Great Expectations: African Youth from Refugee Backgrounds and the Transition to University
Engagement in post-compulsory education is a means by which resettled refugees can gain social and economic mobility. Given the importance of education in shaping the futures of both individuals and societies, understanding the challenges facing students from refugee backgrounds and those involved in their education constitutes an important area of research. While such issues have received attention in primary and secondary school contexts, very little research has addressed these issues in higher education. This chapter examines the educational experiences and challenges associated with the transition to university for African youth from refugee backgrounds. It presents the perspectives of educators, social service providers, African students and African community leaders who participated in a qualitative investigation of the education and career pathways of African youth from refugee backgrounds. The chapter invites academics to reflect upon their experiences and challenges in teaching these students and to consider their own professional development needs with a view to better supporting these students. Recommendations are offered in an effort to identify key areas of support for academics and students in higher education.
KeywordsRefugee youth Educational challenges Transition African refugees
- Akuei, S. R. (2005). Remittances as unforeseen burdens: The livelihoods and social obligations of Sudanese refugees (18). Retrieved from Geneva. http://www.unhcr.org/research/RESEARCH/40b1ea8a4.pdf.
- Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship. (2013). Migration to Australia’s states and territories 2011–12. Retrieved from Canberra. https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/statistics/migration-australia-states-territories-2011-12.pdf.
- Banerjee, R., & Verma, A. (2012). Post-migration education among recent adult immigrants to Canada. International Journal of Migration and Integration, 13, 59–82.Google Scholar
- Banks, L., & MacDonald, D. (2003). Refugees into higher education: A report from the Health and Social Policy Research Centre at the University of Brighton for the Community University Partnership Programme. Retrieved from London. www.brighton.ac.uk/cupp/projects/black-and-minority-ethnic-bme/180-refugees-into-higher-education.html
- Bethke, L., & Braunschweig, S. (2004). Global survey on education in emergencies. Retrieved from New York. http://www.ineesite.org/en/resources/global-survey-on-education-in-emergencies-2004.
- Bonfiglio, A. (2010). Learning outside the classroom: Non-formal refugee education in Uganda. Retrieved from Geneva, Switzerland. http://www.unhcr.org/research/working/4cd953cb9/learning-outside-classroom-non-formal-refugee-education-uganda-ayla-bonfiglio.html.
- Brodie-Tyrrell, J. (2009, 29 October). Providing safe school environments for students with refugee background. Paper presented at the Refugee Trauma Across the Lifespan: Children and Adolescent Wellbeing and the Implications for Adult Health, National Wine Centre of Australia, Adelaide.Google Scholar
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Brown, J., Miller, J., & Mitchell, J. (2006). Interrupted schooling and the acquisition of literacy: Experiences of Sudanese refugees in Victorian secondary schools. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 29, 150–162.Google Scholar
- Cassity, E., & Gow, G. (2005). Making up for lost time: The experiences of Southern Sudanese young refugees in high schools. Youth Studies Australia, 24(3), 51–55.Google Scholar
- Commonwealth of Australia. (2011). The people of Australia: Australia’s multicultural policy. Retrieved from Canberra. https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/settlement-and-multicultural-affairs/publications/the-people-of-australia-australias-multicultural-policy.
- Feighery, W. G. (2013). Cultural diversity and the school-to-work transition: A relational perspective. In G. Tchibozo (Ed.), Cultural and social diversity and the transition from education to work (pp. 55–86). London: Springer.Google Scholar
- Figley, C. R. (1986). Trauma and its Wake: Volume II: Traumatic stress theory, research, and intervention. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
- Gifford, S., Correa-Velez, I., & Sampson, R. (2009). Good Starts for recently arrived youth with refugee backgrounds: Promoting wellbeing in the first three years of settlement in Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved from Melbourne. http://www.myan.org.au/file/file/useful%20resources/report-good-starts.pdf.
