The Australian state of New South Wales will take in 4,000 of the federal government’s 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees over the next 18 months and educate the children of asylum-seekers, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday. Major universities in the state have also committed to scholarships and upgrading of previous qualifications for asylum-seekers, the report added.
According to the Herald, over 20 principals of the state’s schools committed their institutions into taking in thousands of Syrian children. Clubs NSW — the main organization for registered clubs in the state — will provide training and employment to hundreds of the refugee children’s parents, the newspaper reported.
Peter Shergold, the Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney was appointed in charge of the largest single resettlement of Middle Eastern refugees in New South Wale's history. "If I'm going to do this successfully I have to harness all parts of the NSW economy, which includes business and education," Shergold told the Herald.
Narelle Archer, the principal of Mary Mackillop College — a Catholic girls school —said that parents of the refugee children are seeing schools as a platform to discuss their trauma with other parents and school staff in the classrooms of Sydney's west. "We take our parents on school excursions, last week we took them across the harbor bridge, they get an understanding of what we are exposing their girls too," Archer reportedly said.
Last month, a leaked document showed that the Australian government was considering tougher checks for Syrian refugees to reduce the risk of infiltration of extremists. The strict reforms to the government’s humanitarian resettlement program would make it difficult for asylum-seekers to obtain permanent residency and citizenship.
The document stated Syrian refugees as possibly holding beliefs or having links that may motivate them to get involved in extremist activities. The framework also outlined measures to monitor Syrian asylum-seekers even after they are granted Australian citizenship. Australia last year agreed to take in about 12,000 refugees fleeing Syria.