Addressing migration and mobility is crucial for adult educators. As this is not yet self-evident, I explain why it should be. Whether and how migration happens depends on policy choices. Globalization is not ‘somebody’ that shoves people across the border and slams gates shut after them. Open borders, wars and chronic poverty determine whether people
Addressing migration and mobility is crucial for adult educators. As this is not yet self-evident, I explain why it should be.
Whether and how migration happens depends on policy choices. Globalization is not ‘somebody’ that shoves people across the border and slams gates shut after them. Open borders, wars and chronic poverty determine whether people want to leave their homes.
By adjusting policies on professional and language training we offer for immigrants, we can affect the opportunities migrants have. Faster and cheaper planes, ships and trains do not force anyone to move. Policies do it.
For example, while many migrants look for work and education as means for a better life, some look just for life. The war in Syria has created masses of refugees who have nothing left. Currently, the only thing waiting for them is years of misery in refugee camps.
We can console their despair either by offering them skills to start anew here, or by arranging them education in the camps. Our choices influence the range of options they have.
Of course, opinions across Europe on migration have hardened over the last years. Some say that migrants are bad for economy and social stability, and fewer people should have the chance to move in. Policy-makers in many countries, including Finland, Hungary and Russia, have listened to these voices.
Actually, researchers estimate that if international barriers to migration were lifted, the gains would be between 50 and 150 percent of world GDP (Clemens, 2011). To be sure, this does not mean that our economy would benefit from it. Someone might come to take my job.
While economic effects of migration remain unclear, whether newcomers transform into working, independent citizens or marginalized groups depends on how we receive and support their first steps in our society.
Bold efforts in adult education centres and ministries can unlock migrants’ existing skills and equip them with new ones. If right choices are made, newcomers can make the overall society prosper.
As our readers know adult education throughout, LLinE’s greatest challenge is to offer fresh perspectives to a familiar topic. By focusing on migration and mobility, I think we have succeeded in showing how much lays in hands of adult educators.
Some of our excellent authors show a closer perspective on why people leave their homes – a drastic decision that no one does lightly. Others illuminate how migrants are taught and welcomed in countries, such as Germany, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
What underlines all the articles is that migration and mobility needs special attention from those working in adult education. Preparing migrants with skills to settle down, talk with people and earn their living lies in the heart of a successful education policy.
This issue breathes lifelong learning into refugee camps, urban cities and rural schools. Our work with migrants shapes how these places will be like in the future.
Clemens, Michael (2011): Economics and Migration: ‘Trillion-Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk?’ in Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 25, is. 3.