QUESTION OF: Education in refugee camps

PRESIDENTS: Camille Fourticq, Dimitry Hankins, Clara Fleury, Zachary Seal

"Refugees have skills, ideas, hopes and dreams...They are also tough, resilient and creative, with the energy and drive to shape their own destinies,given the chance." -Filipo Grandi

We currently experience historically high records of migration. 65,3 millions of people in the world have been forced to leave their hometowns, which represents an unprecedented number. We count among them almost 21,3 millions of refugees of which more than half are less than 18 years old. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is responsible for the protection and support of refugees from all around the world. HRC was founded the 14th of december 1950 by the general assembly of the United Nations, in New York, in order to help refugees from all around the world.

Nowadays on a global scale, nearly 43,7 millions of people flee their country, from which two thirds are led by the HRC for protection purposes. The HRC however gives help not only to the refugees but also, on a global scale, to asylum seekers, people back in their country and, for an important part made up of 27 million, to displaced peoples.

Key terms definitions :

The article 1 of the Geneva Convention about refugees status defines a refugee as a person who lives out of the country in which he has the nationality or in which he has his usual residence, and because of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it. La Toupie defines education as the action of developing knowledge and moral values, intellectual, and scientific that are regarded as fundamental and essential in order to reach the level of culture wished. Education enables the transfer from one generation to the next with the necessary culture to an individual so that he can develop his personality and fit into society.

General view :

1,75 million refugee children do not have access to primary education and 1,95 million refugee teenagers do not attempt secondary school. Refugees are five times more likely to be dropped out of school than the global average . Only 50% of refugee children have access to primary education, while the global average is more than 90%.

And when those children grow up, the gap becomes a chasm : only 22% of refugee teenagers attend secondary school in comparison with a world average of 84%. Concerning higher education, only 1% refugee attend university, in regard to a global average of 34%.

Refugees often live in areas where governments already deal with educating their own children. They have to cope with the additional task of finding school buildings, trained teacher and school supplies for tens, even hundreds newcomers who often don’t speak the taught language and have missed 3 to 4 years of school. More than half of the children and teens around the world are located in only seven countries : Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo , Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey.

According to the HRC, the refugee’s education is in crisis. Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner of the United Nations for refugees stated : « It represents a crisis for millions of refugee children. Refugees education is particularly neglected while it is one of the rare occasions that we have to transform, build the next generation and improve the destiny of tens of millions uprooted people in this world. » And we pursue his speech saying that education enables refugees to positively shape the future of their country of asylum as well as their home country when they will be back there. Therefore it is essential to think beyond the basic survival needs and to make possible the access to education for all.

Recent developments:

Humanitarian organisations are recently increasingly involved in providing refugee schools with technological tools like tablets. Indeed, despite their rather high costs, these technologies stimulate their curiosity and their interest for learning. An innovative initiative from Vodafone foundation called Instant Network Schools (INS) brought distance learning and connectivity to the world's biggest refugee camp, Dadaab in Kenya. Some schools and some community centres have been equipped with a «digital kit» consisting of tablets, solar energy batteries, a satellite-based or mobile network as well as a series of programs and pedagogic support of distant learning. Teachers profit from the help of technology and an ongoing formation. This innovation allows to cross the language barrier and to access a colossal quantity of information instantly even in the most isolated regions. The program, initially available only in Kenya has been extended and is now available in 31 center from 4 countries : Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Most concerned country:

The most concerned countries by the “crisis” of education among refugee children are Tchad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, and Southern Sudan because they have the majority of refugees in the world.

Tchad : According to HCR, the net rate of total schooling is 37 % for refugee children and it is estimated that among the 76 536 children out of school, 30 000 are in age to go to primary school. Motivation and learning of children are greatly affected by poor education conditions and more generally of life.

Democratic republic of Congo : Children refugees do not have access to education and are condemned to forced labour and are victim of violence. However the HCR tries to improve

their situation by working next to the Congolese government and thus the children have the possibility to integrate schools in a regular way.

Ethiopia : Education is not free in this country. When we know that only 13% of children (not refugee) go to school we can imagine that the rate of children going to school must be approximately zero.

Kenya : This country is an example of success in the schooling of refugee children. Indeed in Kakuma camp, despite the fact that primary schools count 140 students per class, the success rate reaches 96% by the end of the cycle. Currently the schooling rate is of 76% in primary school.

Liban : Refugees in Lebanon are essentially Syrians and despite the double system (school for lebanese children in the morning and for the syrian children in the afternoon) that the state built with international support; only half of the refugee children go to school.

Pakistan : Most of refugee children are afghans and are not recognised by the law: they are invisible for the law. Moreover, as they don’t speak ourdou (official language) they don’t have access to education and end up in streets.

Turkey : Despite a rise of approximately 50% of the schooling rate since June 2016, more than 40% of syrian refugee children in Turkey still don’t have access to education.

South Sudan : Many Sudanese are forced to leave their country because of the civil war or to fly to other areas of the country. In addition, local authorities prevent the UN and other humanitarian organisations from helping areas in need.

Some solutions...

● Integrating technologies working with solar energy to promote the integration of ICT. This will allow an easier learning, suppress the language barrier and assure the energy independence that is needed.

● Schools in refugee camps often lack teachers. Authorizing refugee teachers to teach in these schools would be a solution.

● Develop refugee child sponsorship programs.

● Promote/force the cooperation with the State in order to promote the inclusion or young refugees in the national educative system as well as the cooperation with international organisations or non-governmental organisations.

● Encourage university scholarships for refugees so that they can study in many countries.

● Develop and improve scholar programs so refugee children can learn more things (another language for example).

Conclusion :

With a rate of refugee children without access to education of 50 %, for those in age of going to primary school, and a gap forming once they go to secondary school, it gets important to find innovative solutions in order to assure the success of scolarisation for all.