At a UN summit, on Monday 19th September, the UNHCR called for easier access to education for refugee students. The New York declaration for Refugees and Migrants called to ensure “all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival.” It hopes to achieve this, among other aims by 2018.
According the UN Refugee Agency only 50 per cent of the refugee children under their care are estimated to have access to primary education. Only 25 per cent have access to secondary level education, and 1 per cent have access to tertiary education.
“We’re all afraid but our determination to graduate is stronger than our fear” said a refugee, recounted by Melissa Fleming at a TED conference in October 2014. Fleming is the spokesperson to the UNHCR.
Access to education is vital for the development, integration and well-being of refugees. Although systems are in place to allow easier access to education, many refugee students are being held back by VISA restrictions.
At the European Association for International Education she spoke of the importance of providing student VISA’s to refugees: “We are calling on countries as part of the global responsibility sharing not just to think in terms of funding or resettlement of refugees but also of student visas”