Despite progress in enrolment and retention of refugee children in primary education services in recent years, access to secondary education for refugee adolescents remains a critical gap across UNHCR operations. This education brief outlines key information on secondary education programming for refugees.
The brief highlights that globally, only one in four refugee adolescents are in secondary school, with large numbers of young refugees, a majority of them girls, out of school. In many refugee operations, secondary education services are meeting a fraction of the demand. In Dadaab camps in Kenya for example, there are 33 primary schools, but only seven secondary schools, running at double their capacity to accommodate just 13 per cent of the adolescent population. In 2015, UNHCR aimed to spend just 13 per cent of its total education budget on secondary education, about one-third of spending allocated for primary education. Where resources are constrained, the common practice in operations has been to give priority to supporting primary education, resulting in chronic neglect of secondary education services for refugees.