School integration of refugee minors: An analysis of the barriers of education quality and continuity in Italian and Greek school systems


In recent years, the number of minor migrants, both accompanied and unaccompanied, arriving in European countries increased significantly. The impact of newcomers on the school systems of various European countries has highlighted problems in education continuity and in the accomplishment of educational goals. Relying on the preliminary data from the Erasmus+ KA2 project “Continugee” in Italy and Greece, this paper analyses the current policies and practices used in refugee children education. In addition to policy analysis, interviews with families, teachers and professionals operating in migrant shelters and schools were conducted, aimed to address both institutional and relational dimensions of schooling and to point out good practices in educational incorporation of refugee youth. Research shows that – notwithstanding a common concern throughout Europe, national and local regulations, and local practices do affect their access to quality education. Age limits, gender gaps, location of shelters, lack of adequate institutional educational facilities and of professional training make effective educational placement and continuity difficult. Schools have a very different level of effectiveness and European policy innovation is often jeopardized by lack of resources and staff motivation. Recognition of qualifications and skills, a supported participation into mainstream education, and a participatory approach with families and guardians are essential for effective school integration.

Keywords: refugee, minors, education, training, policy, European


Author Biographies

Gül Ince-Beqo, University of Urbino

Gül Ince-Beqo holds a co-tutelle PhD in Sociology, Organization and Culture from the Catholic University of Milan and the Regent's University of London. Her research interests include, but are not limited to family migration, migrant integration policy and gender. She is a research fellow in Sociology at the University of Urbino.

Yiannis Roussakis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Yiannis Roussakis is Assistant Professor of Education Policy and Teacher Education at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Educational Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Education and Education Policy, M.Ed. in Pedagogy, B.Sc. in Physics and B.Ed. in Primary Education. He is the co-author of one book (“European Union: Policies for Education”, Greek Pedagogical Institute, 2008) and co-editor of three collective volumes. Also author of many collective-volume chapters and scientific journal papers in Greek and in English, mainly on Greek and European education policies in comparative perspective and teacher education policies and practices. He is currently involved in research projects on refugee and Roma education, school improvement and educational change, and teacher education in European perspective.

Vittorio Sergi, University of Urbino - Italy

Vittorio Sergi is a research fellow in Sociology at University of Urbino – Italy and works as a public-school teacher in Philosophy and Social Sciences in the province of Ancona, Italy.

He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a Ph. D. in Philosopy and Politics at the University of Napoli "L'Orientale" and Ph. D. in Sociology at the Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico. His research interest include social movements, youth in work and education processes and conflicts and critical pedagogy.