for the shortage of good teachers in our educational system.”

NUT: Address issues at home 

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) insisted that “the country does not have enough teachers to go around and the union has still not come to an agreement with the government over the issue of salaries”.

In fact, Nigeria still needs to find a solution concerning 25,000 teachers in Kaduna, in North-West Nigeria, who were fired because they could not pass tests the government forced them to take, said Kalaama Toinpre, Chairman of the Bayelsa State NUT branch. 

The Nigerian government should employ quality teachers in schools without such teachers, take adequate care of its teachers, and tackle the myriad of problems undermining the education sector, instead of sending Nigerian teachers work abroad, he added.

“Our schools are suffering; even some subjects do not have teachers. The country cannot take adequate care of its teachers and they are talking about sending them abroad to teach,” he said.