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How do teachers learn to teach? My guests today, Maria Teresa Tatto and Ian Menter, discuss the many paths to become a teacher in England and the USA and the policy environment that is shaping current practice.

Learning to be a teacher, they argue, requires much more than simply having a lot of content knowledge. Just because you may know math really well does not mean that you would be a good math teach. Teaching is a skill that must be systematically learned and practiced.

Together with Katharine Burn, Trevor Mutton, and Ian Thompson, Teresa and Ian have a new co-written book entitled Learning to Teach in England and the United States: The Evolution of Policy and Practice, which was published by Routledge earlier this year.

Maria Teresa Tatto is Professor in the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University, and the Southwest Borderlands Professor of Comparative Education at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Ian Menter is Emeritus Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Citation: Tatto, Maria Teresa & Menter, Ian, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 109, podcast audio, March 26, 2018. https://freshedpodcast.com/tatto-menter/

Will Brehm 2:00
Maria Teresa Tatto and Ian Menter, welcome to FreshEd.

Maria Teresa Tatto 2:03
Thank you, Will. I’m very happy to be here talking with you about our book.

Ian Menter 2:09
And so am I. I happen to be in Arizona with Maria Teresa at the moment. So, we’re close together but talking to you quite a long way away.

Will Brehm 2:19
I want to jump into your new book -congratulations, by the way. You know, thinking about the different pathways that one can become a teacher in England and the USA. So, you know, what are the different ways that people become teachers in England?

Ian Menter 2:35
Well, in England, traditionally, during the second half of the 20th century, they would apply to a university or college and seek to enter either a one-year graduate program, or a three or four-year degree program, and qualify as a teacher if they got through that program successfully. But over the last 20 or 30 years, we’ve seen many new pathways opening up, some of which don’t involve universities in the way that the traditional programs did. And some of which are actually employment-based, so that beginning teachers are employed by a school rather than being registered with a university. And so, in fact, a colleague of ours calculated that there are now 38 different ways in which you can become a teacher in England. So, it’s quite a myriad of routes compared with what it was in the last part of the 20th century.

Will Brehm 3:41
And how does that compare to the USA?

Maria Teresa Tatto 3:44
In the US, in contrast with England, close to 80% of those who want to become teachers enroll in traditional routes in colleges of education in higher education institutions. In the mid-1990s, the so-called alternative routes began to emerge. And we now have about 20% of the teachers who become teachers enroll in those routes. For example, the most notable are Teach for America, or the ABCTE program of the program of the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence and also the TNTP Teaching Fellows, for instance, they operate in several states in the US. There are other more local programs, but you know, in general, to answer your question, most still enroll and become teachers through traditional routes.

Will Brehm 4:46
And so, these alternative routes like Teach for America, this is where one would receive a teaching certification outside of teacher colleges?

Maria Teresa Tatto 4:58
Well, some Teach for America students cooperate with colleges so that there is joint collaboration there. However, there are other possibilities in which there is a short period of preparation in comparison to traditional routes. And people can become certified to become a teacher.

Ian Menter 5:23
In England, the situation is quite similar in that, in most routes, although there are a great number of them. Most routes have some involvement of a university or a higher education institution. There are very few teachers still who actually qualify without any engagement with higher education. But the kind of proportional contribution of higher education has been reduced on a number of these new routes.

Will Brehm 5:54
And is there something like Teach for America in England?

Ian Menter 5:59
Yes, indeed. We have our very own Teach First program, which started in 2002 and has expanded steadily since then. It was originally modeled on Teach for America but is quite different in many particular respects. It is taking now, somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 entrants every year. It is moved into the primary school sector as well as the secondary school sector. But it retains its original aim of placing bright, young trainee teachers in schools, which are facing major challenges and seeking not only to produce great teachers, but to have an impact on those schools and improve the quality of education there. So, it’s always been an ambitious program. And there have been some very successful teachers who have emerged from it. But it has quite seriously challenged the role of the university in preparing people for teaching.

Will Brehm 7:08
Overall, are people who are joining the teaching force, is that number increasing or decreasing in the USA and in England?

Maria Teresa Tatto 7:17
In the US, it’s decreasing. I will quote something from a national survey of college freshmen. In 2016, the number of students who say they would major in education has reached its lowest point in 45 years. Just 4.2% intend to major in education, which is a typical first step to becoming a teacher, compared to 11% in the year 2000, 10% in 1990, and 11% in 1971. So, this is a decrease in part due to conditions in schools after number of reforms that have made testing mandatory and have introduced accountability models in schools. Teachers seem to be very stressed about the situation and change actually the working conditions that they have in schools.

Ian Menter 8:24
And in England, we are currently facing a decline in the number of people applying for teaching. Indeed, the government is continuing to spend quite a lot of money on promoting teaching as a profession with national advertising campaigns. I mean, the common view held by many teachers and by the teacher unions is that potential applicants have increasingly been put off the idea of teaching, because of the policy changes that have impacted on the profession, including some of the same things that Teresa was just talking about. I mean, the amount of bureaucracy now in teaching, the amount of testing, the amount of inspection, all these things are creating a workload, which is not only very large, but it’s also fairly stressful. And so, unfortunately, we are seeing a number of people not applying who might otherwise. But then, of course, I expect you’re going to ask us, Will, about the retention as well because that’s become a big issue as well. Gatekeeping people in the profession once they have joined it.

Will Brehm 9:38
So, what are the retention numbers in the profession?

Ian Menter 9:41
Well, in England, we have had some fairly horrendous figures recently about the number of people who are no longer in the profession five years after qualifying. It’s approaching 50% of those who enter a teacher education course will have left, will not be in teaching five years after completing their teacher education program. Which, of course, is a hugely expensive undertaking. It means a lot of money is really being wasted. But it’s a sad reflection of how people are not finding teaching to be the kind of fulfilling occupation that they had hoped for.

Maria Teresa Tatto 10:28
Yeah, this question is similar in the US. About 50% of the people who graduate from programs stay in the teaching profession after 3-5 years of teaching. And this is worse in the areas that we call STEM, where people have opportunities to go and get better and higher-paid positions with the kind of knowledge that they have. If they are good in math and science, they are likely to be able to get into better careers, and they are better remunerated.

Will Brehm 11:07
Is this simply a function of the policy reforms that have happened? You know, focusing on accountability and teaching to the test?

Ian Menter 11:15
Well, in the case of England, I don’t think it’s the only factor. I mean, there’s pay as well. And teachers pay has not kept pace with inflation, for example. And so, there’s been some disenchantment around pay levels. But more generally, I think we have to look at the wider economic situation. And Teresa just mentioned, people who have degrees, for example, in science or mathematics, being able to find more lucrative and probably less stressful occupations outside of teaching. This is similar in England. People are able to make choices. And if there are opportunities that will reduce the stress or pay better, then I am afraid people may go for it. This all sounds very negative; I realize that. But we must balance it partially by saying, in spite of these factors, there are people in the profession who are actually enjoying their work and are doing a very good job. People who have found ways of living with the demands, contemporary demands of the profession, and still find it fulfilling, partly through promoting their subject, I guess, in particularly in secondary or high schools. But also, through the fulfillment of actually feeling they’re making some kind of difference for the young people that they’re teaching. So, let’s not all be doom and gloom. We just have to find ways of making it more possible for more of the people who are entering the profession to get that kind of fulfillment out of their work.

Maria Teresa Tatto 12:59
I think, in the US, while policy had the effect of introducing increased assessment, you know, testing of pupils and heavy demands in teachers work, it also had the unfortunate effect of changing public opinion about the worth and value of teachers to the point in which that public opinion does also have an influence on how teachers themselves perceive their work to be. However, I agree with Ian in terms of the large number of teachers who are in schools doing a good job and enjoying teaching. But when you talk to teachers, and the teachers in our book, there are several trends that you can see. And some of those trends are the workload, and the compliance with the standards, and having to prepare pupils for the test, which seems to waste some of the enjoyment of teaching. You know, the discovery, creativity, and so on, that teachers enjoy doing with their students.

Ian Menter 14:19
Our book is based on work in England and in the USA. But if you do look at some other countries, it is clear that it doesn’t have to be like this. And the example that most people refer to is Finland, where there can be up to 10 people applying for one place on a teacher education program. And that seems to relate very much to the point that Teresa has just made about the public standing of the teaching profession. Teaching is a very highly regarded profession in Finland. It is a profession that can only be entered through a master’s level entry program, which will involve sustained study in university as well as sustained experience in a school setting. So, you know, there are some significant international differences and comparisons to be made. And England and USA probably have more similarities in this respect than they have differences, and we have to look elsewhere to see some other examples of how things could be different.

Maria Teresa Tatto 15:32
Yeah, as an example, and just to say a little bit more, this policy of No Child Left Behind did change the idea about what a qualified teacher means. And basically, by changing that idea, which, you know, the policy defined a qualified teacher as somebody who knows the subject very well, and the assumption is that they can go into schools and teach. People who entered the profession under that model do not need to have long years of experience in the school. For example, the internship that teachers get in universities. Or they don’t need to have large introduction to psychology, to the pedagogical techniques, and to what is called the pedagogical content knowledge. So, by saying that, you know, knowledgeable people can become teachers goes against the value, you know, the teachers who have become teachers through the traditional routes. And also, the teachers who are already in the profession then whose knowledge is not seen as important or as valuable as it could be. It’s kind of deprofessionalizing the notion of a teacher, which is what Ian was saying. The notion that in order to become a teacher, you need years of study and years of practice to learn how to really address the learning needs of diverse students.

Will Brehm 17:04
Right. I mean it’s interesting to think that so long as you say, are good at math, and you are assumed that you will be a good teacher. As if teaching isn’t this skill that takes years of practice, and experience and learning and -it’s quite amazing to think about what is a qualified teacher, and how it’s been so sort of skewed and narrowed to just this content knowledge.

Ian Menter 17:29
I mean, if we could perhaps refer to the research in our book at this point. What that particularly, I think, demonstrates the research we did there is actually just building on the point you just made -how complex the process of learning to be a teacher is. It’s not a simple question of learning a bit of theory, a bit of subject knowledge and developing a bit of skill. It’s about all of those things, but in interaction with each other. And what we found in looking at beginning teachers learning to teach both in England and in the USA is that the relationships that the young or early career teacher, the beginning teacher experiences in the school setting and in the university setting are just as important as the factual knowledge or the skill development that they may experience. So, I think a key message of our book is that teacher education needs to be very, very carefully planned, cooperatively between all of those who have responsibility. So, that is, the staff in the university, the faculty there, but it’s also the teachers in the schools. And it’s also about helping the beginning teacher to understand the challenges that they are going to be facing while they’re going through the process. So, if all of that’s achieved, and we did have examples of very successful practice in our research. If all of that’s achieved, we can actually enable beginning teachers to learn effectively, and in fact, to get fulfillment out of their future teaching.

Maria Teresa Tatto 19:19
In the US, for example, the population here is changing dramatically. We have a population of children who come from different backgrounds, who need special attention sometimes. And, you know, having teachers prepare in a very brief manner doesn’t really equip those teachers with the kinds of knowledge and skills that they need to address the needs of the kids who are underserved, who need teachers the most. So, this is a very specialized type of work which is recognized in other countries such as Finland and receives not much recognition under current trends in US and in England.

Will Brehm 20:03
I mean, it seems like the idea of Teach for America or Teach First in England would be counter to a lot of what you’re saying about this in-depth knowledge that needs to be gained through years of learning and years of practice teaching. So, it almost seems like Teach for America and Teach First are sort of the polar opposite of what you’re talking about.

Maria Teresa Tatto 20:30
I should say that you know, observing the Teach First in England and Teach for America in the US; actually, these two approaches are different in the way that they are implemented. So, in the case that I observed in England, which is the one that we report in our book, the support for teachers in Teach First is very carefully planned. Mentors are very attentive, they have gone through the program themselves, and they know the population of children that are in the schools and the needs that the kids have. In Teach for America, it seems to be a less carefully planned model. Especially what happens in the schools. They have been trying to change things a little by thinking of teachers as leaders. But as Ian was saying, if you don’t plan carefully the experiences that teachers are going to have in the schools, and you don’t have a mentor and a structure model that will support these beginning teachers, they have a really, really hard time to the point that they really just stay for two years, and then they drop out. I did see in England also teachers having a really hard time with Teach First, but the difference that I saw there is the support that that particular school – I cannot talk for Teach First. I think Ian could talk in general in England- but at least in the school that I observed, the whole school model, the whole support was structured and carefully planned to support these beginning teachers. And still, they did have challenges and problems. It was still quite stressful.

Ian Menter 22:22
Yeah. So, I agree with Teresa. I wouldn’t see Teach First as a polar opposite to good practice in teacher education, particularly in England, because it is carefully structured. And it does have involvement of study of education, as well as practice of education. There are two additional points, though, that I would make. One is, Teach First has the advantage, if you like, of actually recruiting very, very talented and enthusiastic people. There is a very rigorous selection process for Teach First, and that’s something -if we had more people applying for teaching on to other programs in England, we would dearly love to be able to pursue. So, you get very strong people coming into the Teach First program, and as I said earlier, there are some very, very successful teachers who’ve come in through Teach First. But as Teresa just mentioned, I mean, there is no obligation on people coming in through Teach First to do more than two years. A training year and then one year of teaching. So, actually, again, 50% of those Teach First entrants leave after their second year of the program when they have finished the formal part of the program. So, again, it makes it a rather expensive and almost indulgent way of entering the teaching profession. Many of them go off to other careers at that point, having done two years of what might be seen as public service in the state school teaching sector. Go off into careers, for example, in banking or other aspects of finance. So, you know, there is very positive features of Teach First, but it still has many problems. And it is interesting to me, who worked in Scotland as well as England, that until this point, at least, Scotland has resisted approaches by Teach First to start up there. They don’t see it as a fully legitimate way of entering the teaching profession because of the kind of fast-track nature of the program.

Will Brehm 24:47
What about in Finland? Is there anything similar to Teach First or Teach for America in Finland?

Maria Teresa Tatto 24:53
I believe there is not.

Ian Menter 24:55
There are similar programs in something like 30 countries now. Teach for India, Teach for Australia, etc. But as far as I am aware, Teresa, you are confirming that Finland has not adopted that approach.

