Millions of refugee children going without schooling

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Children at school in Lebanon. UN Photo/John Isaac

According UNHCR new report, four million refugee children do not attend school. This is an increase of half a million of out-of-school refugee children in just one year.

The report, Turn the Tide: Refugee Education in Crisis, shows that, despite the efforts of governments, HCR and its partners, enrolment of refugee children in school is failing to keep pace with the growing refugee population. By the end of 2017, there were more than 25.4 million refugees around the world, 19.9 million of them under UNHCR’s mandate. More than half (52%) were children. Among them, 7.4 million were of school age.

“Education is a way to help children heal, but it is also key to rebuilding their countries,” “Without education, the future of these children and their communities will be irrevocably damaged.” Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Only 61& of refugee children attend primary school, compared to 92% of children globally.

As refugee children get older, this gap grows. Nearly two thirds of refugee children who go to primary school do not make it to secondary school. In total, 23% of refugee children attend secondary school, compared to 84 per cent of children globally.

At tertiary level, the gap becomes a chasm. Globally, enrolment in higher education stands at 37%, while only 1% of refugees have the same opportunity – a figure that has not changed in three years.

“School is the first place in months or even years where refugee children find any normality,” 

The report urges host countries to enrol refugee children in national systems, with a proper curriculum, all the way through primary and secondary school, to allow for recognized qualifications that can be their springboard to university or higher vocational training. It also calls for stronger partnerships with the private sector, humanitarian and development organizations and governments to increase sustainable solutions for refugee education.