The International day of Migrants is celebrated on the 18 December, a day which recognises the diversity of the 258 million migrants in our world today. Migrants are a vital part of our society, contributing to the economic, social and cultural development for societies across the world. Despite this, migrants are still experiencing an alarming amount of hostility and discrimination.

For ETUCE and its member organisations solidarity with migrants is key to an inclusive world which embraces and celebrates diversity. The ETUCE resolution on ‘Education Trade Unions on the Refugee Situation in Europe: Promoting Education as the Key to Integration and Inclusion’ (2016) , emphasises the importance of education as a fundamental human right. This resolution stresses the need for accessible, inclusive and quality education across all sectors of education for the integration of migrants and refugees in our societies.

The UN global compact for migration that has been just adopted, despite many countries undergoing pressure and protest from right-wing and populist movements, focuses on all areas of international migration. This compact aims to issue that safe and regular migration as well as, creating opportunities to enable all migrants to participate in the human, economic and social aspects of society. Hence, ETUCE urges European governments to sign the UN Migration Compact to show solidarity in the management of migration.

Today, ETUCE acknowledges the essential role of teachers and education personnel in contributing to integrating migrants and refugees and to creating a more inclusive education for everyone. ETUCE and its member organisations advocate for teachers to obtain the necessary training as well as time and financial resources which are key to offering an effective and inclusive education. Initial training as well as continuous professional development in relation to migrant education, psychosocial counselling and other actions are fundamental for successful educational opportunities. ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, states: “Education trade unions are key to defending and promoting the rights of migrants and refugees and in supporting their successful integration. ETUCE calls on governments and education authorities to act with solidarity and shared responsibility in providing more assistance for the integration of migrants and refugees. Now is the time to work together in truly European spirit and not to succumb to the pressure from separatist, nationalist and populist movements. Member states, especially in the EU, need to improve their coordination and step up their efforts in integrating refugees through appropriate teacher training and language support as well as promoting better skills recognition, language acquisition and qualifications assessment across countries”.

To read ETUCE’s statement on ‘Refugees & Education: Human Rights for All, 2015’, please click here.