American Sociological Association

The Purposes of Refugee Education: Policy and Practice of Including Refugees in National Education Systems

This article explores the understood purposes of refugee education at global, national, and school levels. To do so, we focus on a radical shift in global policy to integrate refugees into national education systems and the processes of vernacularization accompanying its widespread implementation. We use a comparative case study approach; our dataset comprises global policy documents and original interviews (n = 147) and observations in 14 refugee-hosting nation-states. We analyze how the purposes of refugee education are understood and acted upon by actors occupying diverse positions across these nation-states and over time. We demonstrate that the articulated purposes of refugee education are oriented toward possible futures for refugees, and they presuppose refugees’ access to quality education, social belonging, and economic opportunities. Yet we find that across nation-states of exile, refugees’ access to these resources is tenuous. Our findings suggest reconceptualizing refugee education to reflect how refugees are simultaneously embedded within multiple national contexts and to address the exclusions they face within each one. This study of refugee education has implications for understanding the purposes of education in other ever-more-common contexts of uncertainty, including the rapid economic and social changes brought about by migration, globalization, and technology. Empirically, understanding the purposes of refugee education is critical in a time of unprecedented forced migration.

Authors

Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Elizabeth Adelman, Michelle J. Bellino, and Vidur Chopra

Volume

92

Issue

4

Starting Page

346

Ending Page

366