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Only about 1/3rd of refugee children reach secondary education, U.N. says

By
Zarrin Ahmed
Palestinian refugee children are seen at a United Nations school in Gaza City on August 16. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI
Palestinian refugee children are seen at a United Nations school in Gaza City on August 16. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 7 (UPI) -- About two-thirds of refugee children around the world are not making it to secondary school levels, the United Nations Refugee Agency said in a report Tuesday, based on data across dozens of countries.

The 27-page report, titled "Staying the Course: The Challenges Facing Refugee Education," says the data show that just 34% of refugee children reached secondary education in 2019-20. At the primary level, 68% of refugee children were enrolled.

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The report, based on data collected from 40 countries with about 13 million refugees, included case studies from educators and students and focuses partly on refugees in Pakistan and Rwanda.

According to UNHCR, Afghans make up the largest refugee population worldwide.

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The report calls for a global effort to address what it says are "critically low" levels of education among the refugee population.

"COVID-19 has been disruptive for all children, but for young refugees - already facing significant obstacles to getting into school -- it could dash all hopes of getting the education they need.," the agency said in a statement.

The agency is aiming for a 15% higher education enrollment rate for refugees by 2030, a goal it says must begin at the secondary education level.

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"Recent progress made in school enrolment of refugee children and youth is now under threat," UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said in a statement.

"Confronting this challenge requires a massive, coordinated effort, and it is a task we cannot afford to shirk."

In Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee children are being denied education altogether. There, volunteer teachers are providing some education to refugees. Thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar amid the crisis and sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.

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