Maria Teresa Tatto 25:13
It does go against the whole idea of what teachers should be. In Finland, there is something that they call the science of education. And within the university, education is recognized as one of the disciplines in the university, which is a status that is different than it has in England, or even here in the US. So, you know education is at par with other disciplines. And so, preparing teachers is seen as an equally important endeavor as preparing doctors or preparing engineers.

Will Brehm 25:52
How do these sort of alternative pathways compare to the university internship model that you’ve explored at, I think it was Michigan State University and Oxford University?

Ian Menter 26:05
The idea of the Oxford internship scheme, which has some similarities with Michigan State, as you will hear from Teresa in a moment. The idea was first implemented way back in the early 1980s when for the first time in England, we had a very sustained, collaborative development of a teacher education program involving not just the university, and not just local schools, but also the local education authority, the local council that at that time had management responsibility for schools. So, the program was developed collaboratively. And for the first time, really, we had a fully sustained partnership between those different partners, which involved systematic and prolonged training and debate and discussion between the partners, so that the whole program was developed as a cooperative activity. And it had a principle of learning through inquiry built into it right from the outset. And it’s very much a kind of research-based and research-informed approach. It became recognized and still is recognized as one of the most successful teacher education programs in England. It’s been rated very highly whenever it has been inspected. And it is recognized throughout the professional community, teachers, and teacher educators, as a very effective program. It has to be said, it’s a relatively small program, taking fewer than 200 new people each year, and only working at the moment with intending secondary school teachers. But it has been very successful. And it was one of the two main programs we looked at in this book. We looked at two programs which we believe did have a track record of success in the sense of trying to explore what happens in a situation where practice is generally recognized to be very successful.

Maria Teresa Tatto 28:23
Yeah, the program at Michigan State University is also a program that is very much research-based. And in the late 80s, there was a big effort to create a partnership. In fact, there was some influence from the Oxford model in the Michigan State University. It said that MSU actually went a little bit further to develop what is called professional development schools. The Horn Group reports this series of three reports that imagine or re-imagine what it would be to have a different model to prepare teachers and a different idea of what a teacher should be. It really inspired a movement to create a teacher education program that was based in strong partnerships in the schools. Where also similar as to what Ian was saying, to have a collaborative role between the people in the school, the faculty in universities where everybody will, you know, benefit in order to support the learning of future teachers. Where faculty and teachers together research their own practice so that they will document how they were attempting to prepare teachers and what was working, what was not working. There was a whole scholarship that came out of the 1980s-1990s documenting, you know, what it was like to prepare future teachers. Where teachers were, like in the mid-90s, conceived as learners. And once that switch happened, thinking of teachers as learners, there was just this explosion of ideas and trying to understand teacher thinking, and what it was like to take on the role of a teacher, you know, or the identity and so on. So, the programs at Michigan State University have maintained for 22 years in a row or more the reputation of being the best program in the nation in preparing elementary and secondary teachers. And the US News and World Report just came out stating, again, that we are at the top of the list as well, this year. So, it is a very strong model in terms of partnership. The internship in the Michigan State University model, to answer your question about the difference between Teach First internship and the Michigan State internship model, is that it’s very carefully designed in terms of the collaboration that exists between the university. The last year, for example, Michigan State is a five-year program. So, in the fifth year, the interns spend a full year in the school except for one day that they go to university. And that day, there is a day of planning, reflection, and thinking about what they are going to do on the subsequent weeks. So, they actually plan what they are going to teach, how they are going to teach it, how they are going to reflect on their teaching, how they are going to evaluate their pupils to see whether they learn what is intended. And many of them actually videotape themselves doing these, and they’re quite critical about their own performance, and they write papers about what they could improve. The mentors in the Michigan State models are carefully selected in most of the cases to be mentors who are aligned with the Michigan State model or who have been teachers themselves prepared by the Michigan State University model. In cases where the mentorship doesn’t work well, sometimes it’s because, you know, pressures in the school or because the mentors themselves have not been prepared through the Michigan State University model.

Will Brehm 32:43
Do you think it is possible to scale the Michigan State University model and the Oxford model to more pre-service teacher training, teacher education in England and in the US? I mean, is that a feasible goal?

Ian Menter 33:02
I think it could. I mean, in a sense, these two programs have had a significant influence in both countries. Certainly, in England, the Oxford Internship Scheme was one of those that inspired if you like the move towards systematic partnership between schools and universities that did sweep across teacher education in the 1990s in England. You know, there were very positive moves about recognizing the contribution of schools to teacher education, which had been seriously undervalued in the conventional models that I talked about right early on in this discussion. So, I do think there’s been a lot of learning. And, of course, we have looked from Oxford to learn from other colleagues, both in England and internationally over the years as well. Things have not stood still. On the question of scaling up. I don’t see any reason why the principles of a scheme like the Oxford one shouldn’t be more widely adopted. They’re not particularly expensive. They’re not, I mean, we run on the same resource as programs elsewhere in the country. What I would say, however, is it does take time to really develop the knowledge and expertise within the professional community in the university and the schools to see the benefits of such an integrated scheme. So, one shouldn’t expect sort of immediate overnight success. On the other hand, if you see something that seems to work very consistently and very well, why not learn from it? And rather than throwing out babies with bath waters, rather than English colloquialism that but rather than to sort of overturn practice that is good in a number of places, why not learn from what is best and build on that. And just one final comment. I mean, we have suffered recently in England from this very short-sighted notion of teaching as simply being about enthusiasm for a subject and being able to convey it. And the idea of learning as simply as an apprenticeship. Well, you know, there is an element of apprenticeship in becoming a teacher. There is no doubt that one learns from experienced teachers. But it is very clear to us, and the research in the book shows this very clearly, that is not enough. There is a very complex and challenging program of learning that has to be carefully structured and planned to be fully effective. And that takes time, care, and consideration. And I think we could learn a great deal from these kinds of schemes. The same, no doubt, Teresa, with your scheme in Michigan.

Maria Teresa Tatto 36:11
Yes, well, the Michigan State University model, actually, I have written about this with my colleague, Janet Stuart, about the model for the teacher education for the 21st century. You know, it was something that, you know, expanding teacher education from four years to five years, to having a more selective criteria for entrance into the program, and then to carefully develop a curriculum that will allow teachers to progress. Seeing becoming a teacher as a developmental process, which actually aligns very closely now with what we call the task standards, as we documented in the book. So, the model has been an inspiration to many programs in the nation. And it has already, you know, … it is something that several programs have tried to develop in their own institutions, including the development of professional schools that exist still in several parts of the country. The idea of having faculty researcher on practice, you’ll see these in several presentations in several places, different faculty reflecting on what it takes to prepare teachers. But I will say that the model of partnership, and the kind of partnership that both Oxford University and Michigan State University aspire to, is very challenging in the current era of standards and accountability because, as Ian said, it takes time, it takes a lot of effort from teacher educators to concentrate on what the important task of preparing teachers is. But now, accountability demands require teacher educators to do other things in addition to teach future teachers. You know, it becomes a more bureaucratic procedure. Collect data about how your program is doing. And it is not that programs have ever avoided accountability. Programs have been very good at keeping track of their successes and their failures, but increasing layers of requirements, increasing accountability, procedures, those take away from the work of teacher educators. In addition, sometimes in universities, the work, the teacher education faculty, those is not as valued. And especially if that is, you know, connected with the schools. So, spending a lot of time in schools is something that takes time away from doing research, from publishing, and for those traditionally valued standards that the university has. So, things have to change in universities in order for these models to flourish in the way in which they were planned. At the moment in which faculty care more about publications and about doing research than spending time in schools with teachers and with mentors and, you know, use observing and nurturing these beginning teachers, at that moment, this idea of the partnership, you know, begins to fail. So, there are a number of things that need to be in place for this type of models to be scalable.

Will Brehm 39:59
Well, Maria Teresa Tatto and Ian Menter, thank you so much for joining FreshEd, it’s a pleasure to talk.

Ian Menter 40:05
Thank you, Will, it’s been good talking to you and very interesting to have this discussion. Many thanks.

Maria Teresa Tatto 40:12
Thank you, Will. I was so much looking forward to this interview, and I’m just very happy that we had this exchange. It’s wonderful work that you do.

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To kick off the new year, we have a special show for you. Today, Linda Darling-Hammond joins me to talk about her new co-authored book Empowered Educators: How high-performing systems shape teaching quality around the world

The book explores how several countries and jurisdictions have developed comprehensive teaching and learning systems that produce a range of positive outcomes, from student achievement to equity and from a professionalized teaching workforce to the integration of research and practice.

Linda Darling-Hammond is the president of the Learning Policy Institute and a Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University.

Citation: Darling-Hammond, Linda, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 102, podcast audio, February 5, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/lindadarlinghammond/

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Many students move across national borders to attend university.  Although the number of these globally mobile students is small compared to the total number of students enrolled in higher education, there numbers are increasing.

But the patterns are changing, with more regional and south-south mobility.

The role of scholarships in promoting these new patterns of student mobility is gaining attention by researchers and development aid alike. My guests today, Joan Dassin and Aryn Baxter, have recently contributed to a new edited collection entitled International Scholarships in Higher Education: Pathways to Social Change, which was edited by Joan Dassin, Robin March, and Matt Mawer.

Joan Dassin is a Professor of International Education and Development and Director of the Masters Program in Sustainable International Development at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Aryn Baxter is an Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Arizona State University (ASU).

Citation: Dassin, Joan & Baxter, Aryn, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 99, podcast audio, December 11, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/dassinbaxter/

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Today we talk about a television show that was hugely popular in Latin America called El Chavo del Ocho.

The show crossed borders across Latin America, taking on a multiplicity of meaning. My guests today, Daniel Friedrich and Erica Colmenares, have a new edited collection that explores how the show worked and produced particular visions of Latin American childhood, schooling, and societies. They also contend that their approach to studying El Chavo del Ocho is a new direction in comparative education research.

Daniel Friedrich is an Associate Professor of Curriculum at Teachers College, Columbia University where Erica Colmenares is a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum and Teaching department. Their new edited collection is entitled Resonances of El Chavo del Ocho in Latin American Childhood, schooling and societies. It is the first book in the new Bloomsbury series “New Directions in Comparative and International Education.”

Citation: Friedrich, Daniel & Colmenares, Erica, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 98, podcast audio, December 4, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/friedrichcolmenares/

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Across the globe, millions of people have been displaced from their homes. How does the international community respond to this humanitarian crisis? What is the role of education?

My guest today is Sarah Dryden-Peterson. She leads a research program that focuses on the connections between education and community development, specifically the role that education plays in building peaceful and participatory societies, particularly in conflict and post-conflict settings. She is concerned with the interplay between local experiences of children, families, and teachers and the development and implementation of national and international policy.

Sarah has recently written an article entitled “Refugee education: Education for an unknowable future” in a special issue of the journal Curriculum Inquiry that rethinks refugee education

Sarah Dryden-Peterson is an Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

She taught middle school in Boston, founded non-profits in South Africa and Uganda, and has two school-aged children.

Citation: Dryden-Peterson, Sarah, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 94, podcast audio, November 6, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/sarahdrydenpeterson/

Will Brehm  2:07
Sarah Dryden Peterson, welcome to FreshEd.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  2:09
Thanks so much Will. Thanks for having me.

Will Brehm  2:11
So can you describe the the current state of refugees around the world right now?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  2:17
Of course. We hear this word a lot these days – “refugee”. And just before we started, I wanted to say a little word about this word. Some of the people I work with really embrace the term refugee and some reject it. And I think as with all labels, it really depends on how we use it, how it’s co-opted, or in many cases, employed to really disempower and exclude people. When I use the term refugee, I’m really using it with the intent of harkening back to this core idea of seeking refuge and sanctuary and belonging. We know that the number of refugees globally right now is at the highest level in recorded history. In 2016, there were total of 22 and a half million people living as refugees worldwide. And in 2016, 3.4 million of those individuals were newly displaced to become refugees. So we also see an increase in the number of people becoming refugees.

At the same time, many people have lived as refugees in exile for many years, even many decades. For example, from conflicts in Afghanistan, or Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia. I also think another really important dimension of thinking about the current state of refugees worldwide is that 84% of refugees live in exile in countries that neighbor their conflict-affected countries of origin. So for example, in 2016, more than 1.4 million primarily Afghan refugees lived in Pakistan, and almost a million in Iran. We know that almost 3 million primarily Syrian refugees were living in Turkey, and a million in Lebanon, and almost a million primarily South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda and in Ethiopia. So while our media in North America and Europe can often have us believe that the refugee crisis is something that is happening where we are in North America and Europe, the reality is that most refugees live very close to their country of origin, and often in host countries that are already overstretched in terms of providing education to citizens within those countries.

Will Brehm  4:51
Okay, so there are more people at any time in history seeking refuge. Most of the people, the vast majority of these people are in neighboring countries from where they are from, and you’re saying that people are being displaced for decades?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  5:09
That’s right. In fact, the average length of exile is 17 years. And when we think about this, it really is the whole span of a child’s education. So whereas most individual refugees and families believe that they will quickly return to their country of origin, and hope that that’s the case, the reality is that most people will be displaced for many years. And the uncertainty of that really affects the way we think about the situation of refugees, including how refugees are educated.

Will Brehm  5:49
Right. And so there must be refugees that when they are seeking refuge in neighboring countries are also having families and they have to settle into a particular life. I mean 17 years is a huge amount of time.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  6:09
That’s right. Many of the refugees, students and families that we have worked with in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, for example, were born in Dadaab. And so the kinds of rhetoric around refugees going home, in reality for many young people, a return to their parents’ country of origin is a return to a place that they have never known.

Will Brehm  6:40
And is home a refugee camp, or are they living in, you know, the cities and other places in these neighboring countries?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  6:52
So, both. There continue to be refugee camps, but more than half of refugees live in urban areas. And in many ways, this depends on the country of exile. There are some countries that have policies that refugees must live in camp settings, but in many places, refugees are living in urban areas, amid national populations, and seeking access to the kinds of livelihoods that they had in their countries of origin. And I think this reflects also the urbanization globally, so that many refugees are coming from cities and are going to cities as well in order to attempt to build their lives. And I think this comes back to the point that we were talking about before that if exile is to be protracted, then it really is about building a life in the place where one is living, and that includes being able to practice the kinds of occupations that people had before they fled into exile, and being able to create the conditions in which they can educate their children and build toward a future much as that is uncertain.

