A silver lining of forced migration: Investment in education

Angelita Kingston (Group 6)


Can the experience of being uprooted by force encourage people to invest in portable assets such as education? 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than 65 million people are currently displaced from their home regions as a result of interstate wars, civil conflict, or natural disasters. The trauma of forced migration leaves deep scars in the memory of those who have experienced it. Furthermore, this trauma can then resonate through subsequent generations and leave diverse and unexpected footprints across the lives of the descendants of those first forced from their homes (Becker, S. et al, 2020).

Children and youth affected by forced displacement are particularly vulnerable to losing their right to
quality education. A recent report by UNHCR on refugee education globally shows staggering
numbers: refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children.
There are around six million school-age refugees under UNHCR’s mandate. Only half of them access
primary education and 22 percent of refugee adolescents have the opportunity to attend lower
secondary education (G20, 2017). Academic economists have long entertained the idea that being uprooted by force or expropriated increases the subjective value of investing in portable assets, in particular in education (e.g. Brenner and Kiefer 1981). 

In his bestselling autobiographical novel A Tale of Love and Darkness, Amos Oz gives a testimony about his Aunt Sonia: Why is she a road sweeper? So as to keep two talented daughters at university… Food – they save on. Clothes – they save on those too. Accommodation – they all share a single room. All so that the studies and textbooks they won’t be short. They believed that education was an investment for the future, the only thing that no one can ever take away from your children, even if, Heaven forbid, there’s another war, another revolution, more discriminatory laws—your diploma you can always fold up quickly, hide it in the seams of your clothes, and run away to wherever you are allowed to live (Oz, 2005, p. 172).

While the international aid community does consider education as an important factor in reducing economic and social marginalization of refugees (G20 2017, UNICEF 2017), studies suggest that the benefits of providing schooling for forced migrants and their children may be even greater, and more persistent, than previously thought.


Becker, S. and Ferrara, A., 2019. Consequences of forced migration: A survey of recent findings. Labour Economics 59: 1–16.

Becker, S. et al, 2020. A silver lining of forced migration: Investment in education. https://voxeu.org/article/silver-lining-forced-migration-investment-education

G20 (2017) Theory and Policy – Education, Refugees and Development. Policy Brief 

Oz, A (2005), A Tale of Love and Darkness. Vintage Books, NY City, USA.

UNICEF (2017), Education Uprooted: For Every Migrant, Refugee and Displaced Child, Education, UNICEF.


Ukrainian Refugee Education

Nicholas Marinilli, Group 6

Media Source: Ukraine: UNESCO’s response to children’s education needs (United Nations, 2022)

Over 4 million people have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian War — half of those refugees are children. Ukraine’s total school-age population stands shy of 7 million students, meaning roughly 30% of Ukrainian children are currently going without their traditional education (United Nations, 2022). This humanitarian crisis has created an education crisis for Ukrainian refugees and the allies working to ensure their access to proper education and health services. The United Nations agency has said that the war has “calls for increased coordination of host countries, both within and outside the EU, to assist and integrate Ukrainian learners, teachers and education staff in national education systems” (UN, 2022). If Ukrainian refugees are to receive an education, it will require a collective effort on everyone’s part.

It is helpful to map how countries support the educational needs of Ukrainian refugees. It is crucial to know how learners become integrated into mainstream education, the language and curriculum considerations decided, the psychosocial support students may need, the training and accreditation teachers will need, and more (UN, 2022). As inclusion is at the heart of this educational and humanitarian crisis, most students begin with transition classes that provide language classes, familiarise students with their local education system, provide psychological support, and evaluate competencies. Students become integrated into regular classes once their language skills improve (UN, 2022).

A significant factor that impacts refugee education is the level of financial support they have when dealing with the educational needs and resources of the host country. During the Russo-Ukrainian War, many countries tried to offer financial support to Ukrainian refugees. For example, Austria, France, Hungary, Polan, and Romania have waived tuition and provided financial support services to recent Ukrainian refugees (UN, 2022). Some governments have developed financial measures to support the education response, such as extra-budgetary allocation. Financial assistance has been helpful for Ukrainian refugees — the opposite experience of Syrian refugees in Lebanon as they cannot afford to pay for the local education (Human Rights Watch, 2016).


