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ERIC Number: EJ980305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0004-9441
"I'm Telling You ... The Language Barrier Is the Most, the Biggest Challenge": Barriers to Education among Karen Refugee Women in Australia
Watkins, Paula G.; Razee, Husna; Richters, Juliet
Australian Journal of Education, v56 n2 p126-141 Aug 2012
This article examines factors influencing English language education, participation and achievement among Karen refugee women in Australia. Data were drawn from ethnographic observations and interviews with 67 participants between 2009 and 2011, collected as part of a larger qualitative study exploring the well-being of Karen refugee women in Sydney. Participants unanimously described difficulty with English language proficiency and communication as the "number one" problem affecting their well-being. Gendered, cultural and socio-political factors act as barriers to education. We argue that greater sensitivity to refugees' backgrounds, culture and gender is necessary in education. Research is needed into the combined relationships between culture and gender across pre-displacement, displacement and resettlement and the impact of these factors on post-immigration educational opportunities. Training is needed to sensitise educators to the complex issues of refugee resettlement. The paper concludes with recommendations for service provision and policy.
Australian Council for Educational Research. 19 Prospect Hill Road, Camberwell, VIC 3124, Australia. Tel: +61-3-9277-5447; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Burma