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UNHCR: Millions of refugees cannot go to school

August 29, 2018

Four million refugee children around the world are excluded from education, according to a United Nations report. A solution should be to allow refugees to attend regular schools, the UNHCR has demanded.

A Syrian kid looks out from a tent's window
Image: picture-alliance/A.Al Ali

With more and more children forced to leave their homes, the number of refugees out of education has topped four million, the UN's Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Wednesday.

The figure represents more than half of all school-age refugees around the world, according to the report named "Turn the Tide: Refugee Education in Crisis."

Key takeaways from the report

  • There are now 7.4 million school-age refugees in the world, without taking into account displaced Palestinians.
  • Only 61 percent of them attend primary school and even less are able to take part in further education.
  • While 84 percent of all children go to secondary school, only 23 percent of refugees make it to the secondary level.
  • Over half-a-million children were newly enrolled in school last year.
  • With the refugee numbers growing, however, the effort did not reduce the number of children out of school.

Helping to overcome trauma

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said "urgent investment" is needed to prevent thousands more children from being left out.

"Education is a way to help young people heal, but it is also the way to revive entire countries," he said. "Without education, the future of these children and their communities will be irrevocably damaged."

Read more: Refugee children making a new life in Germany

Angelina Jolie says schooling refugees is 'wise'

While the situation is "grave" the world's response "should not be to despair but instead to see an opportunity," according to Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who also serves as a special envoy for UNHCR.

"If we help refugees get an education, they themselves will take on the harder task of rebuilding the countries whose future peace and security is so important to our own," Jolie said in the findings in the "Final word" section of the report. "It is the wise as well as morally right course of action."

Refugees in regular schools: According to UNHCR, school-age refugees should be allowed to enroll in mainstream schools and offered extra support, instead of receiving education in specially created projects. Also, authorities in host countries should remove obstacles for their enrollment, such as ID requirements.

Record number of lone refugee children crossed borders

dj/rt (dpa, Reuters)

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