Human Rights Watch (2016) “Growing Up Without an Education”: Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon.

United Nations. (2022). Ukraine: UNESCO’s response to children’s education needs. UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1115122

Equitable Access to Early Childhood Education (Group 6)

In Multnomah county, Portland Oregon, the very first Preschool for All application has just opened (Egener, 2022). According to Egener (2022), “The announcement marks a key milestone toward making tuition-free preschool available to all 3- and 4- year-olds in the county, as the Preschool for All measure provides. Voters overwhelmingly passed the measure in 2020 with 64% of the vote. It is funded by a personal income tax of 1.5 % on joint filers earning more than $200,000 and 3% on joint filers earning more than $400,000. The tax went into effect Jan. 1, 2021” (para. 3). Top priority is being given to low income families and notably “… migrant or refugee families, non-English speaking families” (Egner, 2022, para. 11). This is an incredibly positive shift in how early childhood education is approached and instrumental in supporting refugee and migrant students who are some of the most vulnerable nationwide. 

The State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child highlights some of the many reasons countries need to invest in quality early childhood education especially when supporting their most vulnerable populations. Rapid brain development during the first few years of children’s lives establishes an essential foundation. As noted in the report, “… early childhood offers a critical window of opportunity to break intergenerational cycles of inequity. Early childhood care, protection and stimulation can jumpstart brain development, strengthen children’s ability to learn, help them develop psychological resilience and allow them to adapt to change” (UNICEF, 2016, p. 50). As outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals, access to quality education begins in early childhood which is why it is so important to see how Preschool for All is being implemented (UNICEF, 2016). It is clear that, “To help children from poor and marginalized groups overcome the disadvantages they start out with, early childhood care and universal pre-primary education should be priorities” (UNICEF, 2016, p. 65). Equitable access to early childhood education is paramount in supporting  the growth and development of our communities worldwide. 


Egner, M. (2022, April 4). Multnomah county families can apply for free preschool this month. The outlook. https://pamplinmedia.com/go/42-news/541399-433485-multnomah-county-families-can-apply-for-free-preschool-this-month

UNICEF. (2016). The State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child. New York: UNICEF.

Module 10 Media Reflection

This article showcases data that displays that the immigrants that are moving to the United States are becoming more skilled and educated.  The article breaks down different immigrant groups that can be found in the United States and shows the data related to the individual groups.  It begins by acknowledging that immigrants in the U.S. are significantly less likely to be employed in high skilled jobs when compared to their U.S. born counterparts.  The author establishes the different skill groups that are part of high skill jobs as social skills, fundamental skills, analytical skills, managerial skills, and mechanical skills.  Next the author compares data from 1995 about the immigrant populations working in jobs within these skill groups to data from 2018.  Here it is evident that there has been growth in immigrants working in jobs that require these skills over these 23 years.  Mechanical skills are the only area that there was not a growth from 1995 to 2018.  This is explained, “this move toward high-skill occupations is due in part to a rising level of education among immigrants overall. In 2018, 34% of immigrants ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or more education, up from 22% in 1995” (Bennett, 2020).  The last section of the article analyzes employment in highly skilled jobs based on the racial groups of immigrants.  This section is particularly interesting because it shows that in the United States Asian and White immigrants are more likely to work in non-mechanical high-skill jobs.  This section also discusses that Hispanic immigrants are more likely to be employed in lower skilled non-mechanical jobs.  