- Grant, J., & Francis, S. (2011). School’s in for refugees: A whole-school approach to supporting students of refugee background. Retrieved from Brunswick, Victoria. http://www.foundationhouse.org.au/schools-in-for-refugees/.
- Hammond, L. (2010). Obliged to give: Remittances and the maintenance of transnational networks between Somalis at home and abroad. Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies, 10, 125–151.Google Scholar
- Harris, V., & Marlowe, J. (2011). Hard yards and high hopes: The educational challenges of African refugee university students in Australia. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 23, 186–196.Google Scholar
- Joyce, A., Earnest, J., De Mori, G., & Silvagni, G. (2010). The experiences of students from refugee backgrounds at universities in Australia: Reflections on the social, emotional and practical challenges. Journal of Refugee Studies, 23, 82–97. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/feq001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- King, S. M. (2017). Unfolding transitions: The education and career pathways of African youth from refugee backgrounds. Adelaide: UNESCO APNIEVE Australia.Google Scholar
- King, S. M., & Owens, L. (2015). The schooling experiences of African youth from refugee backgrounds in South Australia: Key findings and implications for educational practice. In H. Askell-Williams (Ed.), Transforming the future of learning with educational research (pp. 100–124). Hershey: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Macquarie University. (2015). LEAP – Macquarie mentoring (refugee mentoring). Retrieved from www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/widening_participation_unit/the_leap_program/leap-macquarie_mentoring_refugee_mentoring/
- Miller, J., & Windle, J. (2010). Second language literacy: Putting high needs ESL learners in the frame. English in Australia, 45(3), 31–40.Google Scholar
- Miller, J., Mitchell, J., & Brown, J. (2005). African refugees with interrupted schooling in the high school mainstream: Dilemmas for teachers. Prospect, 20(2), 19–33.Google Scholar
- Oliver, R., Haig, Y., & Grote, E. (2009). Addressing the educational challenges faced by African refugee background students: Perceptions of West Australian stakeholders. TESOL in Context, 19, 23–38.Google Scholar
- Putnam, R. (2011). The growth of inequality and class cleavage in the US, the UK and other modern societies. Presentation. University of Adelaide. Adelaide.Google Scholar
- Quappe, S., & Cantatore, G. (2005). What is cultural awareness, anyway? How do I build it? Retrieved from http://www.culturosity.com/articles/whatisculturalawareness.htm
- Refugee Council of Australia. (2006a). Australia’s Refugee Program: Facts and stats: Australian statistics. Retrieved from http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/arp/stats-02.html
- Refugee Council of Australia. (2006b). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/arp/faqs.html
- Semo, R. (2011). Social capital and young people. Retrieved from Adelaide. https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/social-capital-and-young-people#.Google Scholar
- Stake, R. E. (2005). Qualitative case studies. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), SAGE Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Udo-Ekpo, L. T. (1999). The Africans in Australia: Expectations and shattered dreams. Adelaide: Seaview Press.Google Scholar
- University of Newcastle. (2015). Supporting refugee students in higher education. Retrieved from www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/supporting-refugee-students-in-higher-education
- Vickers, M. (2007). Developing university-community partnerships to support African refugees in Greater Western Sydney. Australasian Journal of University Community Engagement, 2(1), 211–217.Google Scholar
- Walker, I., Tilbury, F., Volet, S., Tungaraza, C., & Hastie, B. (2005). Pathways to apprenticeships and traineeships for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Retrieved from Perth. http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/8393/1/ApprenticeshipsforpeoplefromCALD.pdfhttp://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/8393/1/ApprenticeshipsforpeoplefromCALD.pdf.Google Scholar
- Windle, J., & Miller, J. (2012). Approaches to teaching low literacy refugee-background students. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 35(3), 317–333.Google Scholar
- Zufferey, C., & Wache, D. (2012). Connecting with the African-student diaspora in Australian higher education. Research and Development in Higher Education, 35, 363–373.Google Scholar