An exploration of the factors influencing the inclusion of refugee background learners in the Aotearoa New Zealand education system

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
For several years, a refugee crisis has been taking place as an unprecedented number of people become displaced following conflict and persecution in their home countries, half of whom are children and young people under the age of 18. As Aotearoa New Zealand continues to welcome refugees, it is essential for schools and the wider education system to encourage inclusion of refugee background learners. Enabling them the opportunity to participate meaningfully with education, and experience academic and social success, will lead to positive future outcomes and minimise marginalisation. In this research, a mixed-method design is used to explore the factors influencing inclusion of a small cohort of refugee background learners in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Sixteen participants completed an online survey, with three engaging further in a semi-structured interview allowing them an opportunity to provide a perspective of their lived experience in the education system. It was found that the key factors contributing to inclusion for these learners were parent engagement in education, teacher and peer relationships, recognition and value of cultural diversity, and the extra resources they were able to access to enhance their academic and social outcomes. It is hoped the findings from this research can inform teachers, schools, and education policy makers of the factors contributing to inclusion from the perspective of the learners. This will allow systems and processes to be put in place which have the potential to increase participation, learning and belonging of refugee background learners in the Aotearoa education system.
Refugee children, Education, New Zealand, Inclusive education