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Young refugees face a tough road in our education system: advocates

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Advocates worry not enough is being down to keep young Syrian refugees in school

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Kids starting school here after fleeing Syria with their families already have a tough road ahead, but a policy in place may make it even harder.

Late elementary and high school aged kids have the huge task of learning to speak, read and write English fluently and that can take years.

UBC Associate Professor of Education Jennifer Vadeboncoeur says refugee students are expected to finish on their own. “There aren’t actually enough human and financial resources in adult education and the transition to adult education is really choppy rather than systematic so we don’t have a well thought out transition.”

Vadeboncoeur says many refugee students don’t get their diplomas. “It is an interesting issue with the barrier created against accumulating enough credits to graduate and then the very courses that students need the most, these ELL courses, those courses don’t actually count toward graduation.

She hopes this aspect can be explored so we don’t lose track of these kids.