Education of Refugees and Asylum Seekers under and post the Pandemic in Nordic Countries (ERAPAN)

Previous research into the effects of COVID-19 has overlooked its impact on children and youth with forced migration backgrounds.

This ERAPA study aims to address aspects of this absence by asking how the pandemic’s restrictions and the post-pandemic condition has affected the educational trajectories of children and youth from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds in four Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

It therefore endeavours to contribute to the development of novel, research-driven inclusive policies and practices in these countries, thus contributing to the overall wellbeing of children and young people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

We approach the research question with certain assumptions, namely that children’s sense of belonging and social capital is important for their wellbeing, and that there is a close connection between school, social capital and other aspects of life.

The study is theoretically committed to critical realism, stating that social research has a clear need for interdisciplinarity. The research group therefore consists of researchers from several disciplines, specifically those related to educational, sociological and wellbeing fields.

The research question is explored by research partners from each of the four Nordic countries involved, through four work packages.

  • WP 1 will describe the official strategies adopted in each country and conduct a scoping review of research on how the pandemic has affected children and youth.
  • WP 2 will conduct qualitative research together with children, youth and their families to collaboratively produce knowledge of their experiences with the pandemic.
  • WP 3 will investigate the experiences, practices and strategies of different frontline professionals in providing institutional support for refugee children and youth.
  • WP 4 will integrate disciplinary knowledge from the different work packages and compare findings across the contributing countries, to arrive at interdisciplinary knowledge to guide suggestions for actions. As part of WP 4, the findings from the three other packages will be combined, simplified and offered back to the research participants in workshops in which they will be invited to offer their ‘stories’ that explain what happened, and their own suggestions for improvement, based on the findings from the earlier stages of the research. We therefore meet the research participants as co-researchers.