This topic guide is designed to support DFID advisors, education specialists, and other partners working on providing education for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). It provides an overview of the key issues, and signposts relevant sources for further information and reading. Section 1 provides a brief introduction to the guide. Section 2 gives a global overview of forced displacement and education. Section 3 maps the state of research, policy, and practice in refugee education. Section 4 maps the state of research, policy, and practice in IDP education. Section 5 seeks to identify and explore best practice, and existing and potential future opportunities and innovations, in the field of education and forced displacement.
Methodology and evidence base
This guide is based on an extensive (but not systematic) literature review. There are few sources of reliable data, robust evidence, and rigorous research in this field, especially with regard to IDP education and education for refugees living outside of camps. This guide has therefore also drawn upon grey literature, including project evaluations from international agencies working in the field. There remain large evidence gaps regarding the numbers of displaced children and the quantity and quality of education that they receive. The evidence base regarding the effectiveness of education interventions for displaced populations, covered in section 5 of this guide, is very limited. The strength of the evidence base is discussed in Appendix A.
Section 2: Forced displacement and education: a global overview
In 2015 there were 65.3 million people living in forced displacement due to conflict and persecution (UNHCR 2016i). The figure includes those who have fled across borders (refugees) and those who have stayed within their own countries (IDPs). The differences between refugees and IDPs are summarised in table 0.1.
|Global numbers (2015) (see UNHCR 2016i)|
|21.3 million refugees|
3.2 million asylum seekers
|40.8 million internally displaced people, of which 8.6 million newly displaced in 2015|
|Causes of displacement||Persecution||Armed conflict, internal strife, systematic violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters|
|Bodies responsible for ensuring the right to education||UNHCR, host governments, UNRWA for Palestinian refugees||National governments|
UNICEF for returnees (see UNHCR 1997)
|Global legal frameworks and conventions||1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees||1998 UN Guiding Principles on IDPs (not legally binding)|
|Coordinating bodies||UNHCR, UNRWA||Education Cluster|
Displacement is usually long term. In 2012, 75% of refugees had been displaced for more than 5 years. In two thirds of all countries monitored in 2014, over half of all IDPs had been displaced for over three years.
Around half of refugees are under 18; similar data for IDPs is unavailable. However, education counts for only around 2% of humanitarian aid, and makes up 4% of UNHCR’s budget. Education in situations of protracted displacement faces funding shortages
The UNHCR is mandated to collect and disseminate global statistics on refugees. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) compiles data on IDPs collected by other organisations but is only able to produce estimates. Little is known about the largest group of forcibly displaced people – IDPs outside of camp situations – regarding the numbers of children and their access to education. In terms of data, this group is virtually invisible to the international community.
This guide focuses on the education of refugees in low- and middle-income countries, where the majority (≈75%) of refugees live, and does not cover education of refugees in high-income countries. The education of Palestinian refugees through UNRWA provides an example of how quality education for refugees in protracted displacement can be successfully delivered at scale, given sufficient resources.
The UNHCR Education Strategy 2012-2016 promotes the integration of refugee learners within national systems. UNHCR has established formal partnerships with ministries of education in almost all the countries in which it works, and many host countries have adopted this approach.
According to UNHCR:
- Only 1 in every 2 primary-school-aged refugees accesses primary education
- Only 1 in every 4 secondary-school-aged refugees accesses secondary education
- Only 1 in every 100 refugees accesses higher education or skills-based education
- 2 million school-aged refugee children and adolescents are out of school
Common barriers to access at all levels of education include shortage of school space, language barriers, curriculum, transport, lack of documentation (e.g. birth certificates, school-leaving certificates), child labour, school fees, and security concerns. Particular challenges for girls include pregnancy and/or marriage, and lack of access to sanitation facilities.
The limited available research suggests that mainstreaming into the host country’s education system has several major advantages compared with creating parallel and/or alternative education provision. Advantages include accountability, standardisation, and recognised certification of educational opportunities. However, the education systems in host countries are rarely equipped to deal with arrivals of refugee learners. National schools are sometimes associated with high costs and non-mother-tongue instruction leading to grade repetition.
Opportunities for higher education for refugees are particularly lacking.
The quality of education for refugees who are enrolled in schools is often very low, with high student–teacher ratios, poor facilities, and lack of safety for children in schools and on the way to school.
Curriculum: The curriculum of the country of origin is the one that is most relevant to the recently displaced, since qualifications gained can be recognised on their return. But most refugees live in protracted displacement and few return to their place of origin. Integration into the host education system and its curriculum is the preferred norm of the UNHCR. Educators often include elements from the country of origin curricula to teach alongside host country curricula, and may add subjects like human rights and peacebuilding.
Medium of instruction and language learning: Having to learn the language of the host country and adapt to education in a new medium of instruction is a major barrier. Strategies used to address this include the provision of language classes for refugees, and using a bilingual curriculum in refugee schools to support transition into local schools.
Pedagogy and teacher competence: Teachers recruited to teach in refugee schools are often unqualified. Their training courses are often short and do not lead to formal qualifications. In some contexts these teachers lack confidence, and do not see themselves as real teachers. Overcrowded classrooms, lack of materials, and unfamiliarity with the language of instruction also have a negative impact on the quality of teaching.
Assessment: Refugees face a number of challenges concerning assessment. These include:
- lack of access to formal assessment opportunities such as national examinations
- lack of recognition of certain credentials and qualifications
- lack of recognition of prior learning
Education can be a source of protection for refugee children. However, the protective effects of education are diminished when it is of low quality. Schools and other educational interventions can themselves be sites of violence or targets for attack. In addition, teachers who lack adequate training may use corporal punishment to maintain classroom discipline.
The situation of IDPs is often less visible to the international community than that of refugees.
- IDPs in camps may have access to non-formal learning spaces or primary schools supported by the international community, but have very limited access to secondary education
- IDPs outside of camps tend to receive less access and support from international humanitarian organisations, but may have better access to local schools
- Returning IDPs may face challenges in having their learning during displacement recognised
- For demobilised child soldiers, education is an important part of the reintegration process, as it provides social and emotional development as well as academic learning
The legal responsibility for provision of education to IDPs lies with the national government. In the absence of provision by the state, IDP communities often set up their own schools.
International support for education for IDPs is generally treated as a short-term humanitarian response; however, many IDPs live in protracted displacement. Education tends to be a high priority for IDPs themselves, but has tended to be a low priority for humanitarian actors.
The education cluster plays a central role in coordinating support for IDP education. It can provide an effective platform for partnership with the international community and national governments.
A substantial proportion of IDP children are not enrolled in school, although the exact numbers are unknown. Access to education for IDPs is highly context-dependent.
IDPs face numerous barriers to education, especially girls and women. Many of the barriers are similar to those faced by other conflict and crisis-affected populations, but IDPs are more vulnerable due to the loss of livelihood, home, and possessions. School fees are one of the most significant barriers for IDPs. Other barriers particular to IDPs include:
- lack of education providers within or near camps and other IDP settlements
- loss of documentation
- inability to meet residency requirements for school enrolment
Common strategies used by national governments in providing education for IDPs include:
- expanding school capacity in host areas through multi-shift schooling
- relaxing requirements for IDPs to have uniforms or documentation for enrolment
- fee waivers
Strategies commonly used by the international community, often in partnership with national governments, include:
- child-friendly spaces and temporary learning spaces
- supplying teaching and learning materials such as “school in a box”
- hiring IDP teachers, especially female teachers, to teach in IDP camps
- issuing IDPs with temporary documentation
- school feeding programmes and take-home rations
- providing alternative education classes, including accelerated learning classes
- school voucher programmes
In the first instance, UNICEF and other actors often provide Child Friendly Spaces. However, IDP children and families have voiced that they prefer formal education over structured play and non-formal education.
