Close to half of all refugee children, 48%, remain out of school.

UNHCR works to ensure refugee children and young people can access quality education. Education offers a stable and safe environment for displaced children, helps people to rebuild their communities, and pursue productive, meaningful lives.

Rear view of a professor actively teaching a full class of learners. The students facing the camera are wearing blue COVID-19 masks and school uniforms.
Grade 8 learners at Arid Zone Primary School in Kenya attend a language lesson safely with the support of UNHCR.
©UNHCR/Samuel Otieno
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Education is a fundamental human right. And it is at the core of UNHCR's mission, as a means to protect, connect, and empower refugees in both emergency and protracted situations.  

UNHCR’s education programmes are framed by universal human rights instruments like the 1951 Refugee Convention (Article 22) and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26). Our education programmes are also crucial to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 4 of ensuring inclusive and quality education for all.  

Education is one of the greatest investments we can make as a global community to bring about lasting change for refugee communities. Unfortunately, UNHCR education data across more than 40 countries demonstrates how refugee children and youth are struggling to equitably access education. Nearly half of all refugee children are unable to attend school.  

To be able to provide/to help ensure predictable and sustained access to quality education, UNHCR relies on flexible funding from donors to cover essential costs such as teacher salaries, support services, infrastructure, and learning materials in line with our global education priorities.  

Thematic Brief 2023

Flexible funding helps UNHCR meet foundational costs — such as teacher salaries and support, school infrastructure and basic learning materials — and provide predictable access to quality education for 1.9 million children every year.

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UNHCR's vision for education, as outlined in the "Refugee Education 2030: A Strategy for Refugee Inclusion," is to achieve equitable and quality education for refugees within national systems. This vision emphasizes the importance of education in fostering resilience, preparing children and youth for active participation in cohesive societies, and serving as the optimal policy solution for refugees, displaced persons, stateless individuals, and their host communities. 

The strategy focuses on three key objectives:  

1. promoting inclusive and sustainable integration into national education systems for refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, stateless individuals, and internally displaced persons;  

2. creating safe and supportive learning environments that cater to all students, irrespective of legal status, gender, or disability; and  

3. enabling learners to utilize their education to build sustainable futures.  

For more information, visit UNHCR's global website

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UNHCR's operational work in Education in 2022

Download and read details about UNHCR's work in Education (Outcome Area 11 in UNHCR's results-based reporting framework) and the challenges it faced in selected operations around the world in 2022.

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Key figures

Nearly half of the world’s 7.8 million school-aged refugee children are out of school. Only 6% of refugee youth are able to attend university.

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Performance targets and results
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Results by operation
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