Summary of the paper: Meroni, C., & Velasco, V. (2023). School-Based Interventions for Migrant Students in the Framework of the Health Promoting Whole-School Approach: An Umbrella Review.
INTRODUCTION Migrant students’ needs Migratory phenomena and the needs of resettled children and youth are central to contemporary societies. Migrant students can be a vulnerable population because of the social determinants of health that impact their emotional and physical well-being. In addition, they are often educated in under-resourced contexts, experience resettlement traumas, and can be surrounded by hostile environments. Concerning academic success, migrant students in most countries tend to have lower education outcomes than their native peers, and their academic achievements continue to lag behind those of non-migrant children. Markedly, obstacles that hinder migrant students’ school results go beyond the linguistic proficiency gap (Nusche, 2009; Millon-Fauré, 2019). Moreover, migrant children are at risk of drop-out from school or receiving poorer education. In the framework of UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development, reorienting education to reach children at risk of marginalization is crucial in order to transform society for sustainable development and meet the learning needs of all youth and children (UNESCO, 2010).
As migrant students face physical health, socio-emotional, academic and language challenges, health and school achievements play a crucial role in their integration. In fact, students who are well-integrated into the education system of the host country, both academically and socially, are more likely to reach their potential and be in good health conditions (Noorani et al., 2019). Consistently, research also demonstrated that migrant students with low academic performance show negative self-esteem, stress and insecurity (Giavrimis et al., 2003; Wadsworth et al., 2008). Schools are tasked to respond to the multitude of physical health, mental health and academic issues specific to child migrants, as well as foster strengths in order to encourage positive educational outcomes. The school system is especially well-positioned to address the topic of migrant students’ health, as it is usually the first institutional and social space in which they engage in cultural adaptation and the primary contact place between migrant students and native students, which makes it the ideal place for programs that aim at promoting integration and inclusion (EC, EACEA, Eurydice, 2019).
However, the literature on school-based strategies targeting migrant students is still limited (Bal & Perzigian, 2013; Tyrer & Fazel, 2014). In particular, despite the numerous school programs that have been developed to prevent socio-emotional and behavioural problems and to foster migrant students’ health, education and adaptation, little is known, either in theory or in practice, about the types of activity that may work best and proper evaluations are needed (Rousseau & Guzder, 2008).