Refugee children are five times less likely to attend school than other children, with 50% of primary school-aged refugee children and 75% of secondary school-aged children completely left out of the education system, with none of the safe-guards that school environments provide. In 2015 alone the education of 80 million children was disrupted by humanitarian crisis.
“It’s a scandal that children are being denied the chance of a decent future because they are out of school. Without an education, these children face a bleak future. They are more likely to undertake perilous journeys to Europe and other parts of the world, and are also more likely to be married early, exploited, trafficked, and forced into work,” says Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International.
“This is why, at the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, we are calling for no refugee child to be out of school for more than 30 days after being displaced.”
“The average length of time spent living as a refugee is now 17 years, meaning that millions of children and young people will miss out on some – if not all – of their education, severely diminishing the own future life chances and that of their families and communities,” she adds.
“Education sets children up for success. It provides refugee children with hope for the future in the places they are currently living as well as providing a sense of stability and normalcy for children who have lived through traumatic and stressful events. It also prepares children to learn the basic skills needed to rebuild and develop their countries if and when they return.”
Key barriers to education include financial and language issues; the need for many children to work informally to help support their families; lengthy bureaucratic processes and lack of documentation; limited school places; and the fact that developing countries host 86% of the worlds’ refugees and yet have the least capacity to cope with refugees and their complex short- and long-term needs.