UNICEF uses “school in a box” kits that contain basic teaching and learning materials. It keeps a stockpile which can be rapidly deployed in emergencies. In prolonged displacement, locally procured kits provide a more culturally appropriate and value-for-money approach.
There are often very few opportunities for IDPs to continue studying post-primary. Education programming for “youth” (generally 15 years and older) in IDP situations often focuses on providing technical and vocational skills.
In many cases the quality of education available to IDPs is far below the INEE’s Minimum Standards for Education.
There are very few studies on the learning outcomes of IDPs. A study in Sri Lanka found that there was a significant learning achievement deficit (1.5 to 3 years) associated with displacement. Evaluations of the Norwegian Refugee Council’s alternative education programmes for IDPs indicate that completion rates and learning outcomes for children in these programmes were similar to or better than those of children in mainstream schools.
Teachers in schools serving IDPs are often given incentives rather than a salary. International agencies are reluctant to support salaries due to concerns over sustainability and funding. But incentives often fail to attract qualified teachers. As a result, organisations often have to seek new potential teachers and provide basic training. Governments rarely agree to recognise these unqualified teachers, hence teachers in IDP camps can remain reliant on NGO incentives.
Many NGOs have developed their own teacher training courses. The most effective ones tend to place a heavy emphasis on classroom-based support, classroom observations, regular supervision, and ongoing workshops.
Refugees who qualify as teachers under a host country system may find that their government does not recognise their qualifications on their return. Regional certification of teachers can help to address this issue.
Some IDP schools have become targets for attack and recruitment of child soldiers. However, quality education can also help to protect IDP children, including by:
- providing a safe space for children to spend time
- teaching skills and knowledge to children to protect themselves from exploitation, health risks, gender-based violence, land mines, and other risks
- supporting children’s psychosocial well-being
- providing sites where children can receive other support such as vaccinations and counselling
In many emergencies, schools are used to provide temporary accommodation for IDPs, reducing access to education for host communities. Tensions can arise when IDPs are seen as being in competition for limited resources, or when they are seen as being given preferential treatment.
There is a need for more robust data, analysis, and research, including data on needs, availability, quality, and outcomes of education for IDPs and refugees living outside of camps.
There is a gap in the research when it comes to understanding the protracted nature of forced displacement and the individual and community educational trajectories and experiences. Robust longitudinal data are lacking.
Provision of post-primary education and training opportunities for adolescents and youth remains a major gap, requiring increased support from national and international actors, and exploration of innovative means of providing cost-effective access to education for this group.
Given the protracted nature of forced displacement, the international donor community needs to develop medium- to long-term flexible funding and implementation mechanisms for education for refugees and IDPs. Progress has been made through the Global Partnership for Education, and it is hoped that the new education in emergencies platform will address this gap.
Since mainstreaming of refugees into national education systems has become a preferred option, there is an urgent need for relevant and meaningful curriculum and assessment systems and a better understanding of how to meet specific learning needs, including those to do with language of instruction and assessment, disabilities, gender, and ethnicity.
The quality of UNRWA schools relative to other schools in the region has been attributed in part to UNRWA’s teacher training programmes and ongoing support mechanisms, but standards are falling. There is a need to determine how to maintain standards and to transfer lessons learned to other protracted refugee situations.
National capacity to address IDP education needs to be strengthened. This should cover inclusion of IDPs in education sector plans, Educational Management Information Systems and budgets, and contingency planning to reduce the disruption of education in the event of unforeseen future displacement crises.
Improved national-level planning and international support is needed to improve teacher recruitment and compensation in IDP situations, including strategies to retain qualified teachers.
Governments’ legal responsibility to protect IDPs’ right to education needs to be strengthened through the development of legal frameworks at global, regional, and national levels.
Section 5: Opportunities, innovations, and best practice in education for forcibly displaced people
The range of approaches described in section 5 of the report, summarized here in table 0.2, represents a menu of potentially productive strategies, rather than a definitive list of “what works”.
Table 0.2 Potentially productive strategies
|Issue addressed||Strategies and interventions|
|Supporting impacted communities|
|Ensuring protection, psychosocial support, and safe spaces, and building resilience|
|Addressing disruptions in learning|
|Addressing problems of space|
|Building teaching capacity and wellbeing|
|Improving higher education|
|Strengthening capacity for accreditation and certification|
|Improving data and monitoring|
According to UNICEF (2016), nearly 50 million children have migrated across borders around the world, or been forcibly displaced. Given that such displacement can last the duration of a typical school career, failure to provide education for these groups risks the emergence of a “lost generation”.
The umbrella term “forcibly displaced person” covers both refugee.s, i.e. those who have been forced to flee across national borders, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), i.e. those who have had to move within their own countries. Refugees and IDPs are defined differently in relation to international law, and their situations differ markedly regarding level of access to education, assistance/protection available from governments (whether the host government or that of their own country) and the international community, and continuity/discontinuity in educational experiences (Smith Ellison and Smith 2012). Some sections of this guide cover issues relevant to both groups, other sections treat them separately.
This topic guide serves as a technical guide to support DFID advisors, education specialists, and other partners working on providing education for refugees and IDPs. Its purpose is threefold:
- to map the state of research, policy, and practice in refugee education today
- to map the state of research, policy, and practice in IDP education today
- to identify and explore best practice, and existing and potential future opportunities and innovations in the field of education and forced displacement
This topic guide is not intended to be a comprehensive document covering all the issues relating to the right to education for forcibly displaced persons. Rather, it is an overview of the key issues facing decision-makers and other education stakeholders, and it signposts relevant sources for further information and reading. For a review of the wider literature on Education in Emergencies (including some research on forcibly displaced people), which also evaluates the quality of research according to DFID’s (2014) guidelines Assessing the Strength of Evidence, readers are referred to Burde et al. (2015).
This guide is based on an extensive (though not systematic) review of scholarly and grey literature (e.g. agency reports, evaluations, guidance documents). In consultation with an academic advisor, the authors conducted an initial purposive literature search using key academic and practitioner databases, including Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Education Research Complete, EBSCOHost, Eldis, and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation. The list of resources generated from these searches was reviewed and supplemented with documents suggested by individuals working at the global level with DFID, INEE, UNHCR, and UNICEF.
In general, there is a limited evidence base on the effectiveness of educational interventions for refugees and IDPs; this is in large part due to the challenging environments in which displaced people find themselves, which hinders systematic study. Nevertheless, a number of useful studies are available. Appendix A provides a full review and discussion of the strength of evidence in the sources referred to throughout this report.
This guide has been written for a wide range of audiences, with differing background knowledge and information needs. It is designed so that readers can select the sections most relevant to themselves.
