When a child is forced to flee their country, their educational process is interrupted and rarely continued. In September 2016, UNHCR launched “Missing out: Refugee Education in Crisis”, a report that indicates the decline in learning opportunities when children are forced to flee their homes. The majority of the world’s refugees – 86% – are sheltered by developing countries, with over a quarter of them hosted by the world’s least developed countries. More than a half of the refugee children who do not attend school are located in just seven countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. They live in areas where governments can barely afford to educate their own children.
Refugee education is financed to a large extent, by emergency funds, thus impeding the articulation of long-term solutions. In general, refugee education is not a constituent part of the national development plans. Therefore, the needs and achievements of refugee children and youth remain highly neglected.
Refugees have skills, ideas and dreams. Given the proper resources, they can reach high standard performance; a fact proved by the inspiring achievements of the Refugee Olympic Team. Investing in their education has long-term benefits. Education provides children with a safe place for development. It reduces child marriage and child labour as well as exploitative and dangerous work. Failing to provide education for over six million refugees of school-going age can have serious repercussions for themselves and for the society as a whole, perpetuating cycles of conflict. Investing in education for refugee children is necessary for peaceful and sustainable development around the world.