For many decades, ‘refugee education’ has been primarily associated with the education of refugees in countries far-away as the majority of the world’s displaced persons and refugees are hosted by countries in the Global South. However, the recent European ‘refugee crisis’, that is, the large influx of refugees and migrants in Europe, has definitely turned refugee education into a European issue. As refugee students from all over the world enter European classrooms, policy makers, educators and researchers need to rethink refugee education ‘at home’ in order to ensure quality and equity. As many refugees in Europe are here to stay, the challenge is how education can contribute to their inclusion in school as well as their integration into the host society. There is a great need for rethinking the education of refugees resettling in Europe and their inclusion in national school systems. How can universal principles of quality and equity for all students be implemented in national education policies, schools and classroom practice? The current challenges are complex and call for an interdisciplinary approach. Findings and perspectives from refugee education research as well as comparative and international education research can advance our understanding of these issues. This chapter argues for a holistic, whole-school approach to refugee education, which includes education policy, school structures, classroom practice, curricula, pedagogy and teaching materials, as well as cultural awareness and refugee competence.
The significant increase in refugees in Europe and worldwide during 2015 challenges the paradigm of refugee education.