Section 2 sets out the global situation in terms of the numbers of forcibly displaced people, their locations, and the international aid architecture. The first part (2.1 to 2.3) relates to forced displacement in general. It gives the definitions, the numbers, the distribution and the trajectories of populations in forced displacement. This is aimed at education experts who are relatively new to the field of forced displacement. Those already familiar with the field may wish to skip these sections. The second part (2.3 to 2.7) gives a global overview of education and forced displacement. It includes a discussion on education for refugees and IDPs, challenges of data collection and monitoring, and an overview of the global coordinating structures for the international response to the needs. Readers seeking a quick overview of the defining characteristics of refugee and IDP education should refer to table 2.3 in section 2.4.
Sections 3 and 4 set out the state of research, policy, and practice in education for refugees and IDPs respectively. These have been written as stand-alone sections so that users of this guide can select the section most relevant to their own work.
Section 5 reviews innovations and best practice in education for forcibly displaced populations; many of these innovations are, or have the potential to be, applied to both refugee and IDP contexts. This section will be useful to those wanting to consider a range of possible solutions for providing education in these contexts. Many of the interventions discussed are relatively new or have been led by implementing organisations with limited research capacity, and therefore the evidence base for this section is relatively weak. A full discussion of the quality of evidence of the sources used throughout this report is provided in Appendix A.
The Global Program on Forced Displacement defines forced displacement as “the situation of persons who are forced to leave or flee their homes due to conflict, violence and human rights violations” (GPFD 2015). Forced displacement can also occur due to natural disasters and large-scale development projects; this topic guide will focus primarily on conflict-related displacement, and secondarily on that associated with natural disasters, as these are generally recognised as priorities for the international education community. This is not, however, intended to downplay the significance of development-induced displacement.
Table 2.1 provides definitions for the key terms used to describe the populations that are the focus of this topic guide. Note that the application of these terms is often legally and politically contested. For a more comprehensive glossary of key terms, see Appendix B.
Table 2.1 Definitions of key terms
|According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him or herself of the protection of that country.”|
|Palestinian Refugee||A Palestinian refugee is a person whose residence was Palestine for at least two years before losing home and livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict, or a descendant of such a person. While the definition ‘refugee’ emphasises the legal dimensions of the term, the definition of ‘a Palestinian refugee’ is more operational and exists primarily to identify persons eligible for services from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), who today reside in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (Feldman 2012). Palestinian women cannot retain or pass on their status to descendants if they marry a non-refugee, though descendants of male UNRWA refugees can (Bocco 2010).|
|‘Asylum seeker’ refers to an individual seeking international protection, whose claim to refugee status has not been definitively evaluated as yet. Not every asylum seeker will be recognised as a refugee, but every refugee was initially an asylum seeker (UNHCR 2006).|
|Internally Displaced Person (IDP)|
|The most common definition of IDPs is the one presented by the UN Secretary-General in 1992, which identifies them as “persons who have been forced to flee their homes suddenly or unexpectedly in large numbers, as a result of armed conflict, internal strife, systematic violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who are within the territory of their own country” (Forced Migration Online 2012).|
|A returnee is an individual who was displaced but who has recently returned to her/his country of origin (in the case of refugees) or place of origin (in the case of IDPs) (UNHCR 2006). For the purposes of this topic guide, returnees are discussed in the IDP section, because refugees who have returned to their home country are likely to be displaced within their origin country borders.|
|Person of Concern|
|“A person whose protection and assistance needs are of interest to UNHCR. This includes refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless people, internally displaced people and returnees” (UNHRC n.d.).|
|The Inter-agency Guiding Principles on Unaccompanied and Separated Children defines separated children as “those separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary care-giver, but not necessarily from other relatives. These may, therefore, include children accompanied by other adult family members.” It defines unaccompanied children/minors as “children who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so” (ICRC 2004). Children are entitled to special protection under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), but it has proven difficult to include separated children and adolescents within the protective scope of international refugee law (Bhabha 2014).|
The emergencies that lead to displacement are generally complex. They result from a range of factors, including political instability, conflict, violence, inequality, and poverty, and are often exacerbated by natural disasters, health emergencies, and environmental instability (FAO 2016). Many such emergencies are protracted: long-term, and characterised by recurrent conflict and/or natural disaster, weak governance capacity, chronic food crises, etc. (FAO 2016). Crawford et al. (2015) define ‘protracted displacement’ broadly as “a situation in which refugees and/or IDPs have been in exile for three years or more, and where the process for finding durable solutions, such as repatriation, absorption in host communities or settlement in third locations, has stalled”; they note that it can be difficult to determine a cut-off date for when displacement can be considered protracted, resulting in some disagreements between international agencies and scholars.
For 2015 the total number of forcibly displaced was 65.3 million (21.3 million refugees, 40.8 million IDPs, 3.2 million asylum seekers), the highest figure in history. This year also saw the highest annual increase of forcibly displaced peoples in any single year (UNHCR 2016i). The number of forcedly displaced people has grown by approximately 1.6 million annually between 2000 and 2014 (Crawford et al. 2015) but jumped by 5.8 million in 2014-15 (UNHCR 2016i).
Geographies of displacement are in a constant state of flux. The top ten countries of origin of people displaced by conflict and persecution in 2014 were: Syria (19.4%), Colombia (10.8%), Israel (8.7%), Sudan (6.4%), Iraq (6.3%), Afghanistan (5.9%), DRC (5.6%), Pakistan (3.8%), Somalia (3.8%), and South Sudan (3.6%). Table 2.2 gives the breakdown of IDPs and refugees in countries with large displacement crises in 2014. Most of the ten countries with displacement crises caused by conflict involve both refugees and IDPs in varying numbers. Note that while increasing numbers of refugees are making their way to HICs, the focus of this topic guide is on education for refugees in LMICs, as this is where the majority of refugees are located.
The numbers of IDPs displaced by disasters fluctuates year to year, but the overall trend has been increasing. Models adjusting for population growth show that the probability of being displaced by a disaster is 60% higher today than it was four decades ago. Between 2008 and 2014 there have been on average five disasters per year that have led to the displacement of over a million people. Natural-disaster-induced displacement occurs in countries at all income levels, but middle-income countries tend to be the most impacted by such disasters, and the consequent displacement, due to their high levels of urban growth with limited associated services (IDMC 2015b).
Table 2.2 IDPs and refugees in countries with large displacement crises in 2014 (Source: Crawford et al. 2015, p. 9)
|Top ten countries of displacement||% of caseload internally displaced||% of caseload externally displaced|
According to UNHCR data, 50% of refugees in 2014 were female, a slight increase on recent years. The proportion of children under the age of 18 among refugees increased from 41% in 2009 to 51% in 2014 and 2015 (UNHCR 2014c, UNHCR 2016i). The limited data on IDPs disaggregated by sex indicate that the proportion of women to men tends to match that of the general population, but with slightly more women.
Most displacement crises last for years, if not decades. According to recent studies, once displaced for six months, refugees are highly likely to end up in a state of protracted displacement. Over the past decade, two fifths of all refugees were displaced for three or more years at any one time (Crawford et al. 2015). Further, in two thirds of all countries monitored for conflict-induced displacement in 2014, at least half of all internally displaced persons (IDPs) had been displaced for over three years. It is often assumed that forced displacement due to disasters will be short term; however, although the data is limited, IDMC evidence suggests that disasters can also lead to protracted displacement, such as in Haiti, where conflict and disasters overlap (Hyndman 2011).
