By Roy Mabasa
Filipino migration positively affects the education of those they left behind, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report.
Entitled, “Bridging Bridges not Walls: Migration, Displacement, and Education,” the 2019 GEM Report presented implications of different types of migration and displacement on education systems, as well as the impact of reforming education curricula and approaches to training and teacher preparation.
“On migration, it is found out that migration affects the education of those left behind.” In the case of the Philippines, it has affected the country positively, the UNESCO report said.
With 1.5 to 3 million children who have at least one international migrant parent abroad, the Philippines showed an increase in school attendance and reduced child labor due to the rise in international remittances from the migrant workers.
On displacement, the UNESCO report mentioned that “education for the displaced lags in access and quality” and “tracking education trajectories of the internally displaced is difficult.”
It noted that in the presence of natural calamities such as typhoons, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides, the Philippines’ “disaster risk reduction measures and the availability of typhoon-resistant schools equipped with instructional resources has led to an average increase of 0.3 years of education.”
While the report pointed out that “loss of talent can be detrimental for poorer countries,” the case of the Philippines, however, was cited for being one of the few Asian countries that are seeing more citizens return with valuable skills.
It also mentioned that the Philippines has instated policies for returnees and linked them to recognition services and prospective employers.
In her foreword, GEM Report Advisory Board Chair Helen Clark said the Report “shows us in the form of so many uplifting examples from Canada, Chad, Colombia, Ireland, Lebanon, the Philippines, Turkey and Uganda, education can also be a bridge.”
“It can bring out the best in people, and lead to stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination being discarded for critical thinking, solidarity and openness. It can offer a helping hand to those who have suffered and a springboard to those who desperately need opportunity.”
Accordingly, the GEM Report calls on the government to take actions with regard to the inclusion of the migrants and refugees to their educational system.
It listed recommendations that include the protection of the right to education of migrants and displaced people, the inclusion of the migrants and displaced people in the national educational system, understanding and planning for the education needs of migrants and displaced people, and preparation of teachers of migrants and refugees to address diversity and hardship.
Furthermore, it suggested that governments should harness the potential of migrants and displaced people.
GEM Report is an annual publication that assesses progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, as well as other related education targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.