On Wednesday, 4th November MYAN hosted a National Education Panel to discuss the national implications of COVID-19 on students from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Our expert panel represented diverse sectors and perspectives across research, policy and programming, with a national, state and local lens. They were:
Julie Sonnemann - Grattan Institute Dr Sue Creagh - University of Queensland Hala Ramadan - Belmore Boys' High School Melanie Cutler - Centre for Multicultural Youth
See below for panel presentations and background Briefing Paper prepared by MYAN and Foundation House.
Panel discussion highlights:
Local perspectives on how schools, families and students have responded to the challenges of COVID-19, including:
Connecting students and staff with counselling services, and prioritising mental health wellbeing of students, their families and school staff.
Addressing the lack of adequate technology and devices for many students, including auditing the technology needs of students and providing them with laptops, data and devices.
Responding to the financial impacts of COVID-19, including connecting with service providers to ensure families had basic necessities covered such as food and bills.
Sourcing tutors from local universities for after school programs.
Observations from state-level program delivery, in and outside schools, including:
A lack of consistency about how schools define ‘vulnerability,’ which impacts the type of support provided for students.
The impact lots of additional responsibilities for students – often a lack of alignment between expectations at home and at school.
The crucial importance of school engagement/relationships with families and the importance of pre-existing relations before COVID-19.
The ways in which remote learning has forced required schools to work more closely with families, creating a better understanding of the family context – and with positive implications for the future.
The importance of dedicated roles in schools for supporting EAL/D students.
The need to understand students’ individual contexts and tailor responses to different types of disadvantage accordingly.
COVID-19 has presented an opportunity to reflect on, and strengthen educational responses.
Considering the distinctions between literacy and language.
Analysis of NAPLAN results for students from refugee and migrant backgrounds, including how the very broad LBOTE category hides enormous diversity of students.
Discussions about how research and data informs policy settings and educational programming, including the need to address gaps in data collection to create a more accurate evidence-base to better inform future policy and programming.
How COVID-19 has exacerbated many pre-existing issues for this group of young people.
The need for increased and targeted investment to support educational outcomes of young people, while recognising and harnessing their strengths and capabilities.
The event also included a dynamic Q&A with the audience where we further explored educational access and equity challenges for students from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
This discussion will inform the ongoing policy work of the National Education Roundtable led by MYAN and Foundation House.
See resources from the event below:
Dr Sue Creagh PPT Slides Pre-COVID and during COVID research around implications for students from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Julie Sonneman PPT Slides Pre-COVID and during COVID data and analytics for students from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) Organisation advocating for the interests of teachers of English to speakers of other languages and dialects and their students
Briefing Paper - Prepared by the National Education Roundtable Steering Committee Overview of the barriers (pre and post COVID-19) to equitable access and engagement in primary and secondary education experienced by students from refugee and migrant backgrounds in Australia.
We look forward to connecting with you again soon!