Most forcibly displaced people in protracted exile are unlikely to see what is known as a ‘durable’ solution to their displacement (i.e. returning ‘home’, integrating into the place of exile, or resettling elsewhere) (Crawford et al. 2015). It is often difficult for refugees to return to their country of origin; only small numbers of refugees are successful in integrating in the countries that do accept refugees (McCarthy and Vickers 2012), and only 1% of refugees globally are resettled to a third country (UNHCR 2014b). Many refugees and IDPs have experienced multiple displacements, such as the IDPs in Kivu provinces in DRC (IDMC 2015a), and Palestinian refugees living in Syria who have been further displaced by the conflict there.
Forced displacement inevitably leads to a temporary or permanent halt in a child’s school career. Education opportunities in situations of displacement are often very limited, and refugees and IDPs face numerous additional barriers to accessing education (see Sects. 3 and 4). In general, forcibly displaced persons are less likely to access education than their non-migrant peers (Dryden-Peterson 2011). However, forced displacement does not universally lead to a reduction in access to education; where families are forced to flee from areas with very few schools to urban areas or organised camps with more schools, displacement can in fact increase access to education (Ferris and Winthrop 2010).
Research suggests that non-formal and formal education opportunities of a reasonably high standard can provide a certain level of psychosocial protection and support for forcibly displaced peoples, as regular education activities can help to restore a sense of stability and hope among affected populations (Dryden-Peterson 2015, Shah 2015a). High-quality education that emphasises learning and pays particular attention to the varied needs of forcibly displaced peoples has the potential for societal benefits, including community cohesion, in addition to individual benefits (Dryden-Peterson 2015, McCorriston 2012). The EiE community of practice emphasises that education has lifesaving (short-term) and life-sustaining (longer-term) aims (INEE 2016). However, research also indicates that the education generally available for forcibly displaced persons is of such low quality that it commonly fails to exercise this protective dimension (Dryden-Peterson 2011).
|Causes of displacement (according to UN definition)|
|Armed conflict, internal strife, systematic violations of human rights, or natural or man-made disasters|
|Place of refuge|
|Outside their own country|
|Within their own country|
|Global numbers (2015)|
|21.3 million refugees|
3.2 million asylum seekers
|40.8 million displaced by conflict, persecution, generalised violence, or human rights violations (including 8.6 million newly displaced in 2015). This figure does not include those displaced by natural disasters.|
|Bodies responsible for ensuring the right to education|
|UNHCR, host governments, UNRWA for Palestinian refugees|
UNICEF for returnees (UNHCR 1997)
|Global legal frameworks and conventions|
|1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees|
|1998 UN Guiding Principles on IDPs (not legally binding)|
|1969 OAU convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa|
1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees
|2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention)|
|UNHCR/UNRWA||Responsibility of national governments, collected by national governments and humanitarian organisations (e.g. UNICEF), collated by IDMC|
|UNHCR, host governments, UNICEF, INGOs, NGOs, FBOs, UNRWA|
|National governments, FBOs, UNICEF, UNHCR, INGOs|
|Cluster (global and national), UN OCHA|
The educational trajectories experienced by displaced people are generally interrupted, diverted, and/or stalled (Dryden-Peterson 2015). Education is often planned as a temporary stop-gap measure in camps or urban settlements; yet the reality is that many individuals will remain displaced for a period equivalent to a complete schooling cycle. The likelihood that forcibly displaced peoples are able to develop key literacy, numeracy, socio-emotional, and vocational skills in makeshift learning environments is low. Individuals who do return ‘home’, or resettle in a new place, are often not prepared to (re)integrate into the formal schooling system, or do not have relevant or recognised education credentials, or face barriers to school participation, including the language of the curriculum, discrimination, past trauma, bullying, and exclusion (Dryden-Peterson 2015).
Table 2.3 compares refugees and IDPs according to global numbers, legal frameworks and bodies involved with the monitoring and provision of education. While there is a strong international legal framework for the protection of refugees’ right to education, and two UN bodies mandated to ensure that these rights are upheld, there is no equivalent legally binding agreement or set of UN structures dedicated to upholding the rights of IDPs.
The UNHCR was mandated in 1951 to collect and disseminate global statistics on refugees (UNHCR 2014c). Most countries (164 in 2014) report sex-disaggregated data on refugees. The availability of age-disaggregated data is more limited, with less than a third of UNHCR’s data disaggregated by age in 2014 (UNHCR 2014c).
The collection of data on IDPs is much more problematic. There is no single accepted definition of who counts as an IDP, nor any clear point at which they can be classed as having reached a durable solution. Because IDPs remain within their country, there may be no legal requirement to register as an IDP. Distribution of assistance may be an incentive to register, but this is often offset by a fear of misuse of data and of being associated with a party to the conflict. Political issues around the official acknowledgement of IDPs can also impact on national datasets. In general, comprehensive data sets do not exist (IDMC 2015a; 2015b). There is no equivalent body to the UNHCR in charge of supervising and maintaining data at field level. IDPs displaced by conflict are sometimes in areas of high insecurity that are inaccessible to humanitarian organisations.
The Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC’s) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) compiles data on IDPs (and refugees) collected by governments, international humanitarian and development organisations, NGOs and research institutes. The data are triangulated and validated with field visits and research by the IDMC, but ultimately they remain estimates and are not directly comparable country to country. In the early stages of an emergency, data on newly displaced people are reasonably well tracked, but as crises become protracted, and situations of displacement become complicated by returns and new rounds of displacement, the data collected often drops off and estimates on the number of IDPs become less accurate. Data disaggregated by age and sex are only available to IDMC in a minority (17 out of 60) of the countries that they monitor.
Table 2.4 shows the advantages and disadvantages of various data collection methods for measuring access to education for forcibly displaced people (see Appendix A for a broader discussion of the quality of the evidence in the studies used in this report).
Collecting data on refugees and IDPs in organised camps can be relatively straightforward, as the displaced people and the service providers are gathered together in one site. Surveys can be conducted amongst camp residents and data can be collected on the quantity and quality of education services provided. Nonetheless, in some situations, particularly in spontaneous camps and cases of IDP camps where the government may be implicated in the displacement, negotiating access to camps by outsiders can be difficult.
Table 2.4 Advantages and disadvantages of various data collection methods on access to education
|Data collection method||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|School administrative data|
(used for Education Management Information Systems)
|Large scale census / household survey|
(e.g. UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey)
|Rapid needs assessments|
However, the majority of refugees and IDPs live outside camps (UNHCR 2014c, IDMC 2015a). Collecting data on displaced people in private accommodation is difficult, as the displaced populations are often dispersed among the host populations. While refugees generally need to register to access local services, this is not always the case with IDPs, who may not be registered and may not wish to be identified as coming from conflict areas. It may be difficult to identify which, if any, education service providers are being accessed by displaced populations. Therefore much less is known about the numbers of displaced people living outside camps and their levels of access to and quality of education. In many cases, IDPs living outside camps are effectively ‘invisible’ from a data perspective (IDMC 2015a).
