Refugee teenagers are ‘being lost’ in education system, new report finds
An empty classroom is seen in this undated file photo. (Source: iStock, DONGSEON_KIM)
WINNIPEG -- A new report suggests refugee teenagers and young adults who have their schooling interrupted, are facing challenges and language barriers, and are “being lost” in the education system.
The Newcomer Education Coalition refers to interrupted schooling as a student that is three or more years below their grade level. A new report, released Wednesday outlines the challenges these students face, and calls for more action to address them.
Nicole Jowett, a researcher with the coalition, said the research is focused on students between the ages of 15 to 21, which is the age limit for high school eligibility.
"The research aims to provide school divisions and other partners with constructive and community informed programming and policy ideas to address the needs of these youth," Jowett told CTV News.
She said these groups of students are small but they are a high-needs group, because they are behind in schooling and also trying to learn a new language, whether it be English or French.
Jowett noted the research has been supported by Immigration Partnership Winnipeg as well as the University of Winnipeg.
"Then that on top of the fact that when refugees come, often they face challenges of resettlement, specifically trauma, and poverty,” she said.
“So this group of youth who is at this in-between stage of being between basically childhood and adulthood, need to acquire these language, academic and literacy skills, but at the same time they face a lot of the pressures of adult responsibilities."
She added that with these adult responsibilities, they might have to work to earn an income and support their family.
According to Jowett, people that were talked to during the research, such as parents and educators, said these kids have a lot of strength, but they are also facing a lot of challenges and are “kind of being lost.”
The research is also looking at programming and policy ideas that school divisions and their partners can adopt to address the needs of the kids.
The report outlines three recommendations, which include:
• developing transitional programming options
• providing extended learning and extensive support, and opportunities for support
• developing collaborative partnerships
The report said while there is initial and ongoing positive programming in high schools to help these youths, more needs to be done to "strengthen and expand available programming and supports both within and beyond high schools," said the report.
Read the full report here: