Issue Brief on “New UNHCR Report: Refugee Education in Crisis”


The plight of refugees in any part of the world hardly comes as a surprise, with health and education being the primary areas of concern for them. However, the recent UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) report released in September 2017 titled, “Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis” sheds light on the plight of refugee children and their bleak prospects for education. The report gives a detailed account of the state of education of refugee children displaced as a result of conflict. This report is a crucial reminder for the international community to take initiatives for the future of a very vulnerable generation of children, who have had to flee their homes and leave school due to instability. As the world struggles with an increasing number of refugees, the worst sufferers in terms of education are children, who have bleak prospects of attending school.

As the right to education is a fundamental right, so it is necessary for empowerment, enlightenment and for protecting the uncertain future of refugee children. According to the report, the reality that there are now 17.2 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate – half of them under the age of 18, is very discouraging, as these refugee children find themselves unable to continue with their education. The report also states another shocking fact that 11.6 million refugees were living in protracted displacement at the end of 2016; of this number, 4.1 million had been in exile for 20 years or more.[1] For millions of young people, these are the years they should be spending in school, learning skills and acquiring an education deemed to secure their future. Yet, these millions of children are being robbed of valuable time and are lagging behind. The case for education is obvious as it gives refugee children, adolescents and youth a place of security amid the chaos of displacement. It amounts to an asset in the future, creating and refining individuals for jobs.

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