Many key international indicators are defined based on the children’s ages and official school ages. For example, net enrolment ratios (NER) refer to the enrolments of the official age group for any given level of education, expressed as a percentage of the population in that age group. However, age-disaggregated data are not available in the majority of cases of forced displacement, though for refugees the level of detail of age-disaggregated data available is increasing. When age data are not available, gross enrolment ratios (GER) are used instead, although these tend to overestimate enrolment, especially in the presence of overage children who have had their educational journeys disrupted by forced displacement (Dryden-Peterson 2015). These enrolment estimates may be further skewed because unregistered refugees and IDPs are often missing from the data. Thus, systematic data on education for refugees is very limited, and for IDPs even more so. Innovative approaches to data collection and monitoring are noted in section 5.10.
It can be challenging for national governments to interact with and coordinate the wide variety of actors offering support in situations of forced displacement. Lack of coordination can lead to duplication in some areas and gaps of provision elsewhere. Inconsistencies in implementation can become a source of tension (for example with different approaches to teacher incentives). However, there are a number of initiatives designed to overcome the challenge of coordination.
Founded in 2000, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) has over 12,000 individual members and 130 partner organisations in 170 countries. The network has developed multiple tools for working in education in emergency situations, and provides platforms for knowledge sharing, policy influence, and advocacy work. Tools include the INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response and Recovery, and the INEE Conflict Sensitive Education Pack. The INEE has commissioned a range of assessments and evaluations of the use, awareness, and impact of its Minimum Standards, including a number of country evaluations, and these are published on its website.
The Global Education Cluster was established in 2007 as a central coordination mechanism for the international community during humanitarian crises. It is co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children. In 2016 there were 21 active country-level clusters. The Cluster does not have a specific mandate to address refugee situations, but is actively involved in many IDP situations (see also Sect. 4.3).
No Lost Generation is a coordinated global response to the Syria conflict. It is a multi-agency initiative designed to put education and child protection at the centre of the international response. It supports education initiatives and protection initiatives for refugees in the region and conflict-affected groups inside Syria, including IDPs. Partners include UN agencies, bilateral donors, and international NGOs.
Figure 2.1 shows the percentage of humanitarian funds allocated to education between 2000 and 2014. As can be seen, the percentage of humanitarian aid allocated to education is erratic and has never gone above 5% as a global average. Support to refugee and IDP education constitutes only a portion of this funding. Education in situations of protracted displacement faces particular funding shortages due to the problem of donor fatigue (Oh 2012).
Recent years have seen the emergence of new global partnerships in education which have the potential to address at least part of the financing gap. Examples include the Global Business Coalition for Education, which has recently pledged to support Syrian refugees. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has developed new mechanisms through which national governments can apply for funds to support education in emergencies, including education for IDPs and refugees.
Case File: Chad
Chad joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in 2012. The GPE has shown a strong commitment to supporting education for refugees in Chad, in addition to education for national populations (GPE 2016a). The government applied to the GPE and received emergency funding of 6.95 million USD to address urgent education needs for refugee and returnee children in the Lake Chad region for 2016-2017. The funding will be used to support the construction of over 100 classrooms (permanent and temporary), wells and latrines, and to provide more than 60,000 textbooks and other school supplies, as well as school feeding for more than 8,500 children. More than 800 teachers will receive training. Micronutrients and parasite treatment will also be provided to students in the entire Lake Chad region. Finally, youth training programmes for more than 1,000 youth are currently being planned (GPE 2016b).
Figure 2.1 Percentage of humanitarian aid allocated to education (based on data from the OCHA Financial Tracking Service, available at: https://fts.unocha.org/pageloader.aspx?page=home)
In mid-2016 the Education Cannot Wait fund was launched, designed to generate political and financial commitment to meeting the education needs of children and young people affected by crisis. This is intended to be achieved through a high-level global partnership focused on improving the timeliness and sustainability of education responses in crisis settings. It will be initially hosted by UNICEF until a permanent host is identified. The initial framing paper for the fund was based on a thorough review of evidence (Nicolai et al. 2015) and it has been backed by strong political will so far.
 Research suggests that development-induced displacement (which tends to occur within national borders) affects more people than conflict-induced displacement and disproportionately affects indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, and the poor (Forced Migration Online 2012).
 Palestinian refugees who make up UNRWA’s entire caseload. See the definition of Palestinian refugee in table 2.1.
 ‘Caseload’ refers to the number of individuals/cases of concern to UNHCR and other partners working with forcibly displaced persons.
 ‘Returnees’ are discussed in the section on IDP education (Sect. 4.2.3).
 There is no universal legal instrument protecting the rights of IDPs. The Kampala Convention is a rare example of a regional instrument protecting IDP rights.
 UNESCO uses the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) age ranges for levels of schooling. These differ from country to country and in some cases differ from national definitions of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ school ages.
 The Global Partnership for Education was founded in 2002. It comprises 65 developing countries and more than 20 donor governments, as well as international organisations, the private sector, and foundations, teachers, and civil society/NGOs. The GPE works to develop effective and sustainable education systems, mobilise technical and financial resources, and ensure that those resources are coordinated and used efficiently.
 This work was underpinned by a two-phase international consultation exercise faciliated by INEE. Documentation can be found on the INEE website, http://www.ineesite.org/en/eie-global-consultation-phase-i and http://www.ineesite.org/en/eie-global-consultation-phase-ii.
The Refugee Crisis: At A Glance
- 21.3 million refugees and 3.2 asylum-seekers worldwide in 2015 (UNHCR 2015i)
- 14.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate
- 5.1 million Palestinian refugees under UNRWA’s mandate
- Over 85% of refugees are in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)
- Increasing numbers are seeking asylum in High Income Countries (HICs)
- In 2011, average time spent by refugees in displacement due to the 30 major protracted crises was 20 years (up from 9 years in the early 1990s) (Milner and Loescher 2011)
- In 2012, 75% of the international refugee caseload had been displaced for more than 5 years (UNHCR 2012)
The 2011 Global Review on Refugee Education found that access to education for refugees is “limited and uneven across regions and settings of displacement, and particularly at secondary levels and for girls.” According UNHCR’s Age, Gender, and Diversity: Accountability Report (UNHCR 2015b), approximately 3.2 million school-aged refugee children and adolescents are out of school. Refugee children and youth are often excluded from educational opportunities due to restrictive legal/policy frameworks, lack of necessary documentation, language barriers, limited educational institutions, discrimination, poverty and child labour (UNHCR 2015a). Access issues are often magnified for refugee children and youth who are female, have disabilities, have experienced trauma (including school-related gender-based violence), are separated, unaccompanied, or orphans, are associated with armed groups, are married or pregnant, are over-age, and/or belong to minority groups (UNHCR 2015c; see also UNHCR 2016h).
The quality of refugee education is generally low and uneven at all levels. Student–teacher ratios are on average quite high, leading to overcrowding and a disruptive learning environment (Dryden-Peterson 2015). Teaching capacity and support for educators is limited, leading to protection risks in schools (UNHCR 2015e). While the number of trained teachers is rising, it is still well below the UNHCR goal of 80% (Dryden-Peterson 2015). Inadequate teacher compensation also emerges as a significant problem in refugee education, and in education in emergencies more generally. Salaries have a dramatic impact on recruitment and retention of teachers, job satisfaction, teacher morale, and class size, all factors which ultimately impact the quality of educational provision (Dolan et al. 2012). As refugees often do not have the right to work, they may be compensated through a stipend rather than a salary proper, but such stipends are often inadequate.
