Refugee Youth and Interrupted Schooling in Small Centres

Researchers: Ray Silvius1, Kim Browning1, Kathleen Vyrauen2, Don Boddy3  
Affiliation: University of Winnipeg1, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg (IPW)2, Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO)3
Research Partner: Newcomer Education Coalition (NEC), IPW, MANSO, Migration in Remote and Rural Areas Network (MIRRA Network), Community Engaged Research on Immigration Network (CERI)
Keywords: Refugee youth, interrupted schooling, Manitoba, small centres, supports, education, settlement


Objective: This study built on a previous CYRRC project and the partnerships established with IPW, MANSO, and NEC to explore interrupted schooling among youth with refugee experience in smaller Manitoba communities.

Objective: To understand what practices exist within Manitoban small centre schools to address interrupted schooling for refugee youth, how small centres, educators, and families can be better supported to connect older refugee youth to classrooms to prevent further interrupted schooling, and the relationship between the formal education system and wider resettlement environment in small centres.

Research Justification: It is crucial to share the many stories coming from smaller communities as they are becoming an increasingly larger part of refugee resettlement. This project aimed to develop local awareness of priorities for developing policies and services to address the continuing needs of refugee youth with interrupted schooling.

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Small communities were broadly defined as those with a population of 55,000 or less. Data was collected from smaller communities in three geographic regions in Manitoba that had higher concentrations of refugee youth and a federally funded settlement service provider with Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program. The three regions included Central Plains, Pembina Valley, and Westman. 

The research team gathered data through semi-structured interviews with 11 refugee youth, 2 school administrators, and 6 educators (mostly English as an Additional Language (EAL) teachers) and through 2 interviews and a focus group with 4 SWIS. A research steering committee and a community-based advisory committee with regional representation of members from education and refugee settlement backgrounds helped guide the study from the early stages of research design.


Youth with Refugee Experience:

Smaller Communities:



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