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Migrant children's right to education: Education policy stages of the European Union




educational policy, right to education, migration, educational history, documentary analysis


This research article has two objectives: (1) to analyse how the right to education of immigrant children has evolved in the European Union (EU) from 1957 until 2023; and (2) to identify the factors that have led to changes in European education policies with respect to migrant children. A documentary analysis of a total of 822 European policies was carried out, resulting in a qualitative analysis of 136 policies using MAXQDA Analytics Pro 2022 software. These results reveal five stages in EU education policy on immigrant children’s right to education: (1) Rights of migrant workers and their families (1957-1984); (2) Integration of vulnerable groups in Europe (1984-2006); (3) European citizenship as a migration horizon (2006-2015); (4) Socio-educational dilemmas surrounding refugees (2015-2020); and (5) Movement toward a resilient, but selective European Union (2020-present). In conclusion, historical events and the socio-political context of each era have significantly shaped the design of European policies. Moreover, a double discourse about immigration exists in the EU. While the EU is favourable to receiving highly qualified personnel through legal migration, t it is reluctant to integrate irregular young migrants into its member states.


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Author Biography

Adrián Neubauer, Universidad a Distancia de Madrid

PhD in Education. Graduated in Teaching Early Childhood (UCJC) and Primary Education (UAM). Master’s in Quality and Improvement of Education (UAM). Member of Grupo de Investigación sobre Políticas Educativas Supranacionales (GIPES-UAM). Lines of research: infancy rights, migration, right to education and educational policies. Member of the Research Commission on Comparative and International Education of the Sociedad Española de Educación Comparada (SEEC). Coordinator of the field of supranational policies of the Instituto Europeo de Educación para una Cultura Democrática (ECUDEM-UCV).



How to Cite

Neubauer, A. (2023). Migrant children’s right to education: Education policy stages of the European Union. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 31.