Koumbou Boly Barry.jpg

UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
26 September 2018

The United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on the right to education, Koumbou Boly Barry, submitted a report to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the right to education,  which focuses on the right to education for refugees. The report, available here, will be presented on 19th October at the UNGA and broadcasted via UN Web TV.

In this report, the UNSR addresses the importance of equal access of refugees to quality education at all levels.

The report includes the following main recommendations:

  • States should ensure that refugee children and young people are included in national education systems.
  • States must ensure that the rights of forcibly displaced people are enshrined in national laws and policies, in particular including refugee children, young people and adults in national education systems.
  • Refugee education should be mainstreamed into the national curriculum of host countries.
  • States should take the actions necessary to ensure that refugee families are properly integrated into the community, and also show reasonable flexibility in applying administrative requirements on a case-by-case basis in order to take into account the realities on the ground when it comes to refugee population obtaining the required documents, such as school certificates.
  • Special attention should be paid to ensuring that refugee girls have access to schools, including special programmes and projects to eliminate obstacles to education of the refugee girl child.
  • At financial level, donors, aid agencies and international organisations must plan for and adequately finance the inclusion of refugees in education, and efforts should be made to ensure stable and consistent sources of financial support.

Regarding tertiary education and vocational training, and given the importance of access to higher education, the UNSR welcomes the protection mandate of UNHCR, including its strategic directions for the period 2017-2021, to strengthen access of refugees to higher education.

The UNSR also recognised the critical role that teachers should play in education planning in emergency situations, and highlighted that teacher must be recruited and trained carefully.

In the report, the UNSR fully supports the global compact on refugees (called in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, signed in 2016 by 193 countries), which she considers will provide better support and assistance to refugee populations and host countries within an international framework.

The UNSR's report is available here.

For more information on the right to education for refugees, please visit our thematic webpage.

For more information on women and girls’ right to education, please visit our thematic webpage.


Photo credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré