UNHCR Focuses on Educating Children of Refugees

According to a report issued on Thursday by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), roughly 62% of school-age refugee children who come under their mandate face a lack of schools.

In the introduction to the report, Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, wrote that refugees have been found to spend an average of nearly 20 years in exile now. In view of these facts, the UNHCR is calling for global assistance to go beyond the obvious basic requirements of refugees fleeing war-torn places to also provide education for refugee children.

Stressing on the role of education as a fundamental right, Grandi mentions that though education is crucial for every child, it is more so for refugee children as it can equip them for attaining success both in work as well as life.

The release of the report titled “Missing Out: Refugee Education in Crisis” precedes the upcoming U.N. General Assembly-hosted refugee and migrant summit at New York in the next week.

Refugees and the rest of the world

In comparison with the UN educational agency count, the UNHCR estimates that primary education access is available only for 50% of all refugee children, the global average being more than 90%. The rate only worsens as the refugee children age.

According to UNESCO data’s comparison, 84% global average of adolescents go to secondary schools while only 1 in every 4 adolescent refugees is able to do so. Numbers dip further for university attendance, as against the 1 in 3 people who attend university, only 1% of refugees get to attend university.

The UNHCR said that nearly 86% of refugees are spread over developing countries worldwide, including India. However, 50% of the children not enrolled in schools are found in only 7 countries – namely Turkey, Pakistan, Kenya, Lebanon Chad, Ethiopia, and Congo.

While the report acknowledges the existing challenge of educating the countries’ resident children, it also urges the government for inclusion of refugee children in their educational plans, initiatives, and systems.

Calling for benevolence

While highlighting the increasing worldwide population of school-age children over the past 5 years, the report adds that the countries that are facing the entry of refugees are struggling with the “sheer numbers”.

Calling on benevolent donors’ support, the report urges for long-term initiatives through multi-year funding and not emergency ones.


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