This research connects to many of the topics that came up in the video Migration Inside and Outside Africa by Al Jazeera.  During this conversation, the presenters spoke several times about how the skills of a workforce impact migration patterns.  During this discussion, one of the presenters said, “economic growth requires skilled migrants” (Al Jazeera).  This shows the importance of creating a skilled group of workers, that includes immigrants.   The panel speaks extensively about how education and skills development are important to create a thriving economy that is inclusive of immigrants.  They also spoke about creating jobs with different skill requirements within their countries so that they can utilize people who have different skill backgrounds.  It seems that these ideas could be applied in the U.S. as well.  In the U.S. it seems that we need to continue developing our education and skills development programs for immigrants so that they can find meaningful employment that will be able to support them and their families.  It seems that it is especially important to be creating these opportunities for Black and Hispanic immigrants, as they are the groups that seem to be facing the most challenges in accessing skill development programs and finding highly skilled jobs.

11.3 Media Reflection


Heidi Ostbo Haugen and Tabitha Speelman’s  article “China’s Rapid Development Has Transformed Its Migration Trends,” discusses the internal migration trends of China and the role that the history of socioeconomic reforms play in the increase. According to Ostbo Haugen and Speelman (2022), “The story of China’s mobility boom starts at home, with millions of internal migrants moving from the country’s rural interior to the coastal areas, where they have contributed to the country’s urbanization and export-driven manufacturing growth.” The 2020 census identified nearly 376 million people lived someplace other than their household registration areas. This change in location has caught China’s attention and caused it to analyze more about these changes. 

Ostbo Haugen and Speelman also discuss how China’s strict family planning policies from the 1980s has had an impact on the reasoning behind why there are smaller working groups entering the labor force. Ostbo Haugen and Speelman state that “labor shortages did not drive the surge in international migration to China in this period, and little precedent or regulation exists for the immigration of unskilled workers. Instead, increased immigration was a result of new professional, commercial, and educational opportunities in China.” The ever changing population contributes to the socioeconomic status of the country. 

When I came across this article it really connected to the material we read and analyzed in the module. With an increase of humans there is the need to change or adjust infrastructure to the area. In Internal migration within China, Australian Geography Teachers Association states that “When populations migrate there is a changed demand on infrastructure in both the place they emigrate from and the place they immigrate to.” This reminds us to always have a global perspective when considering important decisions for major groups of people. Constant changes in populations, as seen in China, requires meeting the ever changing needs of the population. 


Australian Geography Teachers Association (2013) Internal migration within China. Educational     resource authored for Teachers and Students F-10.

Ostbo Haugen, Heidi and Speelman, Tabitha. (2022, January 28) China’s Rapid Development Has Transformed Its Migration Trends. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/china-development-transformed-migration

DACA recipient: Expand tuition equity for immigrants to turbocharge Georgia’s economy

For all college bound students, but in particular immigrant students, access to education is vital to support the local and national economy. Undocumented and DACA students face significant challenges when considering college as an avenue to economic mobility. Most often, immigrant youth are having to find ways to provide means to a decent way of life but only at a basic level of survival. Here we learn about Emmanuel Diaz and his affinity to his home state of Georgia. The argument to improve the economic status within the host country inspires his advocacy for tuition equity.

State policies that address college tuition access for immigrant students vary across the country. Emmanuel finds himself living in one of the most restrictive states which prohibit financial aid support and enrollment to public institutions of higher education. The U.S. is the host country to high numbers of immigrants, trending at approximately 427,000 plus immigrant students (Higher Ed Immigration Portal, 2022). There is a clear opportunity to develop policies that support economic mobility for immigrant youth. The states that are home to the most immigrants (California, Texas, Florida) have supportive policies that provide either or both access to college enrollment and financial aid support, but those state are few in number (Higher Ed Immigration Portal, 2022).

As transnationalism occurs as a global movement, laws and policies interfere with this process. Across the readings, we learn that the solutions that will alleviate these educational access challenges are restricted by policies. Fassin writes to the “promise versus the reality” of immigration: the pursuit of a better life at the expense of racialization connected to one’s immigrant identity (2011). Bias is further perpetuated with bias regarding immigrant students who do not access to continue their education. Similar to the global south immigrant movement, South Africa’s Bill of Rights functions to that of the United States’ version of the Higher Education Act of 1965 by way of granting “the right to basic education” for all students (Crush and Tawodzera, 2013). Emmanuel’s story is one of thousands and he makes the valid point of the missed opportunity for the state of Georgia to strengthen its economic wealth.


