The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has published a report on asylum seekers’ and refugees’ opportunities to access education and training in Europe.

Looking at Denmark, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland as well as parts of Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden and Slovakia, the report first points out that statistics on asylum seekers and refugees are not collected systematically within EU Member States. The analysis shows that access to education for asylum seekers and refugees remains challenging. Immigrant children living in detention centres do not have access to formal education, or are not obliged to attend school, in nine out of the 14 analysed countries. In three countries, refugees and asylum seekers do not have access to formal education at all.

Although, once enrolled in education, asylum seeking and refugee children profit from the same benefits as nationals of the respective country – and sometimes gain access to additional services, such as language classes – the report highlights the lack of psychological support for traumatised children as well as the lack of teacher training to prepare education personnel for dealing with asylum seeking and refugee children’s special needs.

Other issues that are not sufficiently addressed by EU Member States are the difficulties arising from irregular school attendance of asylum seeking and refugee children before their arrival, the difficulties to introduce newcomers into classes of their age group due to language barriers and schooling gaps, the education of newcomers above the compulsory school age and the recognition of foreign qualifications.