Will Brehm  8:16
So the UN has a body that works on, or tries to help refugees. What sort of solutions are they proposing for this massive issue, as you’ve explained?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  8:30
The UNHCR education strategy that began in 2012, and which I was involved with the drafting of, emphasized integrating refugees’ into national education systems, and this was a real shift from refugees being educated mostly in parallel systems. This integration really envisioned a pathway to the future that responded to the very lengthy exile that most refugees experiences. The policy has put in place some important structures like the recognition of refugee children and young people within the national education space. Before the strategy was started, UNHCR had no formal relationships with national authorities in education in refugee hosting countries. By 2015, there were relationships but in 20 of the 25 largest refugee hosting states. So this kind of formality and recognition that refugees are here and need to be considered in terms of what goes on with education in the nation state. Now that this policy is in place, we are turning our attention to the ways in which refugee children and young people experience that policy.

One of the most important questions I think, in refugee education that relates to how we think about global bodies working on these issues, is trying to imagine what kinds of futures refugees are preparing for, given this kind of uncertainty that we’ve talked about. So the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is UNHCR, the global body that you mentioned, has the mandate to provide assistance to refugees and to ensure their protection in exile, and UNHCR outlines three possible, what are called “durable solutions” for refugees; this idea of a situation that could signal an end to the kind of persecution that led to flight in the first place. One durable solution is resettlement to a distant country. So in the article we see Bauma Benjamin at the end being resettled to Canada from Uganda, his country of origin being Democratic Republic of Congo. This resettlement option is really only accessible to less than 1% of refugees globally, but it is one possible durable solution that way. A second durable solution being a return to the country of origin. And a third possible durable solution being long-term integration in the host country. And one of the things that that I have been focusing on is how these possible pathways to the future or durable solutions really play out in terms of refugee education. These three pathways in many ways are geographically bounded, so they focus on which nation state the future will be situated in.

What we find is that this approach that really focuses on the nation state doesn’t always reflect the transnational ways in which refugees are seeking educational opportunities, seeking economic opportunities, and seeking social opportunities. So in our work we’ve really been conceptualizing four pathways to the future, the three durable solutions that UNHCR outlines and a transnational pathway to the future. And as we think about what these pathways to the future really mean for a refugee child, or a young person trying to create their life, we think about resettlement. This is a process where a refugee would leave one country of exile, having received asylum in that country, and then move to a more distant country, which is, in the case of resettlement, usually a country with a high gross national income per capita. So it’s usually countries in North America or in Europe. And this resettlement process comes with a kind of certainty that the other pathways to the future really don’t. And in particular, it comes with a pathway to citizenship that is not available for most refugees globally. So in many ways, refugees will often perceive resettlement as the kind of ultimate future, especially in terms of educational possibilities for their children. But as I mentioned, less than 1% of refugees are able to access resettlement. So another possible pathway to the future that is connected to the kind of solutions you mentioned, is to prepare young people for a return to the country of origin. And historically, the purpose of refugee education has been aligned with this pathway to the future. So thinking about educating refugees, so that they would be prepared to return to their country of origin after a time in exile. But I think what is critical about the situation we find ourselves in currently is that return to a country of origin is increasingly unlikely, especially in the short term. So if we know that the length of exile is protracted, it means that we need to think differently about what education looks like in terms of pursuing this pathway to an eventual return, not an immediate return.

Sometimes education that imagines this future as a return to the country of origin could in fact, place young people and children at a disadvantage by barring opportunities in the country of exile, a place where they may be for an extended amount of time. So lack of ability to communicate in the language in the country of exile, or lack of understanding about the ways in which systems and structures work in that country, in order to pursue various kinds of opportunities. On the other hand, we often find that refugee children and families are seeking a real connection to their country of origin, even if they are displaced for an extended amount of time to provide some kind of educational continuity with their previous experiences, and also to stay connected through cultural and community linkages that way.

A third possible pathway to the future is this kind of transnational situation that I mentioned. And I think unlike durable solutions that are premised on migrations stopping, this pathway really centers on opportunities that could be created by continuous migration, which is often prompted by refugees’ searches for long-term and stable opportunities. And we see increasingly in conversations with refugee children and young people that they are imagining and planning for a transnational life, even if they don’t know exactly what that would look like. This idea of a transnational pathway, in some ways, can allow a middle ground of individuals being able to continue their attachment to their home community and country of origin, even when they’re displaced in a country of exile. So indicating the need to maintain language and culture of the country of origin through education that could allow individuals to return, but leaving open other possibilities for a transnational life. What we see as particularly challenging is that while in their envisionings, refugee children and young people may seek this kind of transnational pathway, in many situations, there are clear restrictions that bar refugees from moving from one place to another, or even within a country of exile, barred from work, from civil and political participation. So being able to imagine in the abstract a situation in which opportunities could be pursued in multiple places but in fact, instead coming up with bars to that participation in all directions.

Will Brehm  17:19
And literal bars, right? I mean, in some of these refugee camps, for instance, there are fences and bars. I’m thinking of, for instance, Manus Island, which is where Australia is basically putting all of the people seeking refuge into their country, and there’s literal bars around these camps where the refugees have to live. And so, you know, I would imagine that imagining a transnational future would be rather challenging.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  17:52
That’s right. In many places around the world, we see refugees physically barred from entering into a national space, or a transnational space. And in reality, having the clear message that their future is nowhere. For refugee education, I think that there is also a way in which we see these bars being erected somewhat more invisibly, but perhaps just as importantly. So the strategy of integrating refugees into national education systems has been a clear priority from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since the 2012 – 2016 Education Strategy. And what we see globally is the strategy being applied in different country contexts. So as wherein 2011, there were very few countries in which refugees could go to a national school, we now see the UNHCR having clear relationships with ministries of education in most of the nation states that are hosting refugees, and refugees having some type of integration to a national system. So I just like to give some examples of that before going into what I think are some of the bars that refugees face, even if they’re not literal bars.
So in research that we have been doing over the past several years, we really see three types of integration of refugees into national schools. The first is, in fact, no integration; in situations where refugees are not permitted to attend schools that nationals attend, and where we see refugees having a kind of parallel education. So this is the case in Bangladesh, for example, and in Malaysia, where there are schools that are set up for refugees, but only for refugees. And in most cases, focused on imagining a pathway to the future that either is a return to the country of origin, or a pathway towards a life outside of that country of exile. In situations where we do see refugees and nationals both in national schools, that’s really split also. So in some countries, we see refugees integrated to a national system. So following the same national curriculum in the national language of instruction, with access to the same exams that national students would write at the end of primary school and secondary school, but separated from nationals in terms of whether they actually see each other in the same classroom. And we see this separation being geographic in cases where there are refugee camps. So in Kenya, for example, that refugees are following the Kenyan curriculum in English and Kiswahili, taking primary and secondary school leaving exams, but they are isolated for the most part in camp settings, where there are only refugees in the schools. So we see that geographic separation despite the integration to the system. We also in some cases, see temporal segregation of refugees, of separation of refugees, even despite the integration to the system. So in Lebanon, for example, there are two shifts where refugees attend an afternoon shift, and nationals attend a morning shift. So they are following the same curriculum, usually with the same teachers, in the same language with the same access to a process of examination, but they’re not physically together in class. And then the third model of integration is where refugees and nationals are physically together in schools. So we see this often in urban areas in places like Uganda and Ethiopia, as well as in a place like Egypt, where Syrians are studying together with Egyptian nationals following the same curriculum with the same teachers.

And through this integration to the national system, I think has made visible some of the bars that refugees face that are not the physical bars. So we see refugees accessing a national system of education, following the national curriculum, sitting in some cases, side by side with national students, but not having the same kinds of opportunities outside of the school structure. So by that I mean that refugee students will graduate from primary school or secondary school, and then not have the right to work, or not have the right to participate in the community, or not have a kind of permanence in that country of exile that would allow them to invest in starting a business or in creating that kind of livelihood. So I think that, while the inclusion of refugees in national systems is an incredibly important message that tries to tear down some of those bars that we see globally, there’s also the kinds of bars that are erected through an experience that promises a kind of belonging and inclusion, but then a society in which refugees are struggling to be able to pursue the kinds of opportunities that they’re seeking.

Will Brehm  24:03
So in this second model of integration, where it’s integrated, but it’s separated either geographically or temporarily, why? Why is there a separation? I mean, is it just simply practical reasons like they’re geographically far away, or is there other underlying issues at play as well?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  24:28
I think that there are three real reasons for thinking about integration of refugees into national schools. And then that these models of separation kind of play into that. So the first is that integration of refugees into a national education system can increase access to formal schooling. And this connects clearly to the global commitment to universal education, with the Education For All declaration, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Sustainable Development Goals. And thinking about already existing education systems, which refugees can access, because they would be less likely to face the common barriers of lack of access to school buildings, or limited number of teachers, or a high per child cost that have been addressed through systems. That would not be the case of parallel schools were set up for refugees. I think the second rationale for this integration is to increase the quality of refugee education, which is also a clear global goal. And the focus on quality, both for refugees and for nationals, I think really reflects this notion that the pathway to the future – be that economic, political, social – is really connected to the kinds of skills and capacities that children can learn and apply then no matter where that future would be. So the rationale then would be that refugee education could be of higher quality within a national system, because there is an existing curriculum that can be followed, that there are trained teachers, and that there’s a possibility of certification. Of some way of recognizing that education has been completed, and that can be used as a signal to further education or employment.

However, I think the challenge is that the quality of education within a national system can be low, as is the case in many refugee hosting countries. And so for example, if we take the case of Lebanon, less than 20% of Lebanese nationals access public schools in Lebanon. The real push in Lebanon is to include refugees within the national education system, within public schools. And there are really clear reasons to think about how this could increase access to education for refugees; could provide some kind of stable continuity during a protracted exile;  could provide access to certification. And then there are real challenges related to the quality of education in an already existing system, let alone with an influx that has increased the population in schools serving refugees, sometimes by more than half. And this is not a challenge that’s unique to refugee education. And I think this is where it’s useful to reframe our thinking about refugee education as not just about a particular population, but really as about making visible the kinds of challenges that marginalized national populations are experiencing as well. And the the third kind of rationale for integrating refugees into national schools is that it might be enable a kind of belonging in the society of long-term exile, a feeling of security or connection, and freedom from discrimination. But these models of integration that are really premised on a separation – what we find in Kenya, for example, is that students feel that connection to a national system, and the kind of promise of trained teachers and sitting for national exams, that then is in tension with their experience of being isolated in overcrowded classrooms, in places where there are no economic opportunities and so they can’t see their education leading into that. And so on the one hand, this promise of belonging and long-term certainty through education. And on the other hand, this tension of an experience that actually sends a message of isolation and exclusion.

Will Brehm  29:03
So one of the things that I love about your work is that you’re able to bring together these larger system, structural issues of refugees and refugee education, but you also bring these issues to life by kind of in-depth looks at at individuals, and what they had to go through, and one of the people we meet in your work is named Bauma Benjamin, and what was his sort of pathways to the future, right? How did he imagine education working for his imagined future?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  29:38
One of the ways in which I think that my work has shifted over time, and in some ways mirroring the ways in which I hope that thinking about refugee education is understanding long-term trajectories of individuals who are living in conflict settings. I feel like too often we’re focused on one moment in time, and are not able to see this longer term trajectory. So you you mentioned here Bauma Benjamin, who I write about in this article, and really focus on because I think that his experience shed light on some of the bigger structural issues that we’ve just been talking about. Bauma was born in Democratic Republic of Congo. He did his teacher training in the DRC. But he was arrested for his human rights work. And he fled to Uganda, where he felt like there was no possibility to continue the kind of trajectory that he had been building as a teacher, as a husband, as an about-to-be-father. When he got to Uganda, he was sent to live in a refugee camp that was in an isolated area of the country where the theory of how refugees could subsist in this area was that they could grow their own food and create a subsistence life. He had never farmed before. So he was given a hoe and a piece of land to grow his own food, but he had no experience with that. So he and his wife and their young child decided to move from the camp setting to the city in order to pursue his livelihood and what he describes as his real passion of teaching.

And what he found when he got to Kampala was that there were thousands of refugee children who did not have the ability to go to school. And when he had been trained as a teacher in Democratic Republic of Congo, he had understood and really come to live this philosophy of: if you arrive in the middle of a forest and all you have are trees and children, then it is your job to figure out a way to teach those children. And this kind of metaphor made sense in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where there were vast forests. When he got to to Kampala, he described the city as his forest in that way. But these thousands of children who were unable to go to school, and it was his responsibility to figure out how they could get an education. I remember one day asking him, “What’s your goal for this school?” And he wrote down on a piece of paper, “Ensure for our children a basic education to prepare them for their future lives.” And I’ve kept that piece of paper that he wrote on, and I think that this in some ways, this goal was a way for him to both look back to his own trajectory and look forward to his own children and his students’ trajectories. And the way that he thought about preparing them for their future lives was really in thinking about the role that he could play as their teacher.

And Bauma had this school in many different spaces. It was originally in someone’s home, so the school couldn’t start until everybody was up and out of the house. And then it was in the space of a church and then within a national Ugandan school, but every day as the children came to this school, no matter where it was, Bauma would look at them and think about the kind of future that he saw they might inherit if he didn’t help them to think about how to create home and how to really cultivate the ways in which they might disrupt the exclusion that they were experiencing as refugees in Uganda. Every day, the students would come to school and and tell him and tell me as a researcher in this situation, that they were called names that their parents couldn’t find jobs that they had tried to go to Uganda national schools, but we’re not able to access them, and in many ways, telling us stories about how they couldn’t even imagine how to create their futures. A few of the ways in which Bauma acted as their teacher to work on helping them to imagine their futures was first to call every student by their name. And this may seem like a really simple small element, but children who were called names that were not their own – and not nice names – in the street, or who were not able to be recognized for who they were, in terms of their identity, culturally, socially, linguistically, in a new place. Being called by their name was filled with meaning. He also taught them both about peace, but also about war. And what we often see in refugee education is an avoidance of some of the really contentious issues because there is no easy resolution, and there may be many conflicting sides to a particular conflict of kids and families within one school. But what Bauma saw was that these children who would come to his school every day, were thinking about war, because they had experienced it. And they were thinking about what their identities were, and what the power structures around them were. And that avoidance of those topics was, in fact, teaching them that they had no power to act within them. And so Bauma felt it his responsibility to help the children think through those issues, even if they caused contentious situations within the classroom, to work through them.

