Education International welcomed the focus of this year's Global Education Monitoring report "Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges not Walls", showing the importance of addressing issues related to migration, displacement and education in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s commitment to leave no one behind. Bringing together the agenda of the New York Declaration for refugees and migrants and that of SDG 4, the report provides a valuable resource to transform commitments into action and hold governments accountable for fulfilling the right to education of migrant and refugee populations.

Taking a broad approach to the definitions of migration and displacement, the report provides an understanding of the phenomenon and its complex interactions with education. By doing so, it makes a strong case for setting up comprehensive and context-relevant policy frameworks and monitoring mechanisms, involving all concerned stakeholders.

As the report rightly recognizes, teachers and education support personnel are on the front line of diverse educational contexts. Considering the many activities developed by education unions worldwide to promote the rights of migrant and refugee teachers and students and build inclusive educational settings, the report asserts that education staff and their organizations should be given a centre stage in the development and implementation of education and migration policies.
The findings of the report show that access to education remains a major concern, especially for displaced populations. The report argues that governments should identify and remove administrative barriers and regulations that directly or indirectly restrict migrants and forcibly displaced persons’ education opportunities. In particular, it criticises the detention of migrant minors and youth, a concern EI has been raising over the years.

The report makes it very clear that treating migrants and refugees differently is wrong and rightly points out the many dimensions of exclusion, including geographical segregation, separation in preparatory courses, early tracking and channelling of migrants into different school types, misdiagnosis of special education needs. It is thus important that educational authorities tackle multifaceted discrimination facing migrants and refugees in education.
Of particular importance is the report’s bold step to bring to the fore the prejudice and discrimination faced by migrant, refugee and other minority teachers. These issues should be confronted and addressed head-on in order to make schools and all education institutions inclusive.

Considering the benefits associated with teacher diversity  in relation to migrant students’ achievement, self-esteem and sense of safety, the recognition of prior qualifications and professional experience of migrant and refugee education staff should be addressed by governments as a matter of priority and in close collaboration with unions. More broadly and beyond bilateral/multilateral qualifications recognition agreements, the development of systematic and individualized assessment of migrants’ educational background and competences, even in absence of documentation, should be promoted.

Available evidence analysed in the report stresses the important role of education with regards to helping migrants and refugees integrate and develop their full potential, but also more broadly, building inclusive societies. Yet, many teachers and education personnel feel ill-equipped to address diversity in their classrooms and schools. It is urgent to increase support for both teaching and administrative staff through pre- and in-service training aiming to develop the skills and approaches they need to accommodate diversity and integrate newcomers, as well as provide them appropriate resources to fulfil their mission (curricula and pedagogical material). In many countries, education unions have developed a valuable experience in terms of transforming schools into welcoming environments, through supporting staff peer-learning and a 360-degree approach to integration. As the report underlines, putting in place the extra support measures needed to meet these challenges requires that governments and donors significantly increase and improve funding channels to schools and education systems enrolling significant numbers of migrants and refugees.