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Research Excellence Lab Hosts Afsana Hamidy's Insightful Research Presentation on Welcoming Afghan Evacuees in UK Schools

ALPA was honored to host Afsana Hamidy, who presented her compelling research on the "Experiences of School Personnel in Welcoming Afghan Evacuees: Implications for UK Schools Accepting Afghan Children in Coming Years." Her study sheds light on the challenges faced by school leaders and personnel in the UK as they embraced Afghan refugees who arrived in August 2021 due to the political changes in Afghanistan.

Afsana Hamidy's research meticulously explores the multifaceted issues schools encountered while integrating Afghan evacuees. These challenges are categorized into six key areas:

  1. Language Barrier: The significant language gap between Afghan students and school staff.

  2. Uncertainty About Length of Stay: Schools' difficulties in planning long-term support due to the uncertain residency status of evacuees.

  3. Cultural (In)adequacy of Curriculum: The curriculum's failure to adequately reflect Afghan cultural perspectives.

  4. Structures Limiting Parental Involvement: Institutional barriers that hinder Afghan parents from engaging with the schools.

  5. Financial Difficulties: Financial constraints faced by schools in providing adequate resources and support.

  6. Lack of Coordination Between Schools and Local Authorities (LAs): Inefficient communication and collaboration between educational institutions and local governing bodies.

To address these challenges, schools have adopted various strategies:

  1. Pre-Meeting with Parents: Engaging Afghan parents before the school year begins to establish a mutual understanding and set expectations.

  2. Translation/Interpretation Approach: Utilizing translators and interpreters to bridge the language gap.

  3. Differentiation and Non-Differentiation Approaches: Tailoring educational methods to meet the diverse needs of Afghan students while also promoting inclusivity.

Hamidy’s research highlights that schools largely had to navigate these challenges independently, with minimal government support. This lack of assistance has resulted in several approaches and practices being less effective, primarily due to insufficient cultural competence, unawareness of underlying assumptions and biases, and cross-cultural misunderstandings.

The study underscores the necessity for improved government support, better cultural training for school personnel, and enhanced communication between schools and local authorities to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for Afghan children.

Hamidy’s presentation was not only enlightening but also sparked meaningful discussions among attendees, who offered constructive suggestions and shared their experiences. ALPA continues to benefit from such insightful presentations, which are crucial in informing and shaping future educational practices and policies.

ALPA extends its heartfelt thanks to Afsana Hamidy for her invaluable contribution and looks forward to further collaborations that advance our mission of empowering and educating Afghan communities worldwide.

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