11.1.4 Accelerated Education Working Group: Widening access, raising standards

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SpeakerName: Ms. Laetitia Lemaistre, Education Specialist, UNHCR

Description: ‘Children and youth affected by conflict are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to educational access. Globally, half of the world’s out-of-school children-–over 58 million children—live in conflict-affected and fragile states. UNHCR estimates that only one out of two refugee children access primary school; 1 out of 4 refugee adolescents access secondary school, while less than once percent of refugees access higher education. Part of the story behind these statistics has to do with the fact that children and youth affected by conflict often miss out on many years of education due to the deterioration of education services during conflict, or the context of their flight. With each missed school year, not only is there higher likelihood that they will not return to school, but there are also significant protection risks associated with being out of school, including the inability to obtain employment; exploitation; recruitment into armed groups; and reliance on negative coping mechanisms. For refugees who do have access to education in a country of asylum, they often find that they are excluded from schools due to their age, or they become frustrated from learning alongside younger children and drop out as a result.