Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

Refugee education: A global review

Dryden-Peterson, S. Refugee education: A global review. UNHCR, Geneva, 2011. Pages: 104.

This newest study commissioned by the Policy Development and Evaluation Service (PDES) of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an attempt to chart a way forward for policy and programming in refugee education. The aim of the report is to review common patterns and categories within the field of refugee education rather than to evaluate existing mechanisms. Based on the analysis of internal UNHCR data and documents, an online survey and telephone interviews with key stakeholders, as well as three in-depth field-based case studies – a camp (Uganda), an urban setting (Malaysia) and a repatriation context (Mauritania) – this study provides in-depth analyses of  particular contexts that allow for testing various theories that relate to the topic at hand.

The publication offers insight into the history of refugee education, the current “state of the field” and several challenges that lead to specific recommendations. Although largely focused on primary and secondary education, it also examines some opportunities for higher education, which were developed for refugees under DAFI (the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative), as well as outside of UNHCR. The study advocates for further expansion of higher education amongst refugees, noting that while the demand for higher education is growing, together with its overall importance for societies in terms of leadership in protracted settings and in post-conflict reconstruction, the accessibility to higher education still remains very limited for this group of learners.