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IMRC Researcher Stacey Wilson-Forsberg Works to Help African Refugee Youth Transition to Post-secondary Education

The IMRC's Stacey Wilson-Forsberg is leading a four-year national study, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), to investigate African refugee youth transition to post-secondary education. Her current work builds on a more concentrated study in Ontario she completed with Laurier colleagues Edward Shizha and Oliver Masakure in 2017. That study, also funded by SSHRC, focused on post-secondary education among young African immigrant men, but not specifically refugees.

Wilson-Forsberg's current project has documented that youth with African refugee backgrounds, particularly young men, are more likely than average to drop out of high school and not go on to post-secondary education. Since people without post-secondary education tend to earn lower incomes over a lifetime, Wilson-Forsberg and her team are trying to determine what might prevent African refugee youth from pursuing further education, and what could be done to change this.

“A lot [of those interviewed] described being streamed,” says Wilson-Forsberg. “By Grade 9, they were being told they weren’t university material and by the time they figured out what they wanted to do, it was too late – they didn’t have enough pre-university credits.”

Another finding was that youth who had been refugees struggled more – but they were also more determined to go to university.

Read more about this important work here.

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