Integration through education: new report looks at experiences and trends in European cities

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Cities are firmly convinced that access to education is a key element for the successful integration of refugees and asylum seekers, but face a number of challenges in terms of funding, infrastructure and resources.

Launched today, our new report looks at the experiences of 26 major European cities and identifies trends, success factors and good practices.

Anna Lisa Boni, EUROCITIES secretary general, said:

“Ensuring asylum seekers and refugees have access to education is essential for their long-term integration and for enabling them to fulfil their potential in society. Cities are doing their utmost to make sure education services and infrastructure are adapted to the needs of newcomers and to the volume of arrivals.”

Among the key findings of the report are that:

  • Cities have an important role to play in coordinating the activities of stakeholders who otherwise would not cooperate sufficiently. These include government agencies, private schools, NGOs and civil society.

  • The competences for education vary widely across European cities, but where cities are responsible for the provision of education, schools tend to be open to all children regardless of their asylum status. The same applies to vocational training and apprenticeships where possible.

  • Many cities have had to hire new staff and open up new classes in response to the rapid arrival of newcomers.

  • NGOs and volunteers are in many cases involved in the provision of education, and often play a role in filling gaps where there is a lack of funding or resources.

  • Cities facilitate the integration of newcomers in the education system by providing language programmes and other training courses.

  • The involvement of city administrations with the further education sector varies widely, but where possible cities aim to provide access for refugees and asylum seekers to opportunities, often working in partnership with universities and higher education institutions.  

The report also pinpoints some of the challenges cities face in this field, such as the need to avoid segregation, address funding gaps and recruit experienced staff.

EUROCITIES will organise two mentoring visits in 2017 on the topic of education for refugees and asylum seekers with financial support from the Open Society Foundations Education Support Program to enable cities to learn from each other and improve their policies in this field. This grant has been awarded in the context of our Solidarity Cities initiative on refugee integration.


Notes to editors: 

‘Cities’ actions for the education of refugees and asylum seekers’:

Solidarity Cities:

Founded in 1986, EUROCITIES is the network of over 135 major European cities, representing 130 million European citizens.; Twitter: @EUROCITIEStweet

Media contact: Alex Godson, media and communications coordinator: alex.godson@eurocities ; +32 495 298 594


Got a question? Thomas Jezequel, policy advisor: