When speaking about refugee education, it is to be remembered that children and young people who seek national or international protection from other countries may have had significant disruptions in their education due to war, conflict and/or prosecution in the country from which they fled. Adding to the complexity of promoting intercultural understanding at schools which these children and young people attend, they may have very low starting points in terms of numeracy, literacy; although this must also be balanced against the opportunities that immigrant pupils bring to classrooms and lecture rooms. However, no amount of multicultural education would compensate for their lack in certain skills implying that schools would need to invest further resources to be able to give these children and young people as meaningful an education as possible. Notwithstanding this, education is a basic right, and so the question of what each child can bring to the classroom should remain secondary in education policy and practice. The need for these resources at schools is imminent.
Personally speaking, I believe that multicultural education can only be successful if children and young people can picture for themselves what it means to live in a foreign country among foreign people. Many writers encourage a hands-on approach, including encouraging young people to go abroad, learn foreign languages, and live with host families for short periods of time. These international experiences can certainly be beneficial as they offer young people a chance to get to know about others and about themselves, and thereby be more adept at communicating with (and understanding) other people. However, sometimes this ‘experience’ of relating to people from other cultures is ‘closer home.’ Some international schools and boarding schools characteristically have learners from different countries in their classes. Other schools have high concentrations of migrants. Even if these schools are in areas with poor socio-economic indicators, the education they offer does not necessarily have to be of poorer quality. The learning environment could be characterized as being more complex, with a wide range of cultural and linguistic abilities. However, as children and young people adapt to a new culture, learn a new language, and deal with all the stress of moving to a new country, they are also demonstrating to the others present, through peer learning and social learning, how to be resilient.