UNHCR, Save the Children and Pearson Join Forces to Tackle Refugee Education Crisis

Photo by Hannah Maule-Ffinch/Save the Children

This press release originally appeared at https://www.pearson.com/news/media/news-announcements/2017/02/unhcr–save-the-children-and-pearson-join-forces-to-tackle-refug.html

LONDON: February 2017: UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, Save the Children, the global children’s charity, and Pearson, the world’s largest education company, have joined forces to identify innovative projects that are helping refugee children to learn. The ‘Promising Practices’ initiative will not only raise awareness of existing efforts, but is also calling for organisations working in the field, businesses, government and individuals to submit ideas that are providing education solutions for improving access to, and the quality of, refugee education. This is important as refugee children globally are five times less likely to attend school than other children, with 50% of primary school-aged refugee children and 78% of secondary school-aged refugee children completely left out of the education system.

The initiative aims to draw attention to the need to educate these children and young people to help them to become productive citizens and community members whether in exile, on return home or settled in another country.

The innovations submitted will be documented in a report launched later in 2017. Visit www.promisingpractices.online for more information and to submit ideas.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filipo Grandi said: “While the challenges of providing education to the world’s refugee children are multiple and varied, with sustained attention, a commitment to creativity and sufficient political will and funding, we believe they can be overcome.”

Kevin Watkins CEO of Save the Children UK said: “We need to do more to support countries hosting refugees to ensure that they can provide quality basic services including education, but we also need to support new ways of providing refugees with quality learning opportunities. The Promising Practices in Refugee Education initiative which we are launching today is designed to source, identify, document and promote existing innovative practices that if scaled up could help close the education gap for refugees around the world.”

Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer of Pearson added: “As an education company we’re acutely conscious of the education challenges faced by refugee children. Business has an important contribution to make in finding innovative solutions, but we need to act now to educate a lost generation before it’s too late.”

An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from their homes, the highest levels of human displacement on record. Among them are over 21 million refugees: people who have fled their country seeking protection from violence or persecution.

Leaving behind their homes refugees must start again. To make matters worse the majority of refugee children experience the double jeopardy of losing both their homes and their education. Of the 6 million school-aged refugees under the mandate of UNHCR, almost 4 million are out of school.

Refugee children have the same right to access education as other children and need the skills and knowledge that education provides to help them adjust to their new circumstances, integrate into communities and ultimately to thrive.