He also included poor Ugandans, who at that time did not have access to primary school, in the school that he had started for refugees. And in that way, created a community where refugees and nationals who were both excluded in different ways could come together to build a learning community. And in many ways, it was that community of learning and a community of belonging that Bauma sought to create and was able to create, and really show to the children and families that they didn’t have to live this life of uncertainty, but could in fact, build a home and a future right there in that moment. And I think what was important about the work that he did was that it wasn’t blind to the kinds of structural barriers that the refugee children and families would continue to face. It wasn’t blind to the fact that most would not have the opportunity to work even if they graduated from school. And so trying to think through with them how they could create new opportunities, and imagine what role they might play in trying to address some of the exclusion rather than isolating themselves from it. And as we think about education, this idea of an unknowable future shapes the way that we can think about and understand the quality of the options available. I think the reality is that every day policymakers, teachers and kids need to make decisions about the curriculum that refugees will follow, the language in which they’ll be taught, the kind of certification that they will receive, and the types of schools that in the end can prepare them for the uncertainty. For work, for life in both the present and the future, as unknowable as that future might be.

Will Brehm  38:14
Well, Sarah Dryden Peterson, thank you so much for joining FreshEd; it’s just such a fascinating topic, and I just want to thank you for all the work you’ve been doing on it.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  38:23
Thanks so much Will, it’s been such a pleasure to talk with you.

ويل بريهم:سارة درايدن بيترسن، أهلًا بيكي في برنامج فريش إيد

سارة درايدن بيترسن:متشكرة جدًا يا ويل. وشكرًا لاستضافتكم

ويل بريهم:ممكن توصفي الوضع الحالي للاجئين في كل أنحاء العالم؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: طبعًا. احنا بنسمع كلمة “لاجئ” كتير جدًا هذه الأيام. لكن قبل ما نبدأ، عايزة أقول كلمة صغيرة عن هذا العالم. بعض الناس اللي بشتغل معاهم بيقبلوا مصطلح “لاجيء” والبعض يرفضوه. وأنا أعتقد كما هو الحال في كل المصطلحات، أن الأمر يعتمد على كيفية استخدامنا للمصطلح أو كيفية مشاركته، في حالات كتير، بيستخدم لعزل الناس واستبعادهم. لما باستخدم مصطلح “لاجيء”، أنا فعلًا باستخدمه بقصد الرجوع للفكرة الأساسية المتمثلة في البحث عن الملجأ والحماية والانتماء. احنا عارفين إن عدد اللاجئين عالميًا الآن هو في أعلى مستوى في التاريخ. في سنة 2016، أصبح عدد اللاجئين الكلي 22 ونص مليون في العالم. هذا العدد بيحتوي على 3.4 مليون تم تهجيرهم حديثًا ليصبح هذا هو إجمالي عدد اللاجئين في عام 2016. وهذا معناه زي ما احنا شايفين ان هناك زديادة كبيرة في عدد الناس اللي بيبقوا لاجئين.

في نفس الوقت، ناس كتير عاشوا كلاجئين لسنين كتيرة أو لعشرات السنين. على سبيل المثال، هناك زيادة بسبب الصراعات في أفغانستان، وجمهورية الكونغو الديموقراطية، والصومال. هناك بُعد تاني مهم جدًا للتفكير في الوضع الحالي للاجئين في جميع أنحاء العالم وهو أن 84% من اللاجئين بيعيشوا في معسكرات اللاجئين في الدولالمجاورة لبلدانهم الأصلية المتأثرة بالصراع. على سبيل المثال، في سنة 2016، كان أكثر من 1.4 مليون لاجئ أفغاني بيعيشوا في باكستان، وما يقرب من مليون في إيران. واحنا عارفين أن حوالي 3 مليون لاجئ سوري كانوا بيعيشوا في تركيا، ومليون في لبنان، وحوالي مليون لاجئ من جنوب السودان بيعيشوا في أوغندا وإثيوبيا. علشان كدا، في حين أن وسائل الإعلام في أمريكا الشمالية وأوروبا بإمكانها تجعلنا نعتقد في كتير من الأحيان إن أزمة اللاجئين هي أمر بيحصل كمان في أمريكا الشمالية وأوروبا، إلا أن الحقيقة هي أن معظم اللاجئين بيعيشوا بالقرب من بلدهم الأصلي، وغالبًا في البلدان المضيفة اللي بتعاني بالفعل من إرهاق من حيث توفير التعليم للمواطنين داخل هذه البلاد.

ويل بريهم: تمام. هناكناس في كل وقت بيبحثوا على ملجأ. ومعظم هؤلاء الناس أو الأغلبية العظمى منهم موجودين في دول مجاورة.  من أين جاءوا وحضرتك بتقول أن هؤلاء الناس اتهجروا من عشرات السنين؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: هذا صحيح. في الحقيقة، متوسط طول مدة اللجوء بيكون حوالي 17 سنة. ولما نفكر في هذا، هنعرف أن هذه هي الفترة الكاملة لتعليم الأطفال. في حين أن معظم اللاجئين والعائلات بيعتقدوا أنهم هيرجعوا بسرعة لدولهم الأصلية، ونأمل أن يكون هذا ما يحصل، إلا أن الواقع هو أن معظم الناس بيتم تهجيرهم لمدة سنين كتيرة. وكون أننا مش متأكدين من هذا فبيأثر على طريقة تفكيرنا في أوضاع اللاجئين، بما في ذلك كيفية تعليمهم.

ويل بريهم: تمام. علشان كدا أكيد هناك لاجئين لما بيلجأوا للدول المجاورة بيكون معاهم عائلات لازم يستقروا. بس 17 سنة مدة طويلة جدًا.

سارة درايدن بيترسن: هذا صحيح. كتير من اللاجئين والطلاب والعائلات اللي اشتغلنا معهم في مخيم داداب للاجئين في كينيا على سبيل المثال ولدوا في داداب. والمطالبات بخصوص عودتهم لأوطانهم ولبلد أبائهم وأصولهم، في الواقع بالنسبة لكتير من الشباب الصغير، هي بمثابة عودة لمكان جديد عليهم ولا يعرفونه تمامًا.

ويل بريهم: وهل المساكن اللي عايشين فيها في البلدان المجاورة عبارة عن مخيمات للاجئين، واللا بيعيشوا في المدن وأماكن تانية؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: الاثنين. مازالت هناك مخيمات للاجئين، لكن أكتر من نصف اللاجئين بيعيشوا في المناطق الحضرية. وهذا يعتمد من نواحي كتيرة على بلد الملجأ. هناك بعض البلاد اللي ليها سياسات أن اللاجئين لازم يعيشوا في مخيمات، لكن في أماكن كتيرة، اللاجئين بيعيشوا في المناطق الحضرية، وسط شعب الدولة نفسها وبيسعوا أن يكون ليهم سبل العيش اللي كانوا متمتعين بها في بلادهم الأصلية. وأنا أعتقد أن هذا يعكس كمان التحضر على مستوى العالم، علشان كدا كتير من اللاجئين بييجوا من مدن ويروحوا مدن أخرى في محاولة لان يبنوا حياتهم من جديد. وأنا أعتقد أن هذا يرجعنا للنقطة اللي كنا بنتكلم فيها قبل ذلك، وهي إذا كان الاغتراب بيكون لمدة طويلة، فالأمر بيكون متعلق ببناء حياة في المكان اللي بيعيشوا فيه، وهذا يتضمن القدرة على ممارسة أنواع المهن اللي كانوا بيمارسوها قبل الاغتراب، وقدرتهم على خلق الظروف اللي يقدروا يعلموا فيها أولادهم ويبنوا مستقبلهم.

ويل بريهم: إذًا الأمم المتحدة عندها هيئة بتعمل على أو بتحاول مساعدة اللاجئين. أيه نوع الحلول اللي بيقترحوها لهذه القضية الضخمة، زي ما حضرتك وضحتي؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: استراتيجية التعليم للمفوضية السامية للأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين واللي بدأت في سنة 2012 واللي أنا اشتركت في صياغتها، أكدت على دمج اللاجئين في نظم التعليم الوطنية، وكان هذا تحول حقيقي من إن اللاجئين كانوا بيتعلموا غالبًا في نظم موازية. هذا الدمج وضع تصور للطريق نحو المستقبل يستجيب لطول مدة الاغتراب الطويلة جدًا اللي بيختبرها معظم اللاجئين. هذهالسياسة وضعت بعض الهياكل المهمة مثل الاعتراف بالأطفال والشباب اللاجئين داخل نطاق التعليم الوطني. قبل بداية الاستراتيجية، مكنش للمفوضية علاقات رسمية مع السلطات الوطنية في مجال التعليم في البلدان المضيفة للاجئين. بحلول سنة 2015، كانت هناك علاقات مع 20 دولة من أكبر 25 دولة مضيفة للاجئين. يعتبر هذا نوع من الشكل الرسمي والاعتراف بوجود اللاجئين وضرورة النظر ليهم فيما يتعلق بما يحدث في التعليم على مستوى الدولة. الآن ومع تطبيق هذه السياسة، بدأنا نركز في الوسائل اللي ممكن يختبر من خلالها الأطفال والشباب اللاجئين هذه السياسة. اعتقد أن أحد أهم الأسئلة في تعليم اللاجئين واللي بيتعلق بكيفية تفكيرنا في الهيئات العالمية اللي بتشتغل على هذه القضايا، هو محاولة تخيل ماهو المستقبل اللي بيستعد ليه هؤلاء اللاجئين في ظل هذا النوع من عدم اليقين اللي اتكلمنا عنه؟ علشان كدا مفوضية الأمم المتحدة السامية لشؤون اللاجئين اللي هي UNHCR، الهيئة العالمية التي ذكرتها، عندها تفويض لتقديم المساعدة للاجئين وضمان حمايتهم في المعسكرات، وبتحدد المفوضية 3 حلول ممكنة، ما يسمى بـ “الحلول الدائمة” للاجئين. هذه الفكرة قد تشير في المقام الأول إلى نهاية هذا النوع من الاضطهاد اللي أدى للهروب. أحد الحلول الدائمة هو إعادة التوطين في بلد آخر بعيد. علشان كدا في المقالة بنشوف قصة باوما بنيامين اللي في النهاية بيعاد توطينه إلى كندا بدلًا من أوغندا، رغم إن وطنه الأصلي هو جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية. خيار إعادة التوطين غير ممكن إلا لأقل من 1٪ من اللاجئين على مستوى العالم، ولكنه أحد الحلول الدائمة الممكنة بهذه الطريقة. الحل الدائم التاني هو العودة إلى الموطن الأصلي. والحل الدائم الثالث المحتمل هو الاندماج طويل الأجل في البلد المضيف. وأحد الأمور اللي كنت بأركز عليها هو كيف يمكن للمسارات الممكنة نحو المستقبل أو هذه الحلول الدائمة أنها بالفعل تتجه ناحية أو لصالح تعليم اللاجئين. هذه المسارات الثلاثة مترابطة جغرافياً بطرق عديدة، علشان كدا بتركز على ما هي الدولة القومية اللي هيكون فيها مستقبل اللاجئ.

اللي اكتشفناه أن هذا النهج اللي بيركز بالفعل على الدولة القومية مش دايمًا بيعكس الطرق العابرة للأوطان اللي بيبحث فيها اللاجئين عن فرص تعليمية وعن فرص اقتصادية وعن فرص اجتماعية.  علشان كدا، في شغلنا صممنا بالفعل أربعة مسارات للمستقبل، الحلول التلاتة الدائمة اللي بتحددها المفوضية كما ذكرنا، بالإضافة لمسار عابر للأوطان نحو المستقبل. وبما أننا بنفكر في معنى هذه المسارات نحو المستقبل بالنسبة لطفل لاجئ أو شاب بيحاول يبدأ حياته، فإحنا بنفكر في إعادة التوطين. هذه العملية بيسيب فيها اللاجئ البلد اللي حصل فيها لجوء، وبيتنقل لبلد أبعد واللي، في حالة إعادة التوطين، عادة ما بتكون بلد ذات دخل قومي إجمالي مرتفع للفرد. علشان كدا عادة ما بتكون هذه البلاد دول في أمريكا الشمالية أو في أوروبا. عملية إعادة التوطين دي بتكون في حالة اليقين بأن المسارات التانية نحو المستقبل مش بتعمل هذا بالفعل. وعلى وجه الخصوص، يتم هذا في حالة أن المسار نحو المواطنة غير متاح لمعظم اللاجئين على مستوى العالم. علشان كدا، من نواح كتيرة، فاللاجئين بيبصوا لإعادة التوطين على أنه نوع من المستقبل النهائي، خاصة فيما يتعلق بالإمكانيات التعليمية لأطفالهم. لكن كما ذكرت، فإن أقل من 1٪ من اللاجئين بيقدروا يوصلوا لإعادة التوطين. علشان كدا هناك طريق محتمل تاني للمستقبل مرتبط بنوع الحلول اللي ذكرتها، وهو إعداد الشباب للعودة لبلدهم الأصلي. وتاريخياً، كان هدف تعليم اللاجئين متوافق مع هذا المسار تجاه المستقبل. علشان كدا التفكير في تعليم اللاجئين، لازم يكون بغرض اعدادهم للعودة لبلدهم الأصلي بعد فترة من وجودهم في دولة الملجأ. لكني أعتقد أن الأمر الحرج بالنسبة للموقف اللي احنا فيه حاليًا هو أن العودة إلى الموطن الأصلي أمر غير مرجح على نحو متزايد، وخصوصًا على المدى القصير. علشان كدا إذا عرفنا أن طول فترة الوجود في دولة الملجأ طالت، فهذا يعني أننا في حاجة للتفكير بشكل مختلف بخصوص شكل التعليم من حيث متابعة هذا المسار بغرض العودة في نهاية المطاف، وليس العودة الفورية.

