The 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report has the theme ‘Migration, displacement and education: Building Bridges, Not Walls. Its underlying principle is to ‘leave no one behind’. The seven recommendations proposed, support the implementation of the Global Compact for Migrants (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR). It should be appreciated that adequate financing is required to realise this ambition. The recommendations are:
- Protect the right to education of migrants and displaced people.
- Include migrants and displace people in national education systems.
- Understand and plan for the education needs of migrants and displaced people.
- Represent migration and displacement histories in education accurately to challenge prejudices.
- Prepare teachers of migrants and refugees to address diversity and hardship.
- Harness the potential of migrants and displaced people.
- Support education needs of migrants and displaced people in humanitarian and development aid.
These are in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 – ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning’. Its aim is to trigger investment in robust national monitoring mechanisms of education, equity, inclusion and quality. Applying the recommendations in this report to Southeast Asian migrants could be possible via ASEAN cooperation and sharing of best practices. The main migrant-sending states in ASEAN (Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos) could start investing in early childhood education and promoting lifelong learning among return migrants. It has been found that the children of migrants are in mainstream education for a longer period of time. This could be due to remittances sent by migrants. One of the main reasons for human mobility is the desire of migrants to provide a better education for their children. The higher skilled migrants usually bring families along with them to the receiving state, which in turn has the responsibility of integrating migrant children into its education system. This could be a challenge in Thailand.
The most challenging prospect however is in ensuring that education is made available to the Rohingya children!