Refugee Resettlement and Education Policy Responses in Australia, 1990s-2010s: African Youth in Focus

Year: 2019

Author: Molla, Tebeje

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Starting from the 1990s, the number of African refugees settling in Australia has considerably increased. However, as it is documented in official reports, the communitylive in enclaves at the margin of society, with limited social opportunities. Drawing on document review, and population census and higher education enrolment data sets, this paper problematizes the relevance of equity policy provisions to educational needs and aspirations of African refugees. Specifically, the paper maps trends of resettlement and higher education participation of the refugee youth. The findings show that the group remains invisible in equity policy discourses, and is underrepresented in the Australian higher education system. It is also evident that the existing equity instruments do not adequately recognize the intersectional factors of educational disadvantage. Viewing policy silences and inactions as structural factors of inequality, the paper highlights how low educational attainment (coupled with the pervasive racial bias toward black Africans) reproduces the marginal position of the refugee youth and weakens social cohesion in general.