By Ajay Jejurikar, Sydney Morning Herald
The Social, Economic, and Cultural Issues Committee (SOCHUM) is divided on how to educate refugees worldwide. Several countries worldwide support a mainstreaming educational system for refugees. Mainstreaming describes a tailored educational system that acclimates refugees to their host countries. Many countries argue that mainstreaming is the best way to integrate refugees into society. “Mainstreaming fully immerses refugees into western society,” stated a representative of France. Furthermore, several member states have explained that mainstreaming would allow refugees to benefit their host countries. “An educational system that incorporates mainstreaming for refugees would benefit their host country’s economies,” said a representative from China.
On the other hand, a handful of states are proponents of parallelism for refugees. Parallelism entails that a host country emulates the educational system of a refugee’s home country, in hopes of eventually sending the refugee home. These countries claim that refugees thrive in their home countries. “Syrian refugees belong in their homeland, and it is other countries’ responsibility to ensure this,” representatives of Syria argued. Additionally, proponents of parallelism believe that mainstreaming negatively impacts the well-being of refugees. “Mainstreaming unnecessarily immerses refugees into western culture, which damages their cultural identity,” lamented the representatives of Ukraine.
As debate continues in the General Assembly, countries in SOCHUM must reach a reasonable compromise if they hope to assist refugees worldwide.