Less than half of refugees of school-age receive a formal education, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) explained on Friday, warning against the negative consequences that would entail for recipient countries.
“We must invest in the education of refugees or else we will pay the price of a generation of children condemned to grow up incapable of becoming independent, finding work or making their contribution to the community,” Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, stated.
According to estimates quoted in the agency’s report, around 3.7 million young persons out of the 7.1 million school-age refugees do not go to school. Some 63% of refugee children attend primary school, versus 91% of children in general.
This rate does not exceed 24% in secondary schools, well below the 84% registered globally. Only 3% of young refugees reach university, compared to 37% of their peers who do so.
The UNHCR is calling on governments and donors to launch initiatives for the building of schools, teacher training and covering young refugees’ education fees. Without education or hope of finding work, “adolescents are more vulnerable to exploitation and the temptation to turn to illegal activities or lapse into despair,” the report continued.