From camps to campus: Support throughout tertiary education for refugee young people in Australia.

Stream: Panel 94 - Human Rights & Democracy: Elusive Justice and Rights Vacuums for Mobile Populations; New Issues and Debates
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm


The right to an education is one of the most valued aspects of resettlement for refugees as an important tool to restore dignity, security and hope. Intense media attention on the refugee crisis stemming from the Syrian conflict has triggered additional measures for successful integration of refugee young people in Australia. Over the past 12 months, there has been a bigger push to support access and participation of refugee young people at university. The Review of Australian Higher Education or Bradley Review, while failing to recognise refugees as a distinct category with compound needs, reinforces tertiary institutions’ commitment to improving access and educational outcomes across all equity groups. Recent public commitments by New South Wales universities to allocate scholarships funds for refugee students from Syria and Iraq has highlighted the need to also provide tailored support to refugee students more broadly. Access to university alone is nowhere near enough to achieve meaningful socio-cultural and economic outcomes; cohorts of refugee students experience diverse obstacles to educational attainment like psychosocial issues, isolation, language and socio-cultural barriers. The onus rests on Australia’s tertiary education system to provide appropriate support to refugee students in order to set them up for success. This presentation will explore why there is an impetus to address refugee young people’s complex needs in the tertiary sector as a priority to facilitate educational attainment and socio-economic integration. It will also include a brief summary of relevant recommendations from the UNHCR’s consultations with NGOs for 2016, themed ‘Young People’


Caroline Lenette (Presenter), UNSW
Caroline Lenette is a Lecturer of Social Research and Policy at UNSW. Caroline’s research focuses on refugee and asylum seeker mental health and wellbeing, forced migration and resettlement, and arts-based research in health, particularly visual ethnography and community music. She is currently working on an Australian Research Council funded project on settlement services for Women-at-Risk in Brisbane with colleagues from the Queensland University of Technology and a community-based settlement organisation. She also works with a multidisciplinary team at UNSW to look at how digital storytelling can improve the sexual health of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.