Millions of refugee children missing out on education

August, 2019

The United Nations is urging the international community to invest in secondary school education for refugee youth to empower them with skills and knowledge — and give them a better shot at ending a vicious cycle of living in limbo and depending on others.

“For many refugees, becoming a teenager is also the moment where the educational journey comes to an end. If there is no hope of continuing one’s studies much beyond primary, families are more likely to question the usefulness of sending their children to secondary school,” Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, said in his report, “Stepping Up,” to be released Friday.

“Secondary education plays a crucial role in the protection of young refugees when they are at a particularly vulnerable age. If they have nothing to occupy their day and no clear employment prospects, adolescents are more vulnerable to exploitation and more likely to turn to illegal activities out of desperation.”

According to the 56-page report, more than half of the world’s 7.1 million refugee children are not in school because no schools are available or it is too dangerous for them to go to class due to “bombings, partial or total occupation by armed groups, abduction, rape and forced recruitment.”

In 2018, only 63 per cent of refugee children went to primary school, compared to 91 per cent globally. While around the world 84 per cent of adolescents get a secondary school education, only 24 per cent of refugees get that opportunity. Just 3 per cent of refugees have access to post-secondary education and training versus 37 per cent globally.

“School is where refugees are given a second chance,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in a prepared statement to plead with all governments, the private sector, educational organizations and donors to lend their support to a new initiative aimed at boosting high school education for refugees.

Source: The Star