Finally, protection and wellbeing concerns can limit refugee education. In many contexts community engagement and efforts to improve social cohesion are lacking, distances between home and school are large (which poses risks for children, especially girls, and female teachers), Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities are of poor quality and non-inclusive, and there is limited cultural understanding: these are further barriers to ensuring quality education for refugees (UNHCR 2015c).
These issues are explored in more depth below in terms of coordination, funding, access, quality, and protection and wellbeing. As noted by Thompson (2013), for many of the issues raised in this topic guide, the evidence base is quite limited. As a result, a range of literature has been reviewed, from formal scholarships to so-called ‘grey’ literature (such as reports, policy documents and briefs, evaluations, etc.). Appendix A provides a full discussion of the quality of evidence found in the sources used for this topic guide.
Education for refugees and asylum seekers in LMICs is the responsibility of the governments that have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention and/or 1967 Protocol, the UNHCR, and any organisations with a mandate to protect the rights of refugees to education. Education services for refugees are implemented through a range of Implementing Partners (IPs) and, where possible, in coordination with national ministries of education. In addition, refugee communities frequently initiate education programmes and interventions themselves, though often they are limited in their abilities to coordinate activities. Recent research suggests that networks of resettled refugee diaspora also support education for other refugees through remittances, advice, etc. (Lindley 2007, Dryden-Peterson and Dahya 2016).
Palestinian refugees are not included in the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, and do not come under UNHCR’s mandate. Education for Palestinian refugees is technically the shared responsibility of UNRWA, host governments (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, and West Bank), and a range of NGOs operating in the area, though the degree of coordination and provision varies significantly depending on the particular context.
Case File: Coordination of education response for Palestinian refugees
UNRWA’s education programme is its most significant programme, having been identified as a priority shortly after UNRWA’s inception and then set up through a partnership with UNESCO (World Bank 2014). The importance of schools and education for UNRWA and Palestinian refugees themselves is highlighted in a recent qualitative study: “Schools formed the nucleus of each and every refugee camp, the centre around which all other activities revolved. Education, vocational training, self-support, health care, and continued relief for the needy became the primary blueprint for UNRWA’s operations” (Shabaneh 2012). In addition, education makes up the largest budget item for UNRWA, at 59% of the budget in 2008, compared to 4% of the UNHCR budget in 2010 (Dryden-Peterson 2011).
UNRWA’s Education Programme is managed by the Unit for Administration and Governance at UNRWA Headquarters. UNRWA’s Department of Education provides guidance, policies, and support to its Education Officers, who traditionally have mostly been Palestinian (Shabaneh 2012). UNRWA trains all of its teachers and school administrators (who are mostly drawn from the Palestinian refugee community). It has created Education Development Centres, which act in similar ways to Boards of Education, supporting staff and curriculum development, providing a centralised bureaucracy and coordination mechanism for all academic activities, and creating a sense of cohesion across all of UNRWA’s five fields of operation (Shabaneh 2012). In total, UNRWA employs 21,924 educational staff, including officers, administrators, and teachers (UNRWA n.d.-c). The implementation of education is decentralised, with project/programme planning carried out over a fairly short period of time, and various components linked strategically through a common, harmonised results framework (World Bank 2014).
In 2011, the UNRWA education programme began a major four-year reform to meet the evolving demands of an education system in the twenty-first century (UNRWA 2011). The strategy was developed with consideration for the fluctuating nature of UNRWA’s external operating context, given that the organisation would be impacted by the ever-changing political, social, and economic climate of the region (UNRWA n.d.-b). (See Appendix D for a review of education provision for Palestinian refugees; see Appendix E for a list of key policy and strategy documents written as part of the 2011 Education Reform.)
In a recent World Bank study examining education in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan, it was found that UNRWA and public schools in these areas share a number of similarities as regards management: both have limited autonomy when it comes to budget, financing, and staffing (World Bank 2014). However, UNRWA has a world-class assessment system, and demonstrates higher levels of accountability than public schools. A number of NGOs and grassroots organisations have emerged in the region which fill gaps left by UNRWA due to lack of resources, notably in the areas of non-formal education, vocational education, disabilities, counselling, etc., but better cooperation is required between NGOs and UNRWA to ensure services are not duplicated (Demirdjian 2012b).
Waters and LeBlanc (2005) have suggested that in certain fragile contexts, international NGOs and multilateral organisations end up acting as ‘pseudo nation-states’, filling the role of the nation state in managing the provision of education services to refugees, with significant implications for coordination between different stakeholders. Coordination with nation-states has increased significantly since the adoption of the UNHCR Education Strategy 2012-2016. (For more detailed information about UNHCR and its Education Strategy, see Appendix C.) This strategy advocates the “integration of refugee learners within national systems where possible and appropriate and as guided by on-going consultation with refugees” (UNHCR 2012). While only 5 of 11 refugee-hosting priority countries integrated refugees in national systems in 2011, 11 of 14 had adopted this approach by 2014 (Dryden-Peterson 2015). Further, in 2011, UNHCR had no formal relationships with national ministries of education; by 2016, it had partnerships with MoEs in almost all the countries in which it works (Scowcroft 2016) – exceptions include Bangladesh, Burundi, Djibouti, Malaysia, and Tanzania.
Signatories to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol have the mandate to uphold the right to education for refugees, which means that the ministries of education in these countries are responsible for the coordination of refugee education in collaboration with other partners, as is the case in Kenya under the 2014 directive (Comprehensive Refugee Programme in Kenya Ad Hoc Group 2014). Yet education for refugees is dependent on the laws, policies, and practices in place in each national context. In many cases, the provision of refugee education aligns with Convention ratification, for example in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, where MoEs manage refugee education in collaboration with other stakeholders; and Rwanda, Cameroon, and Uganda, where MoEs are strongly engaged. In some cases countries that are not signatories do provide protection and education for refugees. A case in point is Jordan, which is not a signatory, but the Jordanian Government still chooses to refer to Syrians as refugees. UNHCR describes the Jordanian protection space as “generally favourable, although fragile owing to the country’s own socio-economic challenges,” and has drawn up a Memorandum of Understanding with the government (UNHCR 2016a). Further, there are other strategies employed by UNHCR and its implementing partners in negotiating work with refugees in countries that are not subject to the terms of the Convention, for example, by using the term ‘person of concern’ to refer to “A person whose protection and assistance needs are of interest to UNHCR” (UNHCR n.d.), which is both broader and less political than ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum-seeker’.
Case File: Coordination of education response for Syrian refugees
UNESCO reports that numerous education coordination mechanisms have been set up in countries neighbouring Syria which host large numbers of refugees, while in Syria a working group on education focusing on coordination is hosted by Save the Children (UNESCO 2015). High-level regional conferences have been held to discuss education of Syrian refugees; however, there is increasing recognition of the challenge of meeting the education needs of this diverse population, given country capacities and ongoing tensions (ibid.).
