UN: UN report says refugee children suffer lack of adequate education

New York, US (PANA) - Just 50 percent of refugee children are in primary school
and 25 per cent of refugee adolescents are in secondary school, a new policy
paper released on Friday by two UN agencies stated.

The policy paper, entitled: "The No More Excuses" was jointly released by UN
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit
in Istanbul, Turkey, which is set to start on 23 May.

The paper called on countries and their humanitarian and development partners
to urgently ensure that children and adolescents who are forcibly displaced are
included in national education plans, and to collect better data to monitor their
education status and progress.

It disclosed that behind the global average number of refugee children out
of school, there were significant differences among countries.

Primary enrollment rates averaged 80 per cent in selected refugee sites in
Egypt, Iran and Yemen, but only 40 per cent in Pakistan and 50 per cent
in Ethiopia.

According to the paper, access to secondary education was even more limited
for refugees in many countries.

"In Bangladesh, Kenya and Pakistan, less than 5 per cent of adolescents 12
to 17 years old were enrolled in secondary education, and enrollment in early
childhood education also remains very limited in some countries, reaching
only 7 per cent in Turkey in 2015," it stated.

A UN statement on the policy paper, obtained by PANA in New York, quoted
the UNHCR chief, Mr. Filippo Grandi, as saying: "Refugee children, like
children everywhere, have the right to education, and it is fundamental that
children who have been uprooted by war and violence are not left behind
even further.

"We therefore urge donors and development organizations to support
efforts to include refugee children and youth in national education systems."

On her part, UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova, stated: "There
are unprecedented numbers of forcibly displaced populations, putting
huge pressure on education systems.

"But for these children and youth education is especially important by
simply being in school, they are better protected from trafficking, illegal
adoption, child marriage, sexual exploitation and forced labour."

Also, Director of UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report,
Mr. Aaron Benavot, said that collecting information on moving
populations was challenging, and sometimes impossible.

He said: "What little we know is mostly about those living in camps,
yet more than half of the world’s refugees reside in urban areas, where
even less is known. We need to know who they are, what they have
been through and whether we are effectively responding to their needs."

UNHCR and UNESCO noted that reliable data on internally
displaced people were even more limited, but reports indicated that their
displacement put huge strains on already weak education systems.

The UN agencies said: "In Nigeria, for instance, children displaced
because of attacks by Boko Haram did not have access to any form
of education in 19 out of 42 camps, according to data from June 2015."

The agencies also said that those already marginalized, notably girls,
were often the worst affected among refugees, noting that, in 2015 in
Kakuma Camp in Kenya, only 38 per cent of primary school students
were girls.

The policy paper also advocated for four main policy directions for
governments and their partners to tackle the diverse neglected needs
of internally displaced persons and refugees.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  20May2016

20 may 2016 18:08:41

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