Education is one of the key tools of nation-building, as it aims to create future citizens. Yet what happens in seemingly ‘futureless’ contexts where refugees cannot access even social membership, let alone legal citizenship? In this introduction to our special issue on education for refugees, we explore the aspirations and conceptions of possible futures that students, teachers, governments, INGOs and funders have when they promote and pursue education as the solution to the liminal position that refugees in protracted refugee situations find themselves in. Based on insights from the articles, we analyse disconnects between aspirations for education and realities of access to quality education and to opportunities after completing education. We argue that to address these disconnects requires us to move beyond temporal and spatial binaries present vs. future, here vs. there – that are so common in refugee education discourse and policy. Our suggestion is to draw on and support stakeholders’ work, powerfully exemplified in this special issue, to contribute to improved conditions through pedagogies, practices, and policies that address these binaries.
Horst, Cindy & Sarah Dryden-Peterson (2023) Education for refugees. Building durable futures?, Journal of Refugee Studies.