Building an Inclusive and Equitable Early Childhood Education for Refugee Children: Framework for Action
Studies on refugee ECE in the Global South are limited. Geographically, most studies are conducted in Anglo-Celtic countries with extensive resettlement programmes such as United States, Australia, Canada. Most of the studies have small sample sizes and have not been replicated and current findings are not organised to align with theoretical models. Because of this, studies on refugee ECE in the Global South need to forge their own research to obtain valid and reliable findings. Starting with young children gives refugees and governments the greatest boost to human capital development.
In Malaysia, there is currently no cohesive and systematic approach in place to support refugee education. UNHCR is the main stakeholder. Despite progress in enrolling more refugee children in schools, child refugees are still lagging behind their peers in Malaysia. To improve retention after enrolment and access of child refugees to ECE, deliberate efforts must be taken to understand the barriers faced by families in accessing ECE. At the same time, it is equally crucial to appreciate the challenges encountered by teachers in delivering ECE in order to support them in terms of training, development and quality improvement.
Dr Kimberly Kong is Co-Investigator at the University of Sans Malaysia.
To promote equitable education for refugee children aged 4-6 in Malaysia by:
- Enabling access to ECE and improve participation for girl and boy child refugees
- Improving the existing ECE provision for child refugees by addressing the process and structural quality aspects of ECE delivery and engagement with parents/home
- Studying the impact of ECE (and lack of) provision on child refugees 4-6
- Understanding the barriers and challenges faced by parents of refugees in accessing ECE
- Understanding difficulties and challenges faced by ECE and primary staff in their practice
- Discovering the individual characteristics of ECE centres found to be most effective and to capture this practice
- Disseminating the findings to policy makers, practitioners, parents, Government and NGOs