6 things to know about refugee children and education
On World Refugee Day, held each year on June 20, we share facts that remind us on the importance of ensuring that all children, including refugees, have access to education when they need it the most.
June 20, 2018 by GPE Secretariat
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1 minute read
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On June 20, we celebrate World Refugee Day, to highlight the plight of millions of people around the world who are forced from their homes. Children are most affected, missing out on their education or having to adapt to a new language and system in their host country.

1. Developing countries host 85% of the total refugee population of the world.
(Source: GEMR/UNHCR Global Trends 2017). Refugee children gather at the entrance of Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Uganda. In 2017, Uganda hosted close to 1.4 million refugees, most fleeing violence from South Sudan, DR Congo and Burundi.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
2. GPE partner developing countries are home to almost 4 million refugee children, about 45% of the world’s refugee children population.
(Source: UNHCR and GPE data as of 2016. UNHCR data only account for refugees for whom demographic data is available). South Sudanese refugee children in a classroom in Uganda.
Credit: Aikawa Ke
3. Refugees do not return home quickly: the average time spent outside home countries is 17 years, and only 1% of refugees return to their countries of origin.
(Source: United Nations, “One Humanity: Shared Responsibility"). This woman and her child are refugees from the DR Congo in Gihembe camp in Rwanda. According to UNHCR, Rwanda hosts more than 156,000 refugees (2016).
Credit: Bobbi Kraham/USAID
4. Refugee children are 5 times more likely to be out of school. In 2015, 50% of primary aged refugee children were missing out on primary education, and 3 in 4 had no access to secondary education.
(Source: ODI Education cannot wait. Proposing a fund for education in emergencies). Children earn a living by transporting goods inside the Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan.
Credit: Mohamed Azakir/World Bank
5. The top 10 refugee hosting countries in the world include 5 least developed countries that are all GPE partners: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda.
Sudanese refugee children in Ethiopia receive fortified porridge daily in school, aiming to help stabilize the enrollment of both girls and boys by providing them with a reliable meal.
Credit: Fitsum Aregawi, USAID
6. GPE and UNHCR signed a memorandum of understanding in 2016 to enhance their collaboration and ensure that all refugee children can get a quality education.
Darfurian refugee children in the courtyard of Ali Dinnar primary school, during a morning break. Eastern Chad. With GPE support, the government of Chad set a strong example by becoming the first GPE partner country to include refugees in its transitional education sector plan in 2013. Chad received two grants from GPE totaling US$47 million to help implement this plan.
Credit: UNHCR / F. Noy / December 2011
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