UNICEF, in partnership with the UK and others, is leading the development of the No Lost Generation strategy, which aims to address the Syrian education crisis (UNHCR 2016e). The challenge is compounded by the fact that refugee populations are constantly in flux and that host countries can become countries of origin and vice versa (and sometimes exist as both). Syria, for example, which hosts/hosted large numbers of refugees, including Palestinians, is now the largest source of refugees worldwide (Pecanha and Wallace 2015). In its 2011 Education Reform Strategy, UNRWA described Syria and Jordan as relatively stable, and as a place “where the Palestinian refugees enjoy a wide range of rights and opportunities”, compared with the “progressively more complex environments of Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza” (UNRWA 2011). This conflict in Syria serves as an important reminder that work with refugees requires both rigour and flexibility. Education remains under-financed despite pledges by many donors (UNESCO 2015). The table below summarises projected education financing needs for Syrian refugees of 2014.
Refugee education faces a significant financing gap, as part of wider global shortfalls for education in humanitarian response (see Sect. 2.7, Fig. 2.1). Figure 3.1 indicates the impact of these trends on UNHCR’s budgets, listing some of UNHCR’s most critical areas of unmet education in 2015; these are forecast to continue if budgetary shortfalls extend into 2016 (UNHCR 2016f). The ‘Prioritized’ column shows what UNHCR planned to achieve in 2015 with projected funding; the ‘Unmet’ column shows the needs UNHCR considers it has the capacity to address within the year, if the budget is fully funded. However, there is a strong risk that UNHCR – and other organisations working in refugee education – will fail to raise the required education budgets, without a reversal in current funding trends for refugee education.
Figure 3.1 Impact of funding shortfalls on education in 2015 (as of October 2015) (UNHCR 2016f, p. 20)
Enrolment rates for refugee children are well below rates for children globally at all levels of education. Given the disruptions they face, refugees who do enrol are generally behind their age-appropriate grade level. Data on access is difficult to collect, but, according to UNHCR (2015b):
- Only 1 in every 2 refugees accesses primary education
- Only 1 in every 4 refugees accesses secondary education
- Only 1 in every 100 refugees accesses higher education or skills-based education
There is wide variation in enrolment rates across LMICs, and access depends on refugee governance structures and asylum policies, which vary according to location and time (Dryden-Peterson 2011). For example, secondary school enrolment rates for refugees are notably low in Kenya and Pakistan at about 10%, and in Malaysia at less than 2% (Dryden-Peterson 2015).
Common barriers to access at all levels of education include shortage of school space, language barriers, curriculum, transport, parental (and learner) documentation, child labour, school fees, and security concerns (Culbertson and Constant 2015). Particular challenges for girls include pregnancy and/or marriage, and a lack of access to sanitation facilities. In camps where refugee-led educational interventions have emerged, there can be problems for incoming refugees who are from a different ethnic group and/or do not share a language with the refugees who initiated the interventions – for example in Thailand, where non-Karen speaking refugee learners (Karenni, Shan, Mon, Burman, Rakhine, Chin, etc.) were excluded from the Karen-dominated schools in the refugee camps (Oh 2012). In protracted crises there is a definite risk that a majority of children will not be able to access any form of education during their childhoods. In the Syrian case, for example, neighbouring countries felt unable to accept any more refugees into their already taxed education systems, and not in a position to support the displaced learners from Syria without additional resources. Finally, access to education for refugees and IDPs at all levels is under threat due to deliberate targeting of education institutions; many schools in Syria have ceased running, or have been turned into detention and torture centres or barracks (UNESCO 2015).
Access tends to be better for refugees at the primary level than at other levels of education, but significant barriers still remain. One key problem is a lack of availability of documentation. UNHCR (2015b) has found that many refugee children have problems obtaining a birth registration certificate, which hinders access to primary education and can also lead to statelessness.
A number of barriers have been identified that are specific to secondary education, including costs, distance, language, documentation (primary school leaving certificates and birth certificates), teaching and administrative capacity, low primary completion rates, cultural norms, and low priority given to secondary education on the international agenda (UNHCR 2015d).
There is a lack of rigorous research on the delivery of primary and secondary education at scale to refugee populations (Thompson 2013, Burde et al. 2015). Education access for refugees at these levels is usually attempted in one of three ways: (1) the opening of schools specifically for refugees (in refugee camps and increasingly in urban settlements); (2) mainstreaming into the host country’s public education system; or (3) community-based schools, initiated and supported by refugees themselves. Evidence of the effectiveness of opening schools for refugees in camps or tent settlements is mixed and mostly limited to observational studies (Burde et al. 2015). A 2004 UNESCO observational study involving qualitative interviews with nearly 100 individuals in Timor Leste found that schools in camp could accommodate a relatively large number of refugees, but because classes were unstructured and there was no assessment or grade progression, attendance was sporadic (and there was no certification of attendance) (Nicolai 2004). However, the same study revealed a number of barriers faced by refugees when instead attempting to access public schools in West Timor, including complicated enrolment processes, language barriers, and prohibitive school fees (ibid.). There has been a global shift towards the second of the three options – mainstreaming into national systems – and the limited available research suggests this approach has several major advantages compared with attempting to sustain parallel, informal, and/or alternative education over time. Advantages include accountability, standardisation, and recognised certification of educational opportunities.
Case File: Mainstreaming primary and secondary education for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey
The reality for many LMICs is that their public institutions, including schools, are not equipped to deal with large influxes of people. A case in point is Lebanon, which has recently received more than 1.2 million Syrians (Abla et al. 2015). Other countries in the region, including Jordan and Turkey, have also found their public service sectors overstretched, and despite what has been described as “remarkable generosity” on the part of the governments and citizens of these countries, tensions are on the rise in areas with high concentrations of refugees, bringing concerns for security and social cohesion (Culbertson and Constant 2015). Pressure on existing systems and institutions and dwindling resources in both camps and mainstream schools have meant the introduction of double shifting. Burde et al. (2015) remark that the evidence on the effectiveness of this strategy is limited and mixed. One recent (unpublished) ethnographic study on education for Syrian refugees in Turkey revealed that while double shifting in public schools may increase access from a purely numerical point of view, issues around quality, instability, teacher turnover, and conflict with students and staff from regular school hours persist, which may lead to a decrease in attendance and an increase in drop out among refugees (Burde et al. 2015).
According to another recent study, fewer than 107,000 Syrian children in Lebanon (25% of the school-aged Syrian refugee population currently hosted there) have been able to access formal public education (Abla et al. 2015). The Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education works with the UNHCR to integrate Syrians into public schools. Double shifting has been an increasingly popular strategy in Lebanon, with 62,000 students attending second-shift schools across 156 Lebanese schools in 2014-2015, compared with fewer than 43,000 in the regular first shift (ibid.). In 2016, 160 of Lebanon’s 1350 public schools are operating a morning shift (majority Lebanese) and an afternoon shift (mostly Syrian refugees), taught by Lebanese teachers (who often teach both shifts) (Dryden-Peterson and Adelman 2016). While the introduction of second shifts at schools may have allowed more students to enrol, this strategy can have a negative impact on quality, particularly if it involves the same teachers and/or a lack of adequate resources (Burde et al. 2015). Ongoing research suggests that refugees who participate in second shifts can feel alienated, which may contribute to low attendance and eventual drop-out (Dryden-Peterson and Adelman 2016). Education quality is discussed in more detail in section 3.5.
