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The Future of Refugee Education: A Roundup


April 18, 2017
Charlotte Alfred
News Deeply

Over the past month, Refugees Deeply took an in-depth look at the state of refugee education and the ideas that could shape the future of the field.

The scale of the problem facing refugee educators is clear from the statistics. More than half of the world’s refugee children do not go to school – some 3.7 million children, including over half a million Syrian children. Refugees’ chance of getting an education drop even further as they grow up: only 22 percent of refugees go to secondary school, and just one percent attend university.

There are many obstacles standing between these children and a classroom. Some are legal and political – around 20 percent of refugee-hosting countries restrict refugee children’s access to national schools. Others are financial – education for refugees is chronically underfunded, hovering around 2 percent of humanitarian aid in recent years.

Meanwhile, refugee children face a multitude of other challenges inherent to life in exile – a new language, family pressure to work or get married young, bullying and discrimination, and paralyzing uncertainty about the future.

There has been some progress. Following the Syrian crisis, several countries committed to integrate refugee children into their national school systems, although the pace has often been glacial, and integration has been riddled with problems.