Crush, J., & Tawodzera, G. (2013). The perilous trek: Zimbabwean migrant children and teachers in South Africa. In Refugees, Immigrants, and Education in the Global South (pp. 66-81). Routledge.

Fassin, D. (2011). Policing borders, producing boundaries. The governmentality of immigration in dark times. Annual Review of Anthropology, 40, 213-226.

Higher Ed Immigration Portal. (2022, April 7). Portal to the States. https://www.higheredimmigrationportal.org/states/

11.3 Media Reflection

‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uyghurs

Upon reading Charlotte Goodburn’s arcticle and learning about the discriminatory practices used in China’s state school system, I wanted to further explore this country’s educational practices. I came across an article about a much more intense form of minority discrimination, which the Chinese government has coined the “re-education” of Uyghurs. 

The Uyghur population is a minority group from the Xinjiang region annexed in 1955 (Haitiwaji & Morgat, 2021). Since then, the Uyghurs have been discriminated against based on views of the Han majority (Haitiwaji & Morgat, 2021). To control the Uyghur population, the Han-run Chinese government has created “re-education” programs. This article details one woman’s experience in this “program,” which should be reclassified as a “camp.”

Gulbahar Haitiwaji, a member of the Uyghur minority, fled to France with her family in 2006. Ten years later, Haitiwaji was called and asked to return to China to sign certain documents. Upon returning, she was imprisoned for five months and then moved to a re-education “school” in the Baijiantan district. While there, she was forced to do unimaginable things:

We were ordered to deny who we were. To spit on our own traditions, our beliefs. […] I was held in Baijiantan for two years. During that time, everyone around me […] tried to make me believe […] that [Uyghurs] are terrorists.

(Haitiwaji & Morgat, 2021)

Learning about these “re-education” camps is horrifying, especially because this has all happened within the past six years. Although not as extreme, the contents of Goodburn’s article mirror a similar phenomenon for migrant children in Beijing. These children are discriminated against simply because of their rural background. The hukou system from the 1950s has continued to create “a ‘caste-like system of social stratification’ between urbanites and rural peasants,” (Goodburn, 2009, p.495) excluding migrant children from state schools. This discrimination “is fundamental to shaping the lives, and particularly the educational experiences, of migrant children in urban areas” (Goodburn, 2009, p.496), which connects to the Uyghur population’s experiences.


Goodburn, C. (2009). Learning from migrant education: A case study of the schooling of rural
migrant children in Beijing. International Journal of Educational Development, 20(5),

Haitiwaji, G. & Morgat, R. (2021, January 2021). ‘Our soles are dead’: how I survived a Chinese
‘re-education’ camp for Uyghurs. The Guardian


“El Futuro is Now:  Is Catholic higher education ready for the growing Hispanic community?”

This article considers the state of Catholic higher education in the United States in regard to the growing Hispanic/Latinx population and makes the assessment that Catholic higher education is unprepared for and oblivious to the demographic shift.

By the year 2036, Bravo believes that 30% of the high school graduates in the United States will be Hispanic.  Pointing out that of the 226 Catholic colleges and universities in the US, 32 are classified as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) and 36 are classified as emerging HSI, he poses the question, “will we respond and be intentional about welcoming, integrating and celebrating our growing Hispanic student population?”

Public discourse on Catholic identity is often exclusive and “fails to include a multicultural, multiracial, panethnic people of God,” he asserts. The anti-Hispanic sentiment and lack of representation in education deserves reflection and a thoughtful response.  A culturally responsible ministry and representation within the classroom is needed.

This article echoed some of the discrimination outlined in this week’s readings involving immigrants’ experiences of exclusion and marginalization due to race, language, and social policy.  Bartlett (2011) discusses findings that immigrant children often attend lower quality schools and shares that the language hierarchy and language education policy makes a difference in the effectiveness of education for immigrants. Haitian students living in the Dominican Republic shared the difficulties of obtaining documentation and fees to access education, and they also suggested that their race and language accents affected their treatment within the schools (Bartlett, 2011).  This discussion correlates with the discussion of prevalent xenophobia within South Africa expressed in the Al Jazeera video.  