Case File: Primary and secondary education access for Palestinian refugees
School enrolment among Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) is generally quite high. By the end of 2013, 1,151,702 students were enrolled, including 1,009,639 at the basic level (grades 1-10) and 142,063 at the secondary level (grades 11-12), representing a majority of the basic and secondary school-age population (UNDP 2014). Further, gender parity is relatively high, with comparable proportions of girls and boys enrolled at the basic level (though more boys attend secondary school) (ibid.). UNRWA is a key education provider for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, West Bank, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, operating 677 elementary and preparatory schools in its five areas of operation, and eight secondary schools in Lebanon, accounting for free education access for around 500,000 of the total Palestinian students currently enrolled in formal education (UNRWA n.d.-c). It maintains gender parity, a benchmark first achieved in the 1960s.
UNRWA has traditionally focused on the provision of primary education, with secondary school age students accessing local host government schools with the exception of Lebanon. As a result, educational access at the secondary level is therefore more limited than at the primary level for all Palestinian refugees.
The Lebanon Office has taken a special interest in inclusive education and is currently piloting the Special People Special Focus project, with other UNRWA departments and NGOs. Further, EU support has allowed UNRWA to offer two other projects in Lebanon with inclusive education components:
- Adapting schools to be accessible for students with disabilities (implementing American University of Beirut survey recommendations)
- Recruiting a group of psychologists and psychiatrists to support schools in identifying and responding to the diverse psychosocial needs of students
While Palestinian refugees’ literacy and levels of educational attainment are among the highest in the Middle East region, there are problems related to access. One major problem is space. In 2010 in Lebanon, there were only 75 UNRWA schools supporting 32,892 students, resulting in overcrowded classrooms and a multiple-shift system with shortened teaching sessions (Demirdjian 2012b). Meanwhile, “Years of underfunding have left the education system in Gaza overstretched, with 94 per cent of schools operating on a double-shift basis, hosting one ‘school’ of students in the morning and a different group in the afternoon. As a result, children’s education is severely truncated. In 2006 examinations, nearly 80 per cent of students failed mathematics, and more than 40 per cent failed Arabic” (UNRWA n.d.-a). Finally, due to the increasing instability in the MENA region as a whole (particularly Syria), and the ongoing tensions and conflict between Israel and the OPT, it is challenging for schools to remain open and/or for children to safely access education (Shapland 2016). A recent report documents how Palestinian schools have been targeted for attacks (GCPEA 2014). (See also Appendix D on UNRWA and education for Palestinian refugees.)
3.4.2 Higher education
Crea and McFarland (2015) found that while access to education for refugees is limited at all levels, opportunities for higher education are particularly lacking. Higher education has subsequently become an emerging priority for the international community.
One established strategy for increasing access to higher education for refugees is through the provision of scholarships. This strategy has been in place since 1992 through the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI) programme, which is run by UNHCR (UNHCR 2016b). In 2014, over 2,240 DAFI scholarship students were enrolled in universities and colleges in 41 countries of asylum (ibid.). A 2007 evaluation of DAFI found it to be successful in improving enrolment, including female enrolment, which stabilised in recent years at over 40% from a low of 23% in 1992 (Morlang and Watson 2007). Further, 75% of the DAFI graduates who replied to a questionnaire had received a bachelor’s degree, and 8% were continuing studies with other funding. Research suggests that most DAFI scholars return to their country of origin, finding employment in NGOs and other UN agencies (Demirdjian 2012a). However, scholarship-winners tend to form a relatively small group; in addition, some research has pointed to the relationship between increased inequality of educational opportunity and the increased likelihood of renewed conflict (Milton and Barakat forthcoming).
Other more recent strategies include the use of ICT to bring higher education to refugee camps. Two examples include the InZone Higher Education initiative, and the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) initiative, which both currently run out of camps in Kenya.
Case File: Higher education access for Palestinian refugees
UNRWA serves 2,100 students in two educational science and arts faculties and teacher training institutes (one in the West Bank and one in Jordan). However, as there is an emphasis on teaching as a profession, it is difficult for Palestinians to access higher education opportunities leading to other career paths. Jordan provides university education in teaching, Arabic, and English to about 1,200 students through the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Arts, and was planning to introduce geography as a fourth subject in 2013/2014 (UNRWA website). Further, UNRWA is developing a scholarship and stipend programme. To ensure sustainability, upon completing their studies, study fellows serve at UNRWA schools for twice the period of their study, helping students to access further education and supporting UNRWA by filling vacant posts in high-demand subjects. They are also planning to start a postgraduate scholarship programme to ensure sustainability of faculty teaching staff. Higher education is viewed as a priority by households in the OPT, with enrolment of students in higher education increasing by 940% between 1993 and 2011 (UNDP 2014). There are 53 accredited post-secondary institutions (34 in the West Bank, 18 in Gaza, and one open university), which include 14 traditional universities, 18 university colleges, and 27 community colleges, offering over 300 fields of study (ibid.). Over half the students are women. In refugee camps and rural areas, higher degrees (Masters and PhDs) are less common. There are also eight vocational training centres (in West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon), serving 7,000 Palestinian refugees.
 Of course, many other careers remain out of reach for Palestinians, who still face enormous barriers to their integration in host countries, and no real prospects to ‘return home’.
 It is not clear from the website whether or not this discipline was introduced at that time.
There is very little research on Early Childhood Development (ECD) or Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in refugee education. The 2011 Global Review specifically mentions that it does not look at ECD. This problem is not limited to refugee contexts: the international community as a whole has been slow to draft national strategies for ECD. The UNHCR Education Strategy 2012-2016 set a goal for itself and its partners to “Enable early childhood education for 500,000 children aged 3 to 5” (UNHCR 2012, p. 8), though research suggests that even where there is a strong national commitment to ECCE, correlative gains for refugees are limited. For example, in Thailand, a study found that only 55% of non-Thai migrant and refugee children attend ECCE programmes, compared with 93% of Thai children (Shaeffer 2015, in UNESCO 2015). Similarly, few Palestinian families can afford quality preschool, and in 2010-11 only 85,200 children (38%) were enrolled in preschool in the OPT (ANERA 2014), though this is higher than the rate for the MENA region as a whole (20%) (UNDP 2014). However, according to UNRWA (2011), Jordan is currently developing its ECD sector as a result of international investment, which has potential to increase access to ECD for Palestinian refugees living in Jordan.
The issue of education quality has increasingly become a global priority. While access significantly improved between 1990 and 2015, many students who had been in school for four to five years had still not acquired basic literacy (UNESCO 2015). Subsequently, the international community has adopted a goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” as SDG 4 in the sustainable development agenda (UN 2016).
Increase in education access for refugees often comes at the cost of quality (Dryden-Peterson 2011). This is particularly evident where there is a choice between educating refugees in camp schools versus national mainstream schools: refugee camp schools may have spaces available, but they often lack a qualified teaching force; national schools, on the other hand, present access challenges associated with high costs and non-mother-tongue instruction leading to grade repetition (Dryden-Peterson 2003). Such is the importance