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refugee educationThe displacement of thousands of people has caused one of the biggest refugee crises in history. For refugee children, one of the main concerns they face is falling behind in their education. Over three million refugee children have no school to go to, with over one million not being able to enroll in primary school. Learning is important for the development of children, but in crisis situations, it tends to be pushed aside. It is essential to focus on improving education for refugee children so that future generations do not fall behind.

Over half of refugees in the world are under the age of 18. This means that many refugees face the challenge of completing their basic education. One challenge is gaining access to education for refugee children. If they can find a school that is run by an organization, such as UNICEF, there is a lack of resources due to the influx of students. Another issue with the overcrowding of classrooms is that schools place a maximum age on entry levels. This means that sometimes displaced children may not be able to go back and complete the level that they were at.

Adjusting to different regulations within different countries can be another challenge for refugee students. Most of the time, refugee students move to different countries more than once, causing further confusion. Unfortunately, refugee children often need to work instead of going to school. Their displacement situation often means that their families need income.

One solution to these issues is to provide more funding to schools and universities. Another way to help refugee education is to develop a curriculum for refugees that follows similar topics to their home institutions and to allow refugee teachers to teach.

There are multiple organizations that are helping refugee students access an education, such as the U.N. Refugee Agency and Blue Rose Compass.

The U.N. Refugee Agency aims to get more refugee children to access primary education and secure resources for refugee schools. Both the U.N. Refugee Agency and Blue Rose Compass provide scholarships for exceptional refugee students to get a higher education at world-leading universities. 

Enabling education for refugee children is important for the future economy and the development of the young refugee generation. Donating to organizations such as UNICEF, the U.N. Refugee Agency and Blue Rose Compass is making an impact on refugee schools and students.    

– Deanna Wetmore

Photo: Flickr

Refugee Education Could End the Global CrisisNot only do refugees lack a stable place to call home, many also lack access to education. For 4.1 million refugees, their exile has lasted for more than 20 years, longer than a standard school career. Refugee education thus should not be overlooked when considering the long length of time refugees are displaced, limiting their lives and preventing them from achieving their fullest potentials.

With 6.4 million refugees of school age among the 17.2 million refugees under the mandate of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, education should play a major role in alleviating the refugee crisis. If implemented effectively, refugee education could expose young people to the knowledge they need to end the vicious cycle and help other refugees overcome their current obstacles.

Globally, 91 percent of children attend primary school, according to UNHCR. For refugees, that figure is only 61 percent, less than 50 percent in low-income countries. As refugee children get older, the obstacles only increase. A mere 23 percent of refugee adolescents are enrolled in secondary school, compared to 84 percent globally. In low-income countries, which host 28 percent of the world’s refugees, the number in secondary education is disturbingly low, at only 9 percent. These very low numbers of refugee children in school demonstrate the need to take action at all levels of education.

To support refugee education, 193 countries have signed the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, emphasizing education as a critical element of the international response. Furthermore, the ambition of Sustainable Development Goal 4, one of the 17 Global Goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and promoting prosperity, is to deliver “inclusive and quality education for all and to promote lifelong learning.”

However, planning for current emergency response and long-term needs is no easy feat. Refugee children must be included in national education systems. Refugees, like all young people around the world, deserve an education of value, so creating inclusive classroom environments that keep refugees’ backgrounds and experiences in mind is crucial. Also, educators working with refugees are often in overcrowded, under-resourced schools, working day after day in some of the toughest classrooms in the world. Teachers of refugees deserve support through suitable pay, the right materials in sufficient quantities and expert assistance. Keeping these priorities in mind, the New York Declaration and Sustainable Development Goal 4 can each fulfill their missions for improving refugee education.

Education gives refugee children a place of safety amid the tumult of displacement. It amounts to an investment in the future, creating knowledgeable people crucial to sustainable development in both countries that have welcomed refugees as well as in refugees’ home countries. Refugee education is a shared responsibility, and, while intimidating, is a goal worth working toward.

Allie Knofczynski
Photo: Flickr