15.12.2017 EAEAMEMBERSPOLICY

Prompt and seamless validation of refugees’ prior learning: Need of the Hour

How can adult education ensure successful integration of refugees into society in the long term? EAEA invited care providers from Germany and Serbia at the event ‘Refugee Inclusion: taking stock of adult education achievements and challenges’ to share their insights.

Anja Stefanovic talked about the validation of prior learning of refugees in Serbia.

“Validation of prior learning increases the access to lifelong learning and flexible learning pathways,” said EAEA’s Gina Ebner emphasising the pivotal role of adult education in the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into host societies.

What Future for Adult Education in Europe was a multiplier event part of EAEA’s coordinated project Financing Adult Education in Europe (FinALE). Building upon 2016’s policy debate on the integration of refugees, the event on December 6, 2017, aimed at trying to map out the lessons learned since then. EAEA invited individuals involved in the cause of migrant integration who provided insight into the diversity of care provision accessible to migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in the speakers’ home countries.

From Transition to Destination Countries

Seen as an initial halt in their onward journey towards the EU, transition countries such as Serbia have unique challenges of their own, noted Anja Stefanovic from the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights. Stefanovic, a lawyer by profession, spoke about this gap within the needs of migrants in Serbia versus what the Serbian care providers offer them.

According to her, migrants in Serbia have a hesitant approach towards the available adult education services since they do not plan on settling in Serbia indefinitely. With increasing requests for German and English language courses rather than the Serbian language, care providers find it challenging to provide services that would help integrate them into the Serbian labour market.

On the other hand, destination countries such as Germany have seen a distinct set of challenges. Over the past few years, the influx of migrants has led to higher approval rates of asylum seeker applications and an increased budget for adult education providers, confirmed Dr Henning Marquardt from Lower Saxony’s Agency of Adult and Continuing Education.

Initially, the problem laid in the inability of these services to reach out to those migrants whose asylum statuses had not been approved yet. The period 2017-2018 marked a step forward, with a wider range of courses made available to migrants regardless of their asylum status. However, it has become more difficult to advertise these courses to the target group who have now spread throughout the region after the approval of their asylum application.

Regardless of the laudable achievements in the host countries’ provision of care, one of the few needs that remains unmet is the validation of their prior competences, and the opportunities to have their certificates recognised.

“As we continue to celebrate the flexibility of Adult Education providers’ reaction to such crises, their (migrants’) developing requirements need to be managed and adapted to,” Gina Ebner concluded.

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Text: Meghna Jadhav
Photo: EAEA