By Brian Salant and Meghan Benton
The huge influx of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe over the past two years has placed considerable pressure on local services and infrastructure in many cities, including in education. Cities only have competence over limited areas of education policy, leaving many unable to respond quickly to rapid population changes or make structural changes, such as to teacher recruitment and training, to adapt to the needs of diverse populations. Many cities are facing significant capacity and infrastructure challenges associated with large-scale arrivals; others are struggling to stretch budgets that were established on the basis of outdated population figures.
This MPI Europe report examines the hurdles that cities face when helping new arrivals access education and training. It also highlights innovative ways municipalities support newly arrived migrants as they enter the education system and local labor force, including two-generation and co-located services through which parents and children can access child care, health and social services, and language training in one location. Others have developed "whole-place" approaches that work across all local services to address the whole education-to-work pathway. The authors outline ways in which the European level could help mitigate multilevel governance challenges and scale what works, as well as strategies the Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees could consider to better support cities in their immediate response to large migrant influxes.
The report was commissioned by the Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, an initiative of the Urban Agenda for the EU, to inform its action plan to improve cities’ access to and use of EU support mechanisms in the area of immigrant integration.