Education of refugee children
Right and chance for a better future
Education is a basic right that is vital in restoring hope and dignity to children driven from their homes. It is also an indispensable means of integration, empowering all to fully participate in the community of the country of asylum and in its political, economic, social and cultural life.
Every child has the right to quality education. The Education Strategy of UNHCR stresses the important role of the access of refugee and asylum-seeker children to adequate educational opportunities.
In Central Europe, however, many of these children face difficulties in exercising this right.
In some locations, it turns out to be difficult to secure a school place in the vicinity of the reception and accommodation facilities due to discriminatory attitudes of the school management or the teaching staff.
Displaced children cannot always provide evidence of past educational achievements and therefore are placed in grades lower than their educational needs. In various schools, teachers are not qualified to teach diverse groups of pupils or children with a mother tongue different from that of the asylum country. Sometimes they also lack access to specialized educational resources necessary to integrate refugee children in school activities or introduce diversity as part of the curriculum. The preparatory language courses are not always of sufficient intensity or duration to enable children and young people to acquire the basic language skills necessary for the mainstream education. A number of children drop out of school forfeiting any opportunities for educational and personal advancement.
Over the years there has been some improvement in the seven countries of the Central European region under the Regional Representation in the access to education of refugee children and adolescents. However, a number of significant problems and gaps remain.
Therefore UNHCR has launched a project with a view to improve access to an adequate standard of education among asylum-seeker and refugee children. The project will map and identify gaps and promising practices in the provision of educational support across the region, organize a regional conference and on the basis of its conclusions draft policy guidelines to assist the national authorities and other stakeholders.
UNHCR in the region also advocates for the improvement of the national policy frameworks and policy implementation practices regarding the access of asylum-seeker and refugee children to formal and non-formal education of an adequate quality and for the development of social policies that will allow discriminatory and xenophobic practices to disappear.