UNESCO Reports Large Increase in Migrant and Refugee School-Age Children
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization launched its annual report on the state of education around the world, focusing for the first time on the theme of migration and displacement.

It finds that the numbers of migrant and refugee school-age children have grown by 26% since the year 2000.

SDG target 4.5 calls for ensuring equal access to education for the vulnerable, and SDG indicator 4.5.1 requires parity data on education for those affected by conflict.

18 June 2019: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released its annual report on the state of education around the world. The 2019 report focuses for the first time on the theme of migration and displacement and finds that the numbers of migrant and refugee school-age children have grown by 26% since the year 2000.

SDG target 4.5 calls for ensuring equal access to education for the vulnerable. This target is measured by SDG indicator 4.5.1, on parity related to education of people affected by conflict, among other groups for which data can be disaggregated.

Lebanon has doubled its schools’ capacity in the wake of the Syrian crisis, opening its classrooms to 214,000 students.

The report was launched during an event in Ramallah, Palestine. The 438-page report titled, ‘Migration, displacement and education – Building bridges, not walls’, highlights examples of effective work in providing education to children affected by conflict in different parts of the world, or who have come from such backgrounds. Case studies feature such efforts in Canada, Chad, Colombia, Ireland, Lebanon, the Philippines, Turkey and Uganda. For example, Lebanon, which hosts more refugees per capita than any other country in the world, has doubled its schools’ capacity in the wake of the Syrian crisis, opening its classrooms to 214,000 students – almost one-third of its pre-existing cohort of 750,000 students.

The report calls on governments to address the education needs of migrant and displaced populations with the same attention they would give to their own people – protecting their right to education, planning for their education needs, and including them in national education systems. It also calls for representing migration and education histories accurately to challenge prejudices and build inclusive societies, and invest in teacher education to build their ability to work with diverse, multilingual and multicultural student populations.

In a foreword to the report, Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Chair of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Advisory Board, emphasizes that education must be “a key part of the response to migration and displacement,” and that education has the power to overcome stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.

The report calls on countries and development partners to give greater support to the Technical Cooperation Group (TCG) on SDG 4, which is convened by UNESCO and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The TCG acts as a platform for countries to cooperate on measuring progress toward SDG 4 (quality education). [UNESCO Press Release] [Publication: Migration, displacement and education – Building bridges, not walls]

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