International Migrants Day – Education ‘takes a community’


On the 18th of December 2022, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) joins the global community in celebrating International Migrants Day. International Migrants Day is a moment in the year to spotlight the contributions of migrants to our economies and societies. It is also a point to reflect on the challenges that migrants might encounter in achieving their full potential.

In line with this year's theme of community, ETUCE spotlights the significant role that educational institutions, schools, teachers, and education trade unions play in fostering inclusive communities. Migrants uniquely contribute to our societies; therefore, it is important that education fosters a wide understanding of the strength and richness that comes with the migrant communities. This understanding can be nurtured through the introduction of fair legislation, increased investment in teacher training, the revision of curricula, awareness raising campaigns on the benefits of diversity aimed at civil society, and the deconstruction of the presumptions upon which neoliberalism is based.

At a time when around 8 million Ukrainian residents have been displaced as a result of military invasion by the Russian Federation, it is particularly significant to emphasise the importance of supporting the inclusion of migrants in education systems and the labour market. ETUCE and its member organisations are committed to working continuously in the complex context of the war in Ukraine, the emergence of society from the COVID-19 pandemic, the extreme increase in energy prices, and the cost-of-living crisis to ensure that every child, student, and teacher that moves from their home has an open and welcoming education community that allows them to learn and thrive.

"National education systems, teachers, and students are continuously confronted with new challenges that have been exacerbated by the current intersecting crisis," notes European Director Susan Flocken, "it is therefore important that education systems in Europe are financially supported to foster inclusive communities in which all individuals can flourish. This extends to proving the adequate resources for teacher training and the space for strong social dialogue to ultimately provide targeted support that addresses the specific needs of migrants."

Numerous initiatives, led by a variety of different actors, are occurring to mark the day: Education International (EI) are publishing an opinion piece on refugee education, the European Trade Union Committee (ETUC) are highlighting the importance of equality by promoting the message 'A worker is a worker - wherever they are from,' and the European Commission are holding its annual summit of refugees and migrants in early 2023.

To find out more about how ETUCE continues to work on supporting the inclusion of migrants in education and the wider community, please see the ETUCE Action Plan on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, the ETUCE online hub on the war in Ukraine, the report on ETUCE's solidarity mission to Romania, Poland and Moldova, and the outcomes of the ETUCE-EFEE project entitled ‘European Social Partners in Education Promoting Effective Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Education.’