At the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the belief that every human being is made in the image of God.  We know that education greatly impacts one’s ability to live a good, right life.  Bravo calls on the Catholic Church, and Catholic colleges and universities in particular, to consider who we are and whose we are, asking, “will we continue to passively allow the demographic shifts to shape higher education, or, will we meet this moment intentionally?”  

Al Jazeera (n.d) Migration Inside and Outside of Africa.

Bartlett, L. (2011) ‘South-south migration and education: The case of people of Haitian 

descent born in the Dominican Republic’. In Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education 

Vol.42 No.3 [pp.1-22].

Media Reflection 10.3- South to South Migration and Education

According to the Population Reference Bureau, African cross-border migration is not well recorded or often talked about (PRB, 2013). However, looking at the image I shared, there seems to be a lot to discuss particularly in regard to how economics influences/impacts the patterns of internal African migration. For instance, the image shows how Southern Africa is experiencing shifts in population due to people leaving in search of more opportunity in richer countries while also receiving an influx of less wealthy migrants in search of jobs. Specifically, people who are leaving know that they must find jobs beyond that of an agricultural position if they want to be paid more and are aware that cities away from the rural south tend to have more schooling opportunities for children (Adepoju, 2008). In terms of the people heading South, many of them, regardless of how low the pay may be, know that jobs in rural areas are more available as agriculture requires many laborers (Adepoju, 2008). 

Interestingly, the largest internal migrant flows within their own respective regions were found in Central, West, and East Africa. Most people within those areas are moving around but not venturing outside to other countries or regions of Africa. East Africa seemed to have the most migrants staying within the region and according to Gandhi (2018), this could be related to East Africa having “several smaller economic corridors with migrants moving around the East African Community (EAC) countries, largely due to relaxed labor laws for migrants from EAC countries.” 

Looking at this image, I think it highlights the push and pull factors of both demographic and economic inequalities that contribute to the various movements within Africa, but also hints at how something such as rapid flow of information allows people to know what areas may or may not provide what they need (PRB, 2013) Additionally, it is important to keep in mind what we have learned about the role of “choice” in these movements and consider how mobility is being defined within in these migration patterns (Kumar & Moledina, 2017.)

Gandhi, D. (2018) Figures of the week: Internal migration in Africa. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from Brookings website: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2018/06/07/figures-of-the-week-internal-migration-in-africa/

Des Voyageurs

Artist Bruno Catalano beautifully captures the plight of migrants whether they are North-North, North-South, or South-South migrants (Leal & Harder, 2021). Each sculpture depicts a person traveling. The suitcase they carry represents their hopes and dreams for the future as they venture to a new place. However, each sculpture appears as the core of the person has vanished representing how after arriving in the place of their hopes and dreams they never feel fully complete. As seen in the Migration Inside and Outside Africa video (Aljazeera, 2015) many Somalis and people from Mozambique arrive in South Africa with hopes and dreams for a better life, but are frequently met with disputes from South Africans and the difficulty of acquiring jobs, all while being far away from a familiar place. While many people travel as a way of learning cultures and exploring the world, migration comes with deeper levels of trauma both from sending and receiving countries. In the sending country, people may be facing conflict, government corruption, drought, famine or many other things that can cause an unstable living environment. However, in the receiving country, they are met with discrimination, forced assimilation, and people that do not understand their background or culture. The sculptures that Catalano erects represent the hopes and dreams for something better while also losing part of oneself in the migration journey.

The article I am sharing is written in French, but within the article there is a video with English subtitles sharing a bit of Catalano’s story. He was born in Morocco and spent time growing up in Italy and France, but never truly felt he belonged anywhere.


Leal, D.F., Harder, N.L. (2021) ‘Global dynamics of international migration systems across South-South, North-North, and North-South flows, 1990-2015’ In Applied Network Science Vol.6 No.8

Aljazeera (13 Jun 2015) Migration inside and outside of Africa [Film]. Aljazeera