A collaborative approach to advocacy and praxis for students from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds accessing and participating in education in Australia
The Refugee Education Special Interest Group (SIG) represents a broad group of students from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds, and people from the community, higher education, vocational education and school sectors across Australia who has an interest in facilitating educational opportunities for students from refugee backgrounds. Established in 2016, the SIG emerged from a recognised need for a coordinated approach to advocacy and networking to support the access and engagement of students from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds in post-compulsory and higher education. The idea for the SIG originated from two events: a workshop held at the Equity Practitioners In Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) Conference, and a national symposium at the University of Newcastle, both held in November 2015. The SIG then developed out of the regular national teleconferences “Exploring education pathways for young asylum seekers and refugees” hosted by Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN) Australia and the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) since November 2015.
The SIG objectives are to:
- Create greater collaboration and networks between institutions, practitioners and providers to achieve better outcomes for students from refugee backgrounds;
- Share ‘best practice’ initiatives, research, interventions, programs and support mechanisms across Australia;
- Share information about pathways into higher education available to students from refugee backgrounds and other culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students; and
- Advocate with and on behalf of students from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds on issues that affect their ability to access, engage in and transition out of higher education.
The SIG is an important national mechanism for facilitating connections and sharing good practice that support better educational opportunities for students from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds.
The “Exploring Education Pathways for Young People Seeking Asylum and Young Refugees on TPVs and SHEVs” sub-group meets quarterly via Skype and is convened by MYAN Australia and RCOA. These regular meetings provide an opportunity for networking between workers and agencies supporting young asylum seekers and refugees on TPVs or SHEVs across Australia. It also serves as a platform to share and promote initiatives that support young people to continue engaging in education/training opportunities beyond the age of 18, as well as identifying advocacy priorities or opportunities.
More information can be found here http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/educationsig.
For more information on the Education Pathways national teleconference visit http://www.myan.org.au/our-work-with-the-sector/159/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.