في بعض الأحيان، قد يؤدي التعليم اللي بيتخيل المستقبل على أنه عودة إلى الموطن الأصلي، في الواقع، إلى وضع الشباب والأطفال في وضع سيء من خلال حظر الفرص في دولة الملجأ، والمكان اللي قد يستمروا فيه لفترة طويلة من الزمن. فبيحصل انعدام للقدرة على التواصل بلغة دولة الملجأ، أو عدم فهم للطرق اللي بتشتغل بها النظم والهياكل في هذه الدولة، يحدث هذا في سبيل السعي لأنواع تانية من الفرص. من ناحية تانية، بنلاقي غالبًا أن الأطفال والعائلات اللاجئة بيسعوا للحصول على اتصال حقيقي ببلدهم الأصلي، حتى لو تم تهجيرهم لفترة طويلة من الوقت، لتوفير نوع من الاستمرارية التعليمية في سياق خبراتهم اللي فاتت، وكمان علشان يستمروا متصلين ببعض من خلال الروابط الثقافية والمجتمعية.

المسار التالت المحتمل للمستقبل هو النوع العابر للأوطان اللي ذكرته من قبل. وأعتقد أنه على عكس الحلول الدائمة اللي بتعتمد على وقف عمليات الترحيل، فهذا المسار بيركز بالفعل على الفرص اللي ممكن تيجي من الهجرة الدائمة، واللي غالباً ما بتكون مدفوعة ببحث اللاجئين عن فرص طويلة الأجل ومستقرة. واحنا بنشوف، بشكل متزايد، في المحادثات مع الأطفال اللاجئين والشباب أنهم بيتخيلوا وبيخططوا لحياة عابرة للأوطان، حتى لو كانوا مش عارفين بالضبط كيف سيكون هذا. فكرة المسار العابر للوطن، في بعض النواحي، يمكن أنها تتيح حل وسط للأفراد القادرين على مواصلة ارتباطهم بمجتمعهم اللي عايشين فيه وبلدهم الأصلي، حتى لو كانوا مهجرين في دولة ملجأ. فالإشارة للحاجة للحفاظ على لغة وثقافة الموطن الأصلي من خلال التعليم ممكن تسمح للأفراد بالعودة، مع ترك إمكانيات تانية مفتوحة لحياة عابرة للأوطان. اللي بنشوفه تحدي بشكل خاص هو أنه بينما في تصوراتهم، قد يبحث الأطفال والشباب اللاجئين على هذا النوع من المسار عبر الأوطان، إلا أنه، في كثير من الحالات، بيكون فيه قيود واضحة بتمنع اللاجئين من الانتقال من مكان لآخر، أو حتى داخل دولة الملجأ بيكونوا ممنوعين من العمل ومن المشاركة المدنية والسياسية. تقدر تتخيل بصورة مجردة الموقف اللي فيه يمكن توفير الفرص في أماكن كتيرة، ولكن في الواقع، بدلاً من هذا، بيتم وضع حواجز في جميع الاتجاهات.

ويل بريهم: حواجز حرفية، صح؟ أقصد، في بعض مخيمات اللاجئين، على سبيل المثال، بيكون فيه أسوار وحواجز. أنا بفكر، على سبيل المثال، في جزيرة مانوس، واللي فيها تضع أستراليا بشكل أساسي كل الأشخاص اللي بيلتمسوا اللجوء إلى بلدهم، وفيها حواجز حرفية حول المخيمات اللي بيعيش فيها اللاجئين. وعلشان كدا، أنا بأتصور أن تخيل مستقبل عبر وطني هيكون تحدي صعب نوعًا ما .

سارة درايدن بيترسن: هذا صحيح. في أماكن كتير حول العالم، بنشوف لاجئين ممنوعين جسديًا من الدخول إلى حيز دولة ما أو حيز منطقة عابرة للأوطان. وفي الواقع، بيعبر هذا عن وجود رسالة واضحة ليهم مفادها أن مستقبلهم ليس في أي مكان. بالنسبة لتعليم اللاجئين، أعتقد أن فيه كمان طريقة بنشوف من خلالها هذه الحواجز بيتم بناؤها بشكل غير مرئي إلى حد ما، ولكن ربما بنفس القدر من الأهمية. علشان كدا استراتيجية دمج اللاجئين في أنظمة التعليم الوطنية كانت أولوية واضحة لمفوضية الأمم المتحدة السامية لشؤون اللاجئين من وقت خطة التعليم للفترة من 2012 إلى 2016. واللي بنشوفه عالميًا هو أن هذه الإستراتيجية بيتم تطبيقها في سياقات دول مختلفة. علشان كدا، في سنة 2011، كان هناك عدد قليل جدًا من الدول اللي يمكن للاجئين فيها الالتحاق بمدرسة وطنية، إلا أنه الآن بنشوف أن المفوضية لها علاقات واضحة مع وزارات التعليم في معظم الدول اللي بتستضيف اللاجئين، واللاجئين بيتمتعوا بنوع من الاندماج في النظام الوطني. عايزه أقدم بعض الأمثلة على هذا قبل الخوض في الأمور اللي بعتقد أنها حواجز بيواجهها اللاجئين، حتى لو ماكنتش حواجز حرفية.

في الأبحاث اللي أحنا عملناها على مدار السنين القليلة اللي فاتت، رأينا بالفعل ثلاث أنواع من دمج اللاجئين في المدارس الوطنية. الأول هو، في الواقع، عدم دمج. وهذا نراه في الأوضاع اللي مش بيُسمح فيها للاجئين بالالتحاق بالمدارس اللي بيرتادها المواطنين، واللي فيها اللاجئين بيحصلوا على نوع من التعليم الموازي. هذا هو الحال في بنغلاديش، على سبيل المثال، وفي ماليزيا، واللي فيها مدارس مخصصة للاجئين، وللاجئين فقط. وفي معظم الحالات، بيتم التركيز على تصور طريق للمستقبل إما أن يكون العودة إلى الموطن الأصلي، أو طريق لحياة خارج دولة الملجأ. في الأوضاع اللي بنشوف فيها اللاجئين والمواطنين في المدارس الوطنية، بيكون فيه نوع من التمييز كمان. علشان كدا في بعض البلدان، بنشوف اللاجئين مدمجين في نظام وطني وبيتبعوا نفس المنهج الوطني في لغة التعليم الوطنية، مع إمكانية اجتياز نفس الامتحانات التي بيجتازها الطلاب الوطنيين في نهاية المدرسة الابتدائية والثانوية، لكنهم بيكونوا منفصلين عن التلاميذ الوطنيين من حيث ما إذا كانوا بيشوفوا بعض في نفس قاعة الدراسة. واحنا بنشوف هذا الفصل بين التلاميذ يحدث جغرافيا في الأماكن اللي فيها مخيمات للاجئين. في كينيا، على سبيل المثال، بيتبع اللاجئين المنهج الكيني باللغتين الإنجليزية والسواحيلية، وبيخضعوا لامتحانات التخرج من المدارس الابتدائية والثانوية، لكنهم معزولين في الغالب في نطاق المخيمات، حيث لا يوجد سوى اللاجئين في هذه المدارس. احنا شايفين ان هذا نوع من أنواع الفصل الجغرافي على الرغم من الاندماج في نظام التعليم. وفي بعض الحالات كمان بنشوف فصل زمني للاجئين، حتى على الرغم من الاندماج في نظام التعليم. ففي لبنان، على سبيل المثال، هناك فترتين يحضر اللاجئين فيها فترة بعد الظهر، بينما المواطنون يحضروا فترة الصباح. رغم أنهم بيدرسوا نفس المنهج، عادة مع نفس المعلمين، وباللغة نفسها مع إمكانية اجتياز نفس الامتحان، إلا أنهم لا يكونون مع بعض جسديًا في الفصل. وبالتالي، فالنموذج الثالث للدمج هو اللي فيه بيجتمع اللاجئين والمواطنين جسديًا في المدارس. واحنا بنشوف هذا في كتير من الأحيان في المناطق الحضرية في أماكن مثل أوغندا وإثيوبيا، وكمان في مكان مثل مصر، واللي فيها يدرس السوريين مع المواطنين المصريين ويتعلموا نفس المنهج مع نفس المعلمين.

ومن خلال هذا الاندماج في النظام الوطني، أعتقد أنه وضح أن بعض الحواجز اللي بيواجهها اللاجئين مش حواجز جسدية فقط. نحن نرى بعض اللاجئين رغم انهم بيلتحقوا بنظام تعليمي وطني وبيتبعوا المناهج الوطنية، وبيجلسوا في بعض الحالات، جنبًا إلى جنب مع الطلاب الوطنيين، إلا أنهم لا يجدون نفس الفرص المتاحة خارج المدرسة. أقصد بهذا أن الطلاب اللاجئين هيتخرجوا من المدرسة الابتدائية أو الثانوية، وبعد ذلك لن يكون لهم الحق في العمل أو المشاركة في المجتمع، أو لن يكون عندهم نوع من الاستمرارية في دولة الملجأ تسمح لهم بالاستثمار في عمل تجاري أو أي مشروع لتوفير المعيشة. أعتقد كذلك أنه على الرغم من أن دمج اللاجئين في الأنظمة الوطنية بيمثل رسالة مهمة جدًا للعمل على هدم بعض الحواجز اللي بنشوفها عالميًا، إلا أن فيه كمان أنواع من الحواجز اللي بيتم إنشاؤها من خلال تجربة بتوعد بنوع من الانتماء والإدماج، ولكن بعد ذلك نجد إن اللاجئين بيكافحوا في المجتمع علشان يكونوا قادرين على الحصول على أنواع الفرص اللي بيدوروا عليها.

ويل بريهم: إذن في هذا النموذج الثاني للدمج، بيتم دمج اللاجئين، لكن في نفس الوقت بيتم فصلهم جغرافيا أو زمنيًا، لماذا يوجد فصلهم؟ أقصد، هل هذا لمجرد وجود أسباب عملية مثل الاختلاف الجغرافي، أو هل هناك أمور أخرى خفية بتلعب دور في هذا؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن:أعتقد أن هناك ثلاثة أسباب حقيقية للتفكير في دمج اللاجئين في المدارس الوطنية. وأن هذه النماذج من الفصل بين اللاجئين والوطنيين هي نوع من التلاعب. السبب الأول هو أن دمج اللاجئين في نظام تعليمي وطني يمكن أنه يزيد من فرص الالتحاق بالتعليم الرسمي. وهذا يرتبط بوضوح بالالتزام الدولي بالتعليم العالمي، اللي بيكون من خلال ما يسمى بإعلان “التعليم للجميع”، والأهداف الإنمائية للألفية، وأهداف التنمية المستدامة. وبيتم التفكير في أنظمة التعليم القائمة بالفعل، واللي يمكن للاجئين الالتحاق بيها، لأنها هتكون أقل عرضة لمواجهة الحواجز الشائعة المتمثلة في عدم الوصول للمباني المدرسية، أو وجود عدد محدود من المعلمين، أو ارتفاع تكلفة الطفل الواحد التي تمت معالجتها من خلال هذه النظم. هذا لن يكون حال المدارس الموازية اللي أقيمت للاجئين. أعتقد أن الأساس المنطقي الثاني لهذا الاندماج هو زيادة جودة تعليم اللاجئين، وهذا أيضًا هدف عالمي واضح. وأعتقد أن التركيز على الجودة، سواء بالنسبة للاجئين أو للمواطنين، بيعكس بالفعل فكرة أن الطريق إلى المستقبل -سواء كان اقتصاديًا أو سياسيًا أو اجتماعيًا- بيرتبط بالفعل بأنواع المهارات والقدرات اللي يمكن للأطفال تعلمها وتطبيقها، وبعد ذلك لا يهم هيكون فين هذا المستقبل. بالتالي فالأساس المنطقي هنا هو أن تعليم اللاجئين يمكن أن تكون ليه جودة أعلى في إطار نظام وطني، لأن هناك منهج حالي يمكن اتباعه وفيه معلمين مدربين وفيه إمكانية لإصدار الشهادات اللي من خلالها بيتم الاعتراف بأن التعليم قد اكتمل، ويمكن استخدامها للحصول على مزيد من التعليم أو الحصول على عمل.

ومع ذلك، أعتقد أن التحدي يكمن في أن جودة التعليم في نظام وطني ممكن تكون منخفضة، كما هو الحال في كتير من الدول المضيفة للاجئين. وهكذا، على سبيل المثال، لو اخدنا حالة لبنان، فأقل من 20٪ من اللبنانيين بيلتحقوا بالمدارس العامة في لبنان. الدافع الحقيقي في لبنان هو تضمين اللاجئين في نظام التعليم الوطني داخل المدارس العامة. وفيه أسباب واضحة بالفعل للتفكير بخصوص كيف يمكن لهذا أن يؤدي لزيادة فرص حصول اللاجئين على التعليم؛ وكيف يمكن أن يوفر نوع من الاستمرارية المستقرة أثناء لجوء طويل الأمد؛ وكيف يمكن أن يوفر الحصول على شهادات. كذلك هناك تحديات حقيقية بتتعلق بنوعية التعليم في نظام قائم بالفعل، ناهيك عن التدفق اللي زود عدد السكان في المدارس اللي بتخدم اللاجئين، وأحيانًا بيزيد عن النص. وهذا التحدي مش تحدي حصري بالنسبة لتعليم اللاجئين. وأعتقد أن هذا مجال بيكون من المفيد فيه إعادة صياغة تفكيرنا في تعليم اللاجئين مش بس لسكان معينين، ولكن كمان في إظهار أنواع التحديات اللي بيواجهها السكان الوطنيين المهمشين. والنوع الثالث من الأساس المنطقي لدمج اللاجئين في المدارس الوطنية ممكن يكون من خلال نوع من الانتماء في مجتمع اللجوء طويل الأمد، والشعور بالأمان أو الارتباط، والتحرر من التمييز. اللي بنشوفه في كينيا، على سبيل المثال، هو أن الطلاب بيشعروا بالارتباط بنظام وطني، وبيتم وعدهم بأنهم يتعلموا على يد معلمين مدربين وأنهم يلتحقوا بالامتحانات الوطنية، إلا أن هذا بيكون في توتر مع تجربتهم اللي بيعانوا فيها من العزلة في الفصول الدراسية المزدحمة وفي الأماكن اللي مافيهاش فرص اقتصادية، وبالتالي بيكونوا مش قادرين يشوفوا أن تعليمهم بيؤدي لهذا. وهكذا، من ناحية، بيتم وعدهم بالانتماء والضمان على المدى الطويل من خلال التعليم، ومن ناحية تانية، هذا التوتر في تجربتهم بيرسل ليهم في الواقع رسالة من العزلة والإقصاء.

