By Nam Ngo Thanh
I was born in a rural area of Vietnam. I spent five years of my childhood in that peaceful countryside. However, when I was eight years old, my parents decided to immigrate to the city. Since then, I have encountered many difficulties in this new environment. One of the difficulties occurred in my school. Based my own experiences as a child, I am interested in educating immigrant children. I believe that every child deserves a good education. For the education of a well-to-do country, we need to pay attention to all class of people in that country.
For a long time, migration has not been a new topic. Migration affects many factors of a city or country. One of them is education. It is easy to see how migration will affect education in both positive and negative aspects.
What is the causes of immigration?
In any country, we always have immigration status. There are two main types of immigration: immigration within the country, which can be families moving from countryside to city and migrating from one country to another.
There are many reasons for immigration, such as adults want to find a better job--better than no job or low income job. For some households, migration is to achieve higher levels of education and better education environments. However, regardless of the cause, adults only think about the good things they wish to have, but they sometimes do not anticipate the negative effects that can occur, especially with their children.
“Learning is not important by making money”
It is a locality of immigrants in the leading category in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City that also faces shortcomings in the access to education of children of migrant families. This makes migrant children more vulnerable to the right to care and play because parents have to work many shifts for overtime and still have low income. The majority of respondents said that migrant children have limited participation in local activities because their parents do not have information or spend time working so they do not have time to pick up their children.
In addition, most of the children of migrant workers are dominated by family-run businesses. Therefore, children have difficulties in learning and playing. Some parents think that learning is not as important as earning money, so they often let their children trade and make a living. This can create learning disruptions and can cause negative effects on the children.
Public schools are also cautious about accepting immigrant children in their educational settings. High fees at private schools are also a major obstacle for immigrant families, although they are welcome in these places. Education policies are primarily targeted at children in the local area, with little consideration to migrant children.
Sometimes, obstacles encountered by immigrant children come from the teachers who receive them. Teachers can be uncomfortable teaching students with many learning limits. They may think they will make their work harder.
Cultural differences are also a challenge that children often encounter. In some cases, although they have access to a new learning environment, differences in lifestyles, religions, the gap between the rich and the poor, and communication skills make it difficult for them to integrate. Others are easily bullied without the proper attention of the teacher and the school. When migrating to another country, language barriers are the biggest problem they face. We can easily visualize the obstacles they face when they have to study in an environment where it is hard to communicate in a common language.
What solutions are there for immigrant children?
Children are always innocent of their family's immigration. Therefore, localities, schools, and teachers need to be empathetic when it comes to accepting and giving them opportunities to learn in a new environment. We need to realize that learning is the right thing for every child to enjoy. Therefore, there is no reason for them to be pushed out of a school. Local authorities should also have a mandatory requirement for parents of immigrant children to bring their children to school. Parents have no right to deprive children of the right to education.
Knowledge of integrating the child as well as individual instruction with students who have learning limit should be provided to the teacher in a sufficient way.
We do not know for sure whether a child will have to move in the future, however, every school and teacher needs to be ready to adapt if that happens. All children in the 21st century need to learn as well as orient themselves to cross cultural boundaries, regardless of ethnic, race, age, geography, or other boundaries. The skills of self-protection when at risk of harm; sharing the thoughts or difficulties encountered should also be the school’s interest in the process of educating the children. Children also need to be taught sympathy, love of human kind so that they are ready to welcome immigrant friends to their class and community.
Addressing the issue of education for immigrant children has never been simple for us. However, if it comes from love for children, I’m sure we will find a solution to this problem. Every child has the need to be educated so that he or she can act as an independent economic actor in the future and ensure his or her life.
Nam Ngo Thanh is now a manager of technology academy department in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He has authored multiple articles, and he has been nationally and internationally recognized for the implementation of creativity and the integration of technology into his teaching. He is the founder of many global projects Five Safe Fingers, Kindness Everyday, Stem, SGDs in actions,.... Nam is now Microsoft Master Trainer, Skype Master Teacher, and Microsoft Learning Consultant. He works passionately to develop creative approaches to delivering quality education to his students in ways that inspire them to learn. He has selected in top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalist and he is also the winner of Asia Educator of the year 2017, 2018 Global Innovation Collaboration Award and Digital Citizenship Champion.