Researching with educational communities to promote equity and fight racism towards immigrants in a post-pandemic world


The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on educational systems, on a global scale, as is evidenced, above all, by the cancellation of in-person activities, which has affected millions of students at all educational levels.

Facing a challenge of such vast dimensions, many international reports have pointed out the particularly vulnerable situation experienced by displaced people and immigrants as per the direct and indirect consequences of this health crisis. Among other reasons, there is social and labor insecurity, the poor consideration of their cultural and linguistic diversity in the rendering of services, family and support networks that are more limited or fragile, or the lack of knowledge of the means of accessing fundamental rights in their communities of refuge. And all of this is in addition to the growingly toxic debate on immigration, with the pandemic frequently associated with xenophobic narratives, and the international mobility that is buried beneath strong regulatory and normative dynamics.

Crossing Borders to Connect Routes works on the basis of the following research question, from a transnational perspective in five countries – Brazil, Malta, Spain, the United States, and Uruguay:

How do structural and emergent inequities against racialized and minoritized immigrants operate in different educational contexts, and what can be done to ameliorate them from educational policies and practices?

This question can be broken down, in turn, into four specific objectives:

Through six case studies, identify and analyze both systemic and emergent inequities affecting the education of immigrants in the different countries considered, building a complex view of how said inequities intersect with race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and legal status.

Using qualitative analysis, centering on people’s experiences, show how different educational contexts in five countries address the impact of the pandemic on education, identifying strategies and models that boost resilience on both the individual and institutional levels.

Identify the best practices and policies that can be transferred, for the purpose of reversing educational inequities, and fighting racism, culminating in the collaborative design of an open-source toolbox for equitable education.

Carry out participative workshops on both the local and transnational scales, with students, professionals, and political authorities, to reveal inspiring ways of involving and empowering educational communities in the encouragement of equity and the fight against racism.

In order to achieve these objectives, we are developing an international collaboration to explore six different educational contexts, so as to share results, learnings, and best practices. In this way, we hope to contribute to the existing knowledge on this subject in at least four ways: 1) by expanding the body of emergent research on the impact of the pandemic on education; 2) by providing an integrated and transdisciplinary view of key phenomena linked to the educational inequity of vulnerable groups; 3) by adding wealth and granularity to a globally relevant issue through a qualitative perspective; and 4) by deploying participative actions that are committed to supporting the educational community.

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