ويل بريهم: من الحاجات اللي بحبها في شغلك هي قدرتك على الجمع مش بس بين الأنظمة الكبيرة القضايا الهيكلية الخاصة باللاجئين وتعليم اللاجئين، لكنك كمان بتستحضري القضايا للحياة من خلال نظرة متعمقة على الأفراد، وأيه اللي كان لازم يمروا بيه. واحد من الأشخاص اللي التقينا بيهم في عملك اسمه باوما بنيامين. أيه هو نوع مساراته نحو المستقبل؟ وكيف يمكننا تخيل دور التعليم في المستقبل اللي بيحلم بيه؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن:من الطرق اللي بفكر بيها هي أن شغلي اتغير بمرور الوقت، وفي بعض النواحي أصبح بيعكس الطرق اللي بتمنى فيها أن عملية التفكير في تعليم اللاجئين تكون عبارة عن فهم للمسارات طويلة الأجل للأفراد اللي بيعيشوا في أوضاع صراع. بأشعر في كتير من الأحيان أننا بنركز على لحظة واحدة من الزمن، وأننا غير قادرين على رؤية المسار على المدى الطويل. أنت ذكرت باوما بنيامين، اللي أنا كتبت عنه في المقال، وأنا بركز عليه فعلا لأني أعتقد أن تجربته بتلقي الضوء على بعض القضايا الهيكلية الأكبر اللي اتكلمنا عنها. باوما اتولد في جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية، واتدرب على التدريس هناك. لكنه اعتقل بسبب عمله في مجال حقوق الإنسان. وهرب لأوغندا، وهناك شعر أن مفيش إمكانية لمواصلة هذا المسار اللي كان بيبنيه كمعلم وكزوج وكأب مرتقب. لما وصل لأوغندا، أرسلوه علشان يعيش في مخيم للاجئين في منطقة معزولة من البلاد. وكانت النظرية هي أن اللاجئين يقدروا يعيشوا في هذه المنطقة من خلال أنهم يزرعوا طعامهم ويخلقوا لنفسهم حياة الكفاف. وهو ماشتغلش في الزراعة قبل ذلك. فأعطوه جاروف وقطعة أرض علشان يزرع طعامه، لكنه مكنش عنده أي خبرة في الزراعة. قرر باوما هو وزوجته وطفلهم الصغير انهم ينتقلوا من مكان إقامة المخيم للمدينة بغرض كسب معيشته والعمل في ما يصفه بأنه شغفه الحقيقي وهو التعليم.

واللي اكتشفه لما وصل لكمبالا هو أن فيه آلاف من الأطفال اللاجئين مش قادرين يروحوا المدرسة. لما تم تدريبه كمدرس في جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية، فهم وأدرك حقيقة الفلسفة اللي بتقول: “إذا وصلت إلى وسط غابة وكل ما لديك هو أشجار وأطفال، فمهمتك هي اكتشاف طريقة لتعليم هؤلاء الأطفال”. هذا النوع من التشبيهات منطقي في شرق جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية اللي فيها غابات شاسعة. لما وصل لكمبالا، بنفس الطريقة وصف المدينة بأنها الغابة الخاصة به. الآلاف من الأطفال دول ماكنوش قادرين يروحوا المدرسة ، وكان من مسؤوليته اكتشاف كيف يحصلوا على تعليم. أفتكر أني سألته في يوم من الأيام: “أيه هو هدفك لهذه المدرسة؟” فكتب على قطعة ورق، “ضمان التعليم الأساسي لأطفالنا لإعدادهم لحياتهم المستقبلية”. وأنا احتفظت بهذه الورقة، وأعتقد أن هذا الهدف كان بكيفية ما وسيلة ليه علشان يتذكر مساره ويتطلع إلى أطفاله ومسارات طلابه. والطريقة اللي فكر بها في إعدادهم لحياتهم المستقبلية كانت بالتفكير في الدور اللي يمكن أنه يلعبه كمعلم ليهم.

وعمل باوما هذه المدرسة في أماكن كتيرة مختلفة. كانت في الأصل في منزل أحد الأشخاص، فماكنتش بتبدأ غير لما يكون الكل خارج المنزل. وبعدها كانت المدرسة في ساحة كنيسة وبعدين داخل مدرسة أوغندية وطنية. في كل يوم لما الأطفال كانوا بييجوا للمدرسة، بغض النظر عن مكان وجودها، كان باوما ينظر ليهم ويفكر في نوع المستقبل اللي قد يرثوه لو مساعدهمش على التفكير في كيفية بناء وطن، وكيفية تمهيد الطرق اللي من خلالها يوقفوا الاقصاء اللي عانوا منه كلاجئين في أوغندا. كل يوم كان الطلاب بييجوا للمدرسة ويقولوا لي كباحث، أنه تم تسميتهم بأسماء سيئة مختلفة عن أسمائهم الحقيقية وأن آبائهم ما قدروش يلاقوا وظائف وأنهم حاولوا يروحوا مدارس وطنية في أوغندا، لكنهم ماقدروش يلتحقوا بيها. وقالوا قصص بطرق كتيرة عن كيف انهم مش قادرين حتى يتخيلوا كيفية بناء مستقبلهم.من بعض الطرق اللي اتصرف بيها باوما كمدرس علشان يساعدهم على تخيل مستقبلهم هو أنه أولًا كان حريص على أنه ينادي كل طالب باسمه. قد يبدو هذا وكأنه شيء صغير بسيط، ولكن الأطفال اللي تم تسميتهم في الشارع بأسماء سيئة غير أسمائهم، أو الأطفال اللي مش قادرين تكون عندهم هوية يكونوا معروفين بيها، من حيث هويتهم ثقافيًا واجتماعيًا ولغويًا، في مكان جديد. كونهم يتم النداء عليهم بأسمائهم فهذا أمر ليه معنى كبير بالنسبة لهم. هو كمان علمهم عن السلام وعن الحرب. واللي بنشوفه غالبًا في تعليم اللاجئين هو تجنب بعض القضايا المثيرة للجدل بالفعل لأنه مفيش حل سهل، وقد تكون هناك جوانب متضاربة كتير لصراع معين لأطفال ولأسر داخل المدرسة الواحدة. لكن اللي شافه باوما هو أن هؤلاء الأطفال اللي كانوا بييجوا لمدرسته كل يوم، كانوا بيفكروا في الحرب، لأنهم جربوها. وكانوا بيفكروا في أيه هي هويتهم، وأيه هي نقاط القوة اللي حواليهم. تجنب هذه المواضيع، في الواقع، كان بيعلمهم أنهم مايملكوش أي قوة أو حيلة في داخلهم للتصرف. علشان كدا شعر باوما أن مسؤوليته هي مساعدة الأطفال على التفكير في هذه القضايا من خلال العمل عليها، حتى لو اتسبب هذا في مواقف مثيرة للخلاف داخل الفصل الدراسي.

هو كمان احتوى الأوغنديين الفقراء في المدرسة اللي بدأها مخصوص للاجئين، وهؤلاء كانوا من الناس اللي ماقدروش في أنهم يلتحقوا بالمدرسة الابتدائية. وبهذه الطريقة، تم إنشاء مجتمع يمكن فيه للاجئين والمواطنين اللي تم استبعادهم بطرق مختلفة أنهم يتحدوا مع بعض لبناء مجتمع تعليمي. وبطرق كتيرة، كان مجتمع التعلم ومجتمع الانتماء هو ما سعى باوما لخلقه وتمكّن من إنشاؤه، وأظهر بالفعل للأطفال والأسر أنهم ماكنش لازم يعيشوا حياة عدم اليقين، ولكنهم كانوا يقدروا في الواقع أنهم يبنوا وطن ومستقبل. وأنا أعتقد أن الأمر المهم في العمل اللي عمله هو أنه ماكنش أعمى عن أنواع الحواجز اللي هيظل الأطفال وأسر اللاجئين يواجهوها. ماكنش أعمى عن حقيقة أن معظمهم ان تتاح ليهم فرصة للعمل حتى لو اتخرجوا من المدرسة.وبالتالي هو حاول أنه يفكر معهم كيف يقدروا يخلقوا فرص جديدة، ويتخيلوا الدور اللي ممكن يلعبوه كمحاولة لمعالجة بعض أشكال الاقصاء اللي بيعانوا منه بدل ما يعزلوا نفسهم. وأحنا بنفكر في التعليم، فكرة المستقبل غير المعلوم بتشكل الطريقة اللي من خلالها بنفكر في جودة الخيارات المتاحة وفهمها. أعتقد أن الواقع هو أن صانعي السياسة والمدرسين والأطفال محتاجين كل يوم انهم ياخدوا قرارات بخصوص المنهج اللي هيتبعه اللاجئين، واللغة اللي هيتم تعليمهم بيها، ونوع الشهادات اللي هيحصلوا عليها، وأنواع المدارس اللي في النهاية يمكن أنها تهيئهم لعدم اليقين في العمل وفي الحياة في كل من الحاضر والمستقبل.

ويل بريهيم: أوك سارة درايدن بيترسن، أنا بشكر حضرتك جدًا لوجودك معنا في برنامج فريش إيد. كان موضوع شيق، وأنا عايز أشكرك على كل اللي بتعمليه.

سارة درايدن بيترسن:شكرًا جزيلًا يا ويل، سعدت بالحوار معاك

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Will Brehm 2:07
Sarah Dryden Peterson, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Sarah Dryden Peterson 2:09
Merci beaucoup Will. Merci de me recevoir.

Will Brehm 2:11
Pouvez-vous nous décrire la situation actuelle des réfugiés dans le monde ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  2:17
Evidemment. Nous écoutons très souvent ce mot ces temps-ci – “réfugié”. Et je voulais, juste avant de débuter, dire un petit mot à propos de ce mot. Certaines des personnes avec lesquelles je travaille acceptent vraiment le terme de réfugié et d’autres le rejettent. Et je trouve que comme pour toutes les étiquettes, cela dépend vraiment de la façon dont nous l’utilisons, de la façon dont ce terme est coopté ou, dans de nombreux cas, utilisé pour priver les gens de leur pouvoir et les exclure. Lorsque je parle de réfugié, c’est dans le souci de retourner à l’idée fondamentale de la recherche d’un refuge, d’un sanctuaire et d’un sentiment d’appartenance. Nous savons que le nombre de réfugiés dans le monde est actuellement au plus haut niveau de l’histoire. En 2016, il y avait au total 22 millions et demi de personnes vivant comme réfugiés dans le monde. Et en 2016, 3,4 millions de ces personnes ont été nouvellement déplacées pour devenir des réfugiés. Nous constatons donc également un accroissement du nombre de personnes devenant des réfugiés.

Parallèlement, de nombreuses personnes ont connu l’exil en tant que réfugiés pendant de nombreuses années, voire de nombreuses décennies. Par exemple, des conflits en Afghanistan, ou en République démocratique du Congo, et en Somalie. Je pense également qu’une autre dimension vraiment importante de la réflexion sur la situation actuelle des réfugiés dans le monde est que 84 % des réfugiés vivent en exil dans des pays voisins de leur pays d’origine touché par un conflit. Ainsi, par exemple, en 2016, plus de 1,4 million de réfugiés, principalement afghans, vivaient au Pakistan, et près d’un million en Iran. Nous savons que près de 3 millions de réfugiés, principalement syriens, vivaient en Turquie, et un million au Liban, et près d’un million de réfugiés, principalement sud-soudanais, vivaient en Ouganda et en Éthiopie. Ainsi, alors que nos médias en Amérique du Nord et en Europe peuvent souvent nous faire croire que la crise des réfugiés se produit là où nous sommes en Amérique du Nord et en Europe, la réalité est que la plupart des réfugiés vivent très près de leur pays d’origine, et souvent dans des pays d’accueil qui sont déjà surchargés en termes d’éducation des citoyens de ces pays.

Will Brehm  4:51
D’accord, donc il y a plus de personnes à tout moment à la recherche d’un refuge. La plupart des gens, la grande majorité de ces gens sont dans des pays voisins d’où ils viennent, et vous dites que des gens sont déplacés depuis des décennies ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson 5:09
C’est exact. En effet, la durée moyenne de l’exil est de 17 ans. Et quand on y pense, c’est vraiment toute la durée de l’éducation d’un enfant. Donc, alors que la plupart des réfugiés et des familles pensent qu’ils retourneront rapidement dans leur pays d’origine et espèrent que c’est le cas, la réalité est que de nombreuses personnes seront déplacées pendant de nombreuses années. Et l’incertitude qui en découle affecte réellement la façon dont nous envisageons la situation des réfugiés, y compris la manière dont ils sont éduqués.

Will Brehm 5:49
Exact. Et donc il doit y avoir des réfugiés qui, en cherchant refuge dans les pays voisins, ont aussi des familles et doivent s’installer dans une vie particulière. Je veux dire que 17 ans, c’est beaucoup de temps.

Sarah Dryden Peterson 6:09
C’est juste. La plupart des réfugiés, des étudiants et des familles avec lesquels nous avons travaillé dans le camp de réfugiés de Dadaab au Kenya, par exemple, sont nés à Dadaab. Et donc le genre de discours sur le retour des réfugiés, en réalité pour beaucoup de jeunes, un retour dans le pays d’origine de leurs parents est un retour dans un endroit qu’ils n’ont jamais connu.

Will Brehm 6:40
Et la maison est-elle un camp de réfugiés, ou vivent-ils à l’intérieur, vous savez, des villes et d’autres endroits dans ces pays voisins ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson 6:52
Donc, les deux. Il continue d’y avoir des camps de réfugiés, mais plus de la moitié des réfugiés habitent dans des zones urbaines. Et à bien des égards, cela dépend du pays d’exil. Certains pays ont adopté des politiques selon lesquelles les réfugiés doivent vivre dans des camps, mais dans de nombreux endroits, les réfugiés vivent dans des zones urbaines, au milieu des populations nationales, et cherchent à accéder aux moyens de subsistance qu’ils avaient dans leur pays d’origine. Et je pense que cela reflète également l’urbanisation mondiale, de sorte que de nombreux réfugiés viennent des villes et vont également dans les villes pour tenter de construire leur vie. Et je pense que cela revient au point dont nous parlions avant, à savoir que si l’exil doit être prolongé, il s’agit vraiment de construire une vie là où l’on vit, et cela inclut la possibilité de pratiquer le genre d’occupations que les gens avaient avant de fuir en exil, et la possibilité de créer les conditions dans lesquelles ils peuvent éduquer leurs enfants et construire un avenir aussi incertain soit-il.

