Multistakeholder Pledge: Achieving 15% Enrolment by 2030 to Expanding Refugee Access to Higher Education and Self-Reliance

Key outcome: to expand access to higher education and self-reliance for refugee and host community youth
Multi-stakeholder pledges - GCR Objective 2

Multistakeholder Pledge: Achieving 15% Enrolment by 2030 to Expanding Refugee Access to Higher Education and Self-Reliance

Key outcome: to expand access to higher education and self-reliance for refugee and host community youth


As the global leader on refugee higher education, UNHCR, with a global network of partners, set the goal to achieve enrolment of 15% of refugee youth in higher education by 2030. While progress has been made in raising the percentage of refugee youth participating in higher education from 1% in 2019 to 6% in 2022, much more must be done if we are to collectively ensure that at least 500,000 refugee youth are enrolled in higher education in 2030. To achieve change of this magnitude, a global movement is needed to engage contributors large and small, to build support for higher education institutions in refugee hosting countries and to manifest substantial new opportunities for refugee youth to pursue their futures in inclusive, quality higher education.

Pledge description

UNHCR and strategic partners have launched a global initiative to galvanise support, to grow the family of refugee higher education stakeholders and to amplify the work of higher education institutions in refugee hosting countries. The 15by30 roadmap is represented in this umbrella pledge which recognises a range of essential contributions that can be made by stakeholders around the world including: scholarships, academic guidance services, waiver of testing fees, equipping connected education facilities, language and skills development, complementary education pathways, student solidarity actions and more.

Related pledges to match

  • GRF-00515 - Government of Ethiopia - Despite the emerging opportunities granted under the new refugee proclamation, most refugees of working age (especially the youth) are not well prepared to benefit from available employment opportunities because their existing skill sets do not match those required by the labour market. Skills development initiatives in refugee camps have been provided by NGOs and the trainings under these initiatives are mainly geared towards skills sets that are not linked to viable economic sub- sectors in the refugee hosting areas. Further, there have been no deliberate efforts to integrate refugees into Ethiopia’s existing national public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems in terms of policy and legislative framework as stipulated in the IGAD Kampala Declaration on Jobs livelihood and self-reliance for refugee, returnees and host community in IGAD region. Therefore, the Government of Ethiopia commits to expand national and local government TVET systems and facilities to provide quality and accredited skills training to 20,000 host and refugees on equitable basis. The skills training will be provided in-line with the country’s TVET policies and programmes and taking into consideration skills needs anticipation and creation of a balance between the demand for and supply of skills in the labour market. 


  • GRF-00913 - Government of Rwanda - The Government of Rwanda considers education as key tool to be used towards refugee self-reliance and durable solutions. Education is articulated in the Government of Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation (2017-2024) as a tool for social and economic transformation. The Government of Rwanda in 2016 pledged to integrate refugee students into Rwanda National Education System and has ensured that more than 85% of refugees had access to primary and secondary education alongside their hosts. Along the same lines, the Government of Rwanda in 2019 pledges to focus on enhancing the capacity, quality, and inclusiveness of national education systems to facilitate the access of refugee and host community children (both girls and boys), adolescents, and youth to primary, secondary education. Rwanda further commits to ensure refugee access to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with an aim to provide knowledge and skills for employment as it is recognized to be a crucial vehicle for social equity, inclusion and sustainable development. This will be done by upgrading the schools that host refugees and host community and increasing the number of classrooms, constructing other infrastructures, providing sufficient scholastic materials, training teachers for primary, secondary schools. With respect to TVET the focus will be on introducing new and innovative subjects based driven by the market demand in the local and national labor market. 


  • GRF-01032 - Government of Zambia - To maintain refugee inclusion in the national education system at all levels, including providing free early childhood, primary education, as well as secondary and tertiary. To actualize this, the government intends to establish technical and vocational training institutes in the three main refugee settlements and solicit at least 220 scholarships for refugee scholars in the country’s private and public universities and colleges. This will require substantial financial support for education infrastructure development expansion in all refugee settlements. 


  • GRF-01050 - Government of Zimbabwe - The Government of Zimbabwe hereby commits to promote and increase access to tertiary education for refugees, asylum seekers and host community. By 2021, establish a technical / vocational training center with an innovation hub and blended learning programmes in Tongogara Refugee Camp for the host community, refugees and asylum seekers.


  • Open Society University Network (OSUN)
  • Times Higher Education
  • Tertiary Refugee Student Network (TRSN)
  • Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network (GAIN)
  • Duolingo
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • Global Student Forum
  • Finn Church Aid (FCA)
  • Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium
  • Global Taskforce on Education Pathways
  • World University Service Canada (WUSC)
  • Refugee Led Research Hub


  • Government of Denmark
  • Government of Ethiopia
  • Government of Germany
  • Government of Monaco
  • Government of Zimbabwe

Contact details

Manal Stulgaitis - [email protected], Arash Bordbar - [email protected]


  • 19 July 2023: OSUN online pledging workshop
  • 28 July 2023: virtual meeting of the Global Tertiary Education Task Team
  • 1 September: pledge announcement at formal GRF briefing
  • September: refugee higher education workshop - Americas
  • August – November: refugee student and youth led consultations, pledging workshops
  • October: refugee higher education workshop – Asia and MENA regions

Contributions towards this multi-stakeholder pledge