In a world where 7.1 million refugee children under UNHCR’s mandate are of school age, education represents a life-changing opportunity. The inclusion of refugee children in national education systems, with access to qualifications and certification, is vital for improving their future outcomes and fostering peaceful coexistence with host communities. Access to secondary, tertiary and vocational opportunities in turn provides access to labour opportunities and better livelihoods.
Read more to discover progress on Education pledges made at the GRF.
At the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), 204 pledges were made on the theme of education, including 30 listing education as one of multiple areas of focus.
- 13 pledges have been fulfilled, including financial commitments made to supporting DAFI or creating further scholarships for refugee students. Several pledges that committed contributions made to UNHCR and Education Cannot Wait have also been fulfilled helping to ensure additional and reliable resources for the inclusion of refugees in national education systems.
- 73 pledges are in progress. These include State pledges to support inclusion. For example in the case of Rwanda, new classrooms and libraries are under construction, while in El Salvador, 14 school counselling centers were established and a virtual training focused on displacement was conducted for teachers.
- In Malawi, the Government has taken additional steps to include refugees in their Growth and Development Strategy III. This effort was further supported by a 10 million USD grant issued by the Global Partnership for Education's Accelerated Education COVID-19 Response Grant to aid the national COVID-19 response programme for all children.
- In addition to State pledges, there have been significant pledges made by civil society. In particular, there has been a strong focus on advocacy efforts, taking into account COVID-19 related school closures and placing a strong focus on ensuring inclusion of refugees in national plans.
- Malala Fund commissioned an independent review aimed at facilitating a network model and highlighting projections for refugee girls’ return to school.
- The Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) published a blog on World Refugee Day and conducted five roundtable webinars designed to give space for refugee voices.
- Save the Children has also produced the Save Our Education report that provided an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on education, including for refugees. It included calls for increased financing from the World Bank and bilateral donors, and for Ministries of Education to include refugees in their COVID-19 education response while also maintaining or increasing their education budgets.
- Progress has also been made by UNICEF in partnership with UNHCR as outlined within the UNHCR-UNICEF Blueprint in supporting several countries to strengthen the inclusion of refugees in national education systems.
- Private sector actors have also made significant advances in implementing their pledges. LEGO Foundation's commitment to early childhood education, through Play Matters, has been launched with a focus on Uganda and Ethiopia. Vodafone Foundation's commitment to expand the Instant Network School programme has also made progress, working jointly with the Ministries of Education to establish centers in schools across Egypt and Mozambique.
- The GRF Education Co-sponsorship Alliance has remained active throughout the year, continuing the work of the different thematic task teams. This has included significant progress on the 15by30 tertiary education roadmap and the creation of a Secondary Education Working Group. Through ongoing efforts, the primary task team has established priorities and a revised workplan for 2021. In addition, the Alliance hosted a stock-taking exercise on 1 December 2020 and will publish an annual pledging brief in January 2021, providing an overview of all pledge updates.
We continue to invite pledging entities to submit updates on pledge implementation. Please visit this page to submit a new update.