Will Brehm 8:16
L’ONU dispose donc d’un organisme qui travaille ou essaie d’aider les réfugiés. Quel genre de solutions proposent-ils pour ce problème de grande ampleur, comme vous l’avez expliqué ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson 8:30
La stratégie d’éducation du HCR qui a débuté en 2012, et dont j’ai participé à la rédaction, mettait l’accent sur l’intégration des “réfugiés” dans les systèmes éducatifs nationaux, et c’était un véritable changement par rapport au fait que les réfugiés étaient éduqués principalement dans des systèmes parallèles. Cette intégration prévoyait réellement un chemin vers l’avenir qui répondait à l’exil très long que connaissent la plupart des réfugiés. La politique a mis en place des structures importantes comme la reconnaissance des enfants et des jeunes réfugiés dans l’espace éducatif national. Avant le lancement de la stratégie, le HCR n’avait pas de relations formelles avec les autorités nationales en matière d’éducation dans les pays d’accueil des réfugiés. En 2015, des relations existaient mais dans 20 des 25 plus grands pays d’accueil de réfugiés. Ce type de formalité et de reconnaissance du fait que les réfugiés sont ici et doivent être considérés en termes de ce qui se passe avec l’éducation dans l’État-nation. Maintenant que cette politique est en place, nous tournons notre attention vers la manière dont les enfants et les jeunes réfugiés vivent cette politique.

L’une des questions les plus fondamentales, à mon avis, dans le domaine de l’éducation des réfugiés, qui a trait à la façon dont nous considérons les organismes mondiaux travaillant sur ces questions, est d’essayer d’imaginer à quels types de futurs réfugiés se préparent, compte tenu de ce genre d’incertitude dont nous avons parlé. Ainsi, le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, qui est le HCR, l’organisme mondial que vous avez mentionné, a le mandat de venir en aide aux réfugiés et d’assurer leur protection en exil, et le HCR décrit trois solutions possibles, ce qu’on appelle des “solutions durables” pour les réfugiés ; cette idée d’une situation qui pourrait marquer la fin du type de persécution qui a conduit à la fuite en premier ressort. Une solution durable est la réinsertion dans un pays lointain. Ainsi, dans l’article, nous observons que Bauma Benjamin a finalement été relogé au Canada depuis l’Ouganda, son pays d’origine étant la République démocratique du Congo. Cette option de réinsertion n’est en réalité accessible qu’à moins de 1 % des réfugiés dans le monde, mais c’est une solution durable envisageable de cette façon. Une deuxième solution durable étant le retour dans le pays d’origine. Et une troisième solution durable possible étant l’intégration à long terme dans le pays d’accueil. Et l’une des choses sur lesquelles je me suis penchée est la manière dont ces voies d’avenir possibles ou ces solutions durables jouent réellement en termes d’éducation des réfugiés. Ces trois voies sont, à bien des égards, géographiquement délimitées, de sorte qu’elles se focalisent sur l’État nation dans lequel se situera l’avenir.

Ce que nous découvrons, c’est que cette approche qui vise réellement l’État-nation ne reflète pas toujours les manières transnationales dont les réfugiés recherchent des possibilités d’éducation, des opportunités économiques et des opportunités sociales. Ainsi, dans notre travail, nous avons réellement conceptualisé quatre voies vers l’avenir, les trois solutions durables que le HCR décrit et une voie transnationale vers l’avenir. Et lorsque nous nous interrogeons sur ce que ces voies d’avenir représentent réellement pour un enfant réfugié ou un jeune qui tente de créer sa vie, nous pensons à la réinsertion. Il s’agit d’un processus par lequel un réfugié quitterait un pays d’exil, ayant reçu l’asile dans ce pays, pour se rendre ensuite dans un pays plus lointain, qui est, dans le cas de la réinsertion, généralement un pays dont le revenu national brut par habitant est élevé. Il s’agit donc généralement de pays d’Amérique du Nord ou d’Europe. Et ce processus de réinsertion est accompagné d’une sorte de certitude que les autres voies vers l’avenir ne le sont pas vraiment. Et en particulier, il s’accompagne d’une voie vers la citoyenneté qui n’est pas disponible pour la plupart des réfugiés dans le monde. Ainsi, à bien des égards, les réfugiés percevront souvent la réinsertion comme le type d’avenir ultime, notamment en termes de possibilités d’éducation pour leurs enfants. Mais comme je l’ai mentionné, moins de 1% des réfugiés ont accès à la réinsertion. Une autre voie possible vers l’avenir, liée au type de solutions que vous avez mentionnées, consiste donc à préparer les jeunes au retour dans leur pays d’origine. Et depuis toujours, l’objectif de l’éducation des réfugiés a été harmonisé avec cette voie vers l’avenir. Il faut donc penser à l’éducation des réfugiés, afin qu’ils soient prêts à retourner dans leur pays d’origine après une période d’exil. Mais je considère que ce qui est critique dans la situation dans laquelle nous nous trouvons actuellement, c’est que le retour dans un pays d’origine est de plus en plus improbable, surtout à court terme. Donc, si nous savons que la durée de l’exil est longue, cela suppose que nous devons penser différemment à l’éducation en termes de poursuite de cette voie vers un éventuel retour, et non un retour immédiat.

Parfois, une éducation conçue comme un retour dans le pays d’origine peut en fait défavoriser les jeunes et les enfants en les empêchant d’avoir des opportunités dans le pays d’exil, où ils peuvent se trouver pendant une longue période. Ainsi, le manque de capacité à communiquer dans la langue du pays d’exil, ou le manque de compréhension sur la façon dont les systèmes et les structures fonctionnent dans ce pays, afin de poursuivre divers types d’opportunités. Par ailleurs, nous constatons souvent que les enfants et les familles de réfugiés cherchent à établir un véritable lien avec leur pays d’origine, même s’ils sont déplacés pendant une longue période, afin d’assurer une certaine continuité éducative avec leurs expériences antérieures, et aussi pour rester en contact grâce à des liens culturels et communautaires.

Une troisième voie envisageable pour l’avenir est ce type de situation transnationale que j’ai mentionné. Et je pense que, contrairement aux solutions durables qui reposent sur la cessation des migrations, cette voie est réellement centrée sur les opportunités qui pourraient être créées par une migration continue, qui est souvent motivée par la recherche par les réfugiés d’opportunités stables et à long terme. Et nous observons de plus en plus dans les conversations avec les enfants et les jeunes réfugiés qu’ils imaginent et planifient une vie transnationale, même s’ils ne savent pas exactement à quoi cela ressemblerait. Cette idée d’un parcours transnational peut, d’une certaine manière, permettre à un groupe intermédiaire d’individus de maintenir leur appartenance à leur communauté d’origine et à leur pays d’origine, même lorsqu’ils sont déplacés dans un pays d’exil. Cela souligne la nécessité de préserver la langue et la culture du pays d’origine par le biais de l’éducation, ce qui pourrait permettre aux individus de rentrer chez eux, tout en laissant ouvertes d’autres possibilités pour une vie transnationale. Ce qui nous semble particulièrement difficile, c’est que si, dans leur vision, les enfants et les jeunes réfugiés peuvent rechercher ce type de parcours transnational, dans de nombreuses situations, il existe des restrictions claires qui empêchent les réfugiés de se déplacer d’un endroit à un autre, ou même à l’intérieur d’un pays d’exil, de travailler, de participer à la vie civile et politique. On peut donc imaginer dans l’abstrait une situation dans laquelle des opportunités pourraient être recherchées dans plusieurs endroits, mais en réalité, on se heurte à des obstacles qui empêchent cette participation à tous les niveaux.

Will Brehm 17:19
Et les barres littérales, non ? Je veux dire que dans certains de ces camps de réfugiés, par exemple, il y a des clôtures et des barreaux. Je pense, par exemple, à l’île de Manus, où l’Australie place tous les réfugiés dans leur pays, et il y a des barrières autour de ces camps où les réfugiés doivent vivre. Et donc, vous savez, j’imagine qu’imaginer un avenir transnational serait plutôt difficile.

Sarah Dryden Peterson 17:52
C’est bien cela. Dans plusieurs parties du monde, nous rencontrons des réfugiés dont l’accès à un espace national ou transnational est physiquement interdit. Et en réalité, ils se voient envoyer le message clair que leur avenir n’est nulle part. En ce qui concerne l’éducation des réfugiés, je pense qu’il y a aussi une façon de voir ces barrières être érigées de façon un peu plus invisible, mais peut-être tout aussi importante. Ainsi, la stratégie d’intégration des réfugiés dans les systèmes éducatifs nationaux est une priorité claire du Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés depuis la stratégie d’éducation 2012 – 2016. Et ce que nous constatons globalement, c’est que la stratégie est mise en œuvre dans différents contextes nationaux. Ainsi, en 2011, il existait très peu de pays dans lesquels les réfugiés pouvaient aller dans une école nationale, nous voyons maintenant le HCR avoir des relations claires avec les ministères de l’éducation dans la plupart des États-nations qui accueillent des réfugiés, et les réfugiés ont un certain type d’intégration dans un système national. J’aimerais donc donner quelques exemples avant d’aborder ce que je pense être certains des obstacles auxquels les réfugiés sont confrontés, même s’il ne s’agit pas d’obstacles littéraux.

Ainsi, dans les recherches que nous avons menées au cours des dernières années, nous avons réellement constaté trois types d’intégration des réfugiés dans les écoles nationales. Le premier est, en fait, l’absence d’intégration ; dans les situations où les réfugiés ne sont pas autorisés à fréquenter les écoles que les nationaux fréquentent, et où nous voyons les réfugiés avoir une sorte d’éducation parallèle. C’est donc le cas au Bangladesh, par exemple, et en Malaisie, où il existe des écoles qui sont créées pour les réfugiés, mais uniquement pour les réfugiés. Et dans la plupart des cas, il s’agit d’imaginer un chemin vers l’avenir qui est soit un retour dans le pays d’origine, soit un chemin vers une vie en dehors de ce pays d’exil. Dans les situations où nous voyons des réfugiés et des nationaux à la fois dans les écoles nationales, c’est vraiment partagé aussi. Ainsi, dans certains pays, nous voyons des réfugiés intégrés à un système national. Ils suivent donc le même programme scolaire national dans la langue d’enseignement nationale et ont accès aux mêmes examens que les élèves nationaux à la fin de l’école primaire et secondaire, mais ils sont séparés des ressortissants nationaux pour ce qui est de savoir s’ils se voient dans la même classe. Et nous voyons que cette séparation est géographique dans les cas où il y a des camps de réfugiés. Ainsi, au Kenya, par exemple, les réfugiés suivent le programme scolaire kenyan en anglais et en swahili, et passent les examens de fin d’études primaires et secondaires, mais ils sont isolés pour la plupart dans les camps, où il n’y a que des réfugiés dans les écoles. Nous observons donc cette séparation géographique malgré l’intégration au système. Dans certains cas, nous constatons également une ségrégation temporelle des réfugiés, une séparation des réfugiés, même en dépit de l’intégration au système. Ainsi, au Liban, par exemple, il y a deux équipes, l’une pour les réfugiés l’après-midi, l’autre pour les nationaux le matin. Ils suivent donc le même programme, généralement avec les mêmes enseignants, dans la même langue et avec le même accès à un processus d’examen, mais ils ne sont pas physiquement regroupés en classe. Le troisième modèle d’intégration est celui où les réfugiés et les nationaux sont physiquement regroupés dans les écoles. Nous le constatons souvent dans les zones urbaines en Ouganda et en Éthiopie, ainsi qu’en Égypte, où les Syriens étudient avec les Égyptiens et suivent le même programme avec les mêmes enseignants.

Et grâce à cette intégration au système national, je pense qu’elle a rendu visibles certains des obstacles auxquels les réfugiés sont confrontés et qui ne sont pas des obstacles physiques. Nous constatons donc que les réfugiés accèdent à un système d’éducation national, qu’ils suivent le programme national, qu’ils sont parfois assis aux côtés d’élèves nationaux, mais qu’ils n’ont pas les mêmes possibilités en dehors de la structure scolaire. Je veux donc souligner que les élèves réfugiés obtiendront leur diplôme de l’école primaire ou secondaire et n’auront pas le droit de travailler, de participer à la vie de la communauté ou d’avoir une sorte de permanence dans le pays d’exil qui leur permettrait d’investir dans la création d’une entreprise ou d’un moyen de subsistance. Je pense donc que, si l’inclusion des réfugiés dans les systèmes nationaux est un message extrêmement important qui tente de faire tomber certaines de ces barrières que nous voyons dans le monde, il y a aussi les types de barrières qui sont érigées à travers une expérience qui promet une sorte d’appartenance et d’inclusion, mais ensuite une société dans laquelle les réfugiés luttent pour pouvoir poursuivre le genre d’opportunités qu’ils recherchent.

