Over half of all refugee children are missing out on an education

Over half of all refugee children are missing out on an education

The United Nations has warned that over half of the world’s school aged refugees are excluded from education as services in host communities struggle to cope. In a recent report by UNHCR titled ‘Turn the Tide: Refugee Education in Crisis’ has raised awareness of the concerning level of refugee education.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned that four million refugee children around the world do not attend school, a dramatic increase from half a million last year.

Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, commented:

"Education is a way to help young people heal, but it is also the way to revive entire countries”

“Based on current patterns, unless urgent investment is undertaken, hundreds of thousands more children will join these disturbing statistics"

According to the UNHCR there were almost 20 million refugees under their mandate by the end of 2017, excluding 5 million Palestinian refugees. Of these, more than half were children and 7.4 million were of school age.

UNHCR has also warned that only 61% of refugee children attend primary school, compared to 90% of all children.

This figure is worryingly lower for older children, with less than one in four secondary age refugees attending school. Only 1% attended higher education, compared to one third globally.

Although 500,000 refugee children were enrolled in school last year the rapidly growing global refugee population means that proportion of children missing out on an education has not shrunk.

Katherine Begley, Senior Technical Advisor for Education, Care USA, noted the importance of education for children:

"It provides opportunities to cultivate friendships and supports work to establish a routine that children who are coming out of traumatic circumstances need as quickly as possible."


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Image credit: UNHCR/Claire Thomas

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