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How Education Initiatives Can Boost Economic Empowerment for Migrants in Slovenia

Education is more than just a way to acquire knowledge; it is a powerful tool to unlock economic opportunities and improve lives. However, not everyone has equal access to quality education, and many migrants face challenges in developing the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the economy and society. This is why education initiatives that aim to empower migrants and their communities are vital for achieving economic inclusion and social justice.

Why Education Empowerment Matters for Migrants

Migrants in Slovenia come from various backgrounds and have different levels of education and qualifications. Some of them are highly skilled and educated, while others have low or no formal education. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, in 2020, 13% of the population in Slovenia were foreigners, mostly from the Western Balkans. Among them, 26% had tertiary education, 48% had upper secondary education, and 26% had lower secondary or less education. Migrants often face barriers in accessing education, such as language difficulties, lack of recognition of their prior learning, discrimination, and socio-economic disadvantages. These barriers limit their potential and opportunities in the labour market and society. Education empowerment is the process of enabling migrants to access and benefit from the opportunities that the economy offers, and to overcome the barriers that limit their potential. Education empowerment is essential for personal and professional growth, as it equips migrants with the skills and knowledge that are relevant, practical, and in-demand in the current and future economy. Education empowerment also fosters innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship, which are key drivers of economic development and competitiveness. According to the OECD, increasing migrants’ educational attainment contributes to their economic empowerment and more inclusive economic growth.

What Education Initiatives Can Do to Empower Migrants

Through Education Education initiatives are programs or projects that support education empowerment by providing access to quality education, facilitating skill development, and offering mentoring, coaching, and networking opportunities. Education initiatives can focus on various domains, such as language proficiency, vocational training, entrepreneurial skills, or digital literacy. Education initiatives can also target specific groups, such as women, youth, refugees, or marginalized communities. Education initiatives are not only about learning; they are about applying what they learn to create value and impact.

One example of an education initiative that aims to empower migrants through education is the Initial Integration of Immigrants program, which was introduced in 2008. The free and optional program targets both migrants and beneficiaries of international protection. The program focuses on Slovene history, culture and constitution, and includes a mutual introduction course between foreigners and Slovene citizens. It provides language courses, civic education, but does not offer vocational training. Newcomers can follow 180-, 120- or 60-hour courses, depending on the type of permits they hold and the duration of their stay before their enrollment. The classes are provided by a variety of institutions which are selected through a tendering procedure every 2 years.

Another example of an education initiative that aims to empower migrants through education is the project “Slovenia: The Challenges of Intercultural Coexistence”, which was implemented between 2016 and 2019. The main goal of the project was to help develop the values of interculturalism and improve the professional competences of education managers and professionals for a more successful integration of migrant children into the Slovenian educational system. The project involved 40 schools and kindergartens, and reached more than 2,000 teachers, educators, and school staff. The project activities included training, workshops, study visits, conferences, and publications on topics such as intercultural dialogue, diversity management, anti-discrimination, and inclusive education.


How Education Empowerment Benefits Migrants and Everyone

The benefits of education empowerment are not limited to migrants; they extend to the wider community and society. Empowered migrants become agents of change, who can contribute to the economic and social progress of their country. According to the World Bank, economic inclusion programs help boost the income and assets of the world’s poorest individuals and households, reaching approximately 20 million households and benefitting nearly 92 million individuals. Education empowerment also promotes gender equality, reduces poverty, and improves health and well-being.

How You Can Support Education Empowerment for Migrants

Education empowerment is a collective effort that requires the collaboration and support of various stakeholders, such as governments, NGOs, private sector, academia, and civil society. You can support education empowerment for migrants by donating, volunteering, advocating, or partnering with education initiatives that align with your values and interests. You can also support education empowerment for migrants by sharing your skills, knowledge, and experience with them, or by learning new skills and knowledge yourself. Together, we can make a difference by investing in education as the foundation of economic empowerment for migrants.


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