Will Brehm  24:03
Alors dans ce deuxième modèle d’intégration, où tout est intégré, mais où tout est séparé géographiquement ou temporairement, pourquoi ? Pourquoi y a-t-il une séparation ? Je veux dire, est-ce simplement pour des raisons pratiques comme l’éloignement géographique, ou y a-t-il d’autres questions sous-jacentes en jeu également ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  24:28
Je considère qu’il existe trois véritables raisons de penser à l’intégration des réfugiés dans les écoles nationales. Et ensuite que ces modèles de séparation jouent un peu là-dedans. La première est donc que l’intégration des réfugiés dans un système éducatif national peut améliorer l’accès à la scolarité formelle. Et cela est clairement lié à l’engagement mondial en faveur de l’éducation universelle, avec la déclaration de l’Éducation pour tous, les objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement et les objectifs de développement durable. Et il convient de penser aux systèmes éducatifs déjà existants, auxquels les réfugiés peuvent accéder, car ils seraient moins susceptibles de faire face aux obstacles communs que sont le manque d’accès aux bâtiments scolaires, le nombre limité d’enseignants ou le coût élevé par enfant, auxquels les systèmes ont remédié. Ce ne serait pas le cas des écoles parallèles mises en place pour les réfugiés. Je pense que la deuxième raison de cette intégration est d’améliorer la qualité de l’éducation des réfugiés, ce qui est également un objectif global clair. Et la priorité accordée à la qualité, tant pour les réfugiés que pour les nationaux, reflète, je pense, cette notion selon laquelle la voie vers l’avenir – qu’il soit économique, politique ou social – est réellement liée aux types de compétences et de capacités que les enfants peuvent apprendre et appliquer, quel que soit l’endroit où se trouve cet avenir. La justification serait donc que l’éducation des réfugiés pourrait être de meilleure qualité au sein d’un système national, parce qu’il existe un programme existant qui peut être suivi, qu’il y a des enseignants formés et qu’il y a une possibilité de certification. D’une manière ou d’une autre, on reconnaîtrait que l’éducation a été achevée et que cela peut être utilisé comme un signal pour poursuivre des études ou trouver un emploi.

Cependant, je pense que le défi est que la qualité de l’éducation au sein d’un système national peut être médiocre, comme c’est le cas dans de nombreux pays d’accueil de réfugiés. Ainsi, par exemple, si nous prenons le cas du Liban, moins de 20 % des ressortissants libanais accèdent aux écoles publiques au Liban. Le véritable effort au Liban consiste à inclure les réfugiés dans le système éducatif national, dans les écoles publiques. Et il existe des raisons très claires de réfléchir à la manière dont cela pourrait accroître l’accès à l’éducation pour les réfugiés ; pourrait fournir une sorte de continuité stable pendant un exil prolongé ; pourrait permettre l’accès à la certification. Et puis il y a de réels défis liés à la qualité de l’éducation dans un système déjà existant, sans parler de l’afflux qui a augmenté la population dans les écoles servant les réfugiés, parfois de plus de la moitié. Et ce n’est pas un défi qui est propre à l’éducation des réfugiés. Et je pense que c’est là qu’il est utile de recadrer notre pensée sur l’éducation des réfugiés, non seulement en ce qui concerne une population particulière, mais aussi pour rendre visible le type de défis que les populations nationales marginalisées rencontrent également. Et le troisième type de justification de l’intégration des réfugiés dans les écoles nationales est qu’elle pourrait permettre une sorte d’appartenance à la société d’un exil de longue durée, un sentiment de sécurité ou de connexion, et la liberté de ne pas subir de discrimination. Mais ces modèles d’intégration qui reposent en réalité sur une séparation – ce que nous constatons au Kenya, par exemple, c’est que les élèves ressentent ce lien avec un système national, et le genre de promesse d’enseignants formés et de candidats aux examens nationaux, qui est alors en tension avec leur expérience d’être isolés dans des salles de classe surpeuplées, dans des endroits où il n’y a pas d’opportunités économiques et donc ils ne peuvent pas voir leur éducation mener à cela. Et donc, d’une part, cette promesse d’appartenance et de certitude à long terme grâce à l’éducation. Et d’autre part, cette tension d’une expérience qui envoie en fait un message d’isolement et d’exclusion.

Will Brehm  29:03
L’une des choses que je trouve intéressantes dans votre travail, c’est que vous êtes capable de réunir ces questions plus vastes, structurelles, de réfugiés et d’éducation des réfugiés, mais vous donnez également vie à ces questions en examinant en profondeur les individus et ce qu’ils ont dû traverser. L’une des personnes que nous rencontrons dans votre travail s’appelle Bauma Benjamin, et quel était son cheminement vers l’avenir, n’est-ce pas ? Comment imaginait-il que l’éducation puisse fonctionner pour l’avenir qu’il imaginait ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  29:38
Je considère que mon travail a évolué au fil du temps et, d’une certaine manière, reflète la façon dont j’espère que la réflexion sur l’éducation des réfugiés consiste à comprendre les trajectoires à long terme des personnes qui évoluent dans des situations de conflit. J’ai souvent l’impression que nous nous concentrons sur un moment précis et que nous ne sommes pas capables de voir cette trajectoire à long terme. Vous avez donc mentionné ici Bauma Benjamin, sur lequel j’écris dans cet article, et je me concentre vraiment sur lui parce que je pense que son expérience a mis en lumière certains des problèmes structurels plus importants dont nous venons de parler. Bauma est né en République démocratique du Congo. Il a fait sa formation d’enseignant en RDC. Mais il a été arrêté pour son travail en faveur des droits de l’homme. Il s’est alors enfui en Ouganda, où il a senti qu’il n’y avait aucune possibilité de poursuivre le genre de trajectoire qu’il avait construite en tant qu’enseignant, en tant que mari, en tant que futur père. Lorsqu’il est arrivé en Ouganda, il a été envoyé dans un camp de réfugiés situé dans une région isolée du pays où la théorie de la subsistance des réfugiés dans cette région était qu’ils pouvaient cultiver leur propre nourriture et créer une vie de subsistance. Il n’avait jamais pratiqué l’agriculture auparavant. On lui a donc offert une houe et un morceau de terre pour qu’il puisse cultiver sa propre nourriture, mais il n’avait aucune expérience en la matière. Il a donc décidé, avec sa femme et leur jeune enfant, de quitter le campement pour la ville afin de poursuivre sa vie et ce qu’il décrit comme sa véritable passion, l’enseignement.

Et ce qu’il a découvert en arrivant à Kampala, c’est qu’il y avait des milliers d’enfants réfugiés qui n’avaient pas la possibilité d’aller à l’école. Et lorsqu’il a été formé comme enseignant en République démocratique du Congo, il a compris et est vraiment venu vivre cette philosophie : si vous arrivez au milieu d’une forêt et que tout ce que vous avez, ce sont des arbres et des enfants, alors c’est votre travail de trouver un moyen d’enseigner à ces enfants. Et ce genre de métaphore avait un sens dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo où il y avait de vastes forêts. Lorsqu’il est arrivé à Kampala, il a décrit la ville comme sa forêt de cette façon. Mais ces milliers d’enfants qui ne pouvaient pas aller à l’école, et il était de sa responsabilité de trouver comment ils pourraient recevoir une éducation. Je me souviens qu’un jour, je lui ai demandé : “Quel est votre objectif pour cette école ?” Et il a écrit sur un bout de papier : “Assurer à nos enfants une éducation de base pour les préparer à leur vie future”. Et j’ai gardé ce morceau de papier sur lequel il avait écrit, et je pense que d’une certaine manière, cet objectif était une façon pour lui de regarder à la fois son propre cheminement et d’envisager le cheminement de ses propres enfants et de ses élèves. Et la façon dont il a pensé à les préparer à leur vie future était en fait de penser au rôle qu’il pourrait jouer en tant que leur professeur.

Et Bauma tenait cette école dans de nombreux endroits différents. A l’origine, elle se trouvait dans la maison de quelqu’un, donc l’école ne pouvait pas commencer avant que tout le monde soit debout et hors de la maison. Mais chaque jour, lorsque les enfants venaient dans cette école, peu importe où elle se trouvait, Bauma les regardait et songeait au genre d’avenir dont ils pourraient hériter s’il ne les aidait pas à réfléchir à la manière de créer un foyer et de cultiver réellement les moyens de mettre fin à l’exclusion dont ils faisaient l’objet en tant que réfugiés en Ouganda. Tous les jours, les élèves venaient à l’école et lui disaient et me disaient, en tant que chercheur dans cette situation, qu’on les traitait de tous les noms, que leurs parents ne pouvaient pas trouver de travail, qu’ils avaient essayé d’aller dans les écoles nationales ougandaises, mais que nous ne pouvions pas y accéder, et à bien des égards, ils nous racontaient des histoires sur la façon dont ils ne pouvaient même pas imaginer comment créer leur avenir. Pour les aider à imaginer leur avenir, le professeur Bauma a commencé par appeler chaque élève par son nom. Et cela peut sembler un petit élément très simple, mais les enfants qui étaient appelés par des noms qui n’étaient pas les leurs – et pas des noms sympathiques – dans la rue, ou qui n’étaient pas capables d’être reconnus pour ce qu’ils étaient, en termes d’identité, culturellement, socialement, linguistiquement, dans un nouvel endroit. Le fait d’être appelé par son nom avait un sens. Il leur enseignait aussi bien la paix, mais aussi la guerre. Et ce que nous voyons souvent dans l’éducation des réfugiés, c’est un évitement de certaines des questions vraiment litigieuses parce qu’il n’y a pas de solution facile, et qu’il peut y avoir de nombreuses parties conflictuelles à un conflit particulier d’enfants et de familles au sein d’une même école. Mais ce que Bauma a vu, c’est que ces enfants qui venaient à son école tous les jours, pensaient à la guerre, parce qu’ils en avaient fait l’expérience. Et ils pensaient à leur identité et aux structures de pouvoir qui les entouraient. Et le fait d’éviter ces sujets leur apprenait en fait qu’ils n’avaient pas le pouvoir d’agir en leur sein. C’est pourquoi Bauma a estimé qu’il était de sa responsabilité d’aider les enfants à réfléchir à ces questions, même si elles étaient à l’origine de situations litigieuses dans la classe, pour les résoudre.

Il a également intégré des Ougandais pauvres, qui à l’époque n’avaient pas accès à l’école primaire, dans l’école qu’il avait créée pour les réfugiés. Et de cette façon, il a créé une communauté où les réfugiés et les nationaux qui étaient tous deux exclus de différentes manières pouvaient se réunir pour créer une communauté d’apprentissage. Et à bien des égards, c’est cette communauté d’apprentissage et cette communauté d’appartenance que Bauma a cherché à créer et qu’il a pu créer, et montrer réellement aux enfants et aux familles qu’ils n’avaient pas à vivre cette vie d’incertitude, mais qu’ils pouvaient en fait construire un foyer et un avenir à ce moment précis. Et je trouve que ce qui était important dans le travail qu’il a fait, c’est qu’il n’a pas ignoré le type de barrières structurelles auxquelles les enfants et les familles de réfugiés allaient continuer à être confrontés. Il n’a pas ignoré le fait que la plupart d’entre eux n’auraient pas la possibilité de travailler même s’ils obtenaient leur diplôme. Ainsi, il a essayé de réfléchir avec eux à la manière dont ils pourraient créer de nouvelles opportunités et d’imaginer le rôle qu’ils pourraient jouer pour tenter de remédier à certaines exclusions plutôt que de s’en isoler. Et lorsque nous pensons à l’éducation, cette idée d’un avenir inconnaissable façonne la manière dont nous pouvons réfléchir et comprendre la qualité des options disponibles. Je pense que la réalité est que chaque jour, les décideurs politiques, les enseignants et les enfants doivent prendre des décisions sur le programme d’études que les réfugiés suivront, la langue dans laquelle ils seront enseignés, le type de certification qu’ils recevront et les types d’écoles qui, en fin de compte, peuvent les préparer à l’incertitude. Pour le travail, pour la vie dans le présent et dans l’avenir, aussi inconnaissable que cet avenir puisse être.

Will Brehm  38:14
Eh bien, Sarah Dryden Peterson, merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd ; c’est un sujet tellement fascinant, et je tiens à vous remercier pour tout le travail que vous y avez consacré.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  38:23
Merci beaucoup Will, ce fut un plaisir de parler avec vous.

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This is the last episode in our four-part series leading up to the CIES 2017 Symposium. In the past three episodes, we have talked about decolonizing knowledge and innovating comparative and international education primarily from within the USA. But what does decolonization look like in other countries?

Today we focus on Pakistan. My guest is Shenila Khoja-Moolji. She researches and writes about the interplay of gender, race, religion, and power in transnational contexts. In the May 2017 supplement of the Comparative Education Review, she wrote an article on teacher professional development in Pakistan.

Shenila has also learned to navigate the difficult and at times imperial terrain of international education development.

Shenila Khoja-Moolji  is currently a visiting scholar at the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Forging the Ideal Educated Girl, which will be published by the University of California Press in June 2018.

Citation: Khoja-Moolji, Shenila, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 92, podcast audio, October 23, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/shenila-khoja-moolji/

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This episode of FreshEd is brought to you by the Comparative and International Education Society. 

The CIES 2017 Symposium aims to explore new frontiers in Comparative Education. Today, I speak with Peter Demerath about some of the exciting work being done in ethnographic research. We discuss many ideas from indigenous knowledge to grounded grit. Peter even talks about the challenges researching the same community for over two decades, as well as the value such studies can have.

Peter Demerath is an Associate Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development, and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. A former middle school social studies teacher, Peter has conducted ethnographic research on schooling, student identity, and academic engagement in Papua New Guinea and in the suburban and urban United States.  He is currently President-elect of the American Anthropological Association’s Council on Anthropology and Education.

Citation: Demerath, Peter, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 91, podcast audio, October 16, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/peterdemerath/

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Today we look inside an example of destabilizing knowledge hierarchies inside an American university. With me is Patricia Parker. Patricia helped set up the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The graduate certificate reveals the paradoxes of challenging dominant forms of knowledge inside one of the very sites, the university, responsible for reproducing colonial knowledge structures.

Patrcia Parker is chair of the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina where she is also an associate professor of critical organizational communication studies and director of the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research. She is currently finishing a book entitled, Living Ella Baker’s Legacy, which documents a multiyear participatory research study with African American girls in under-resourced communities leading social justice activist campaigns.

She will speak at the CIES Symposium later this month.

Citation: Parker, Patricia, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 90, podcast audio, October 9, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/parker/

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Today we kick off a four-part series called FreshEd x Symposium. During the lead-up to the 2017 Symposium, four speakers will join FreshEd to whet your appetite for the conversations and debate that will take place in Washington DC. This year’s symposium asks us to consider about how comparative and international education phenomena are studied and wade through the possibility that our field has colonial legacies and tendencies.

To kick things off, Leigh Patel joins me to discuss the ways in which settler colonialism structures American society, including the academy.

Leigh Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer. She is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside, and is working on her next book, “To study is to struggle: Higher education and settler colonialism.”  She will speak at the CIES Symposium later this month.

Citation: Patel, Leigh, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 89, podcast audio, October 2, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/patel/

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