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Four million refugee children out of school-UNHCR

Storyline:National News

The number of children out of class increased by half a million in just a year


Rohingya refugee children collecting firewood on the edge of the forest in Kutupalong refugee settlement, Bangladesh. Many Rohingya children miss out on school because of household chores, social pressures, early marriage and a lack of access to formal education. © UNHCR/Roger Arnold

Four million children globally do not attend school, the UN has said noting this is an increase of half a million children in just one year amid ongoing wars in countries such as Syria and Yemen.

In a report Wednesday, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said the response from world government and non-state actors to increase refugee children enrollment in school was being outpaced by the growing refugee population.

The report, Turn the Tide: Refugee Education in Crisis notes that there were more than 25.4 million refugees around the world with around 19.9 of them under UNHCR’s mandate. More than half-52% were children the report says adding that among them 7.4 million were of school age.

“Education is a way to help children heal, but it is also key to rebuilding their countries,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Without education, the future of these children and their communities will be irrevocably damaged.”

Only 61 per cent of refugee children attend primary school, compared to 92 per cent of children globally, the report notes adding the number could be less than 50% in low income countries.

The report urges host countries to enroll refugee children in national systems, with a proper curriculum, all the way through primary and secondary school, to allow for recognized qualifications that can be their springboard to university or higher vocational training.

It further notes that countries in developing regions host 92 per cent of the world’s school-age refugees and need more sustained financial support from the international community.