Protecting the right to education for refugees – Working Papers on Education Policy 04


UNESCO working paper on Protecting the Right to Education for Refugees

A new UNESCO working paper aims to provide an overview of the international legal framework protecting the right to education of refugees worldwide.

UNHCR data has highlighted the fact that refugee education is in crisis with millions of people hosted in low, middle income and least developed countries needing equal access to education of good quality. Their inclusion is also critical to achieve the aims of the Education 2030 Agenda.

The paper covers the obligations of states to refugees and also shows that, despite the existence of a strong applicable framework to guarantee the right to education of refugees worldwide, the challenges and obstacles encountered in this context may dramatically prevent its implementation.

The paper also emphasizes that, even though ensuring the right to education is fundamental in all phases of the refugee situation, there is a particular need to draw attention to the stabilization phase. This phase relates to a structural context involving host states’ educational policies and legal frameworks as well as matters related to adaptation and integration.

With a view to effectively protecting the right to education for refugees and seeking sustainable policy solutions, the main features of the right to education – availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability – may offer a relevant framework for states to adopt and implement solid legal and policy national frameworks prohibiting discrimination or exclusion and protecting fundamental rights.