Addressing the educational challenges faced by African refugee background students: Perception of West Australian stakeholders.
Regional Professional Studies
Regional Professional Studies, Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures
Australian schools have a long history of providing education to students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including new arrivals who are still in the process of acquiring English as an additional language. Nonetheless, the cohort of refugee children and youth coming from Africa's troubled regions in the last few years poses additional challenges for English as a second language (ESL) and mainstream teachers. This paper draws on data from a qualitative research project undertaken in Western Australia to explore the perceptions of African refugee background students, their parents/caregivers, teachers, and others involved in their education and support. The findings are described with respect to the perceived overarching challenges faced by students and teachers and as well as the main literacy issues which, in turn, affect student access to the wider curriculum. Possible strategies to address the problems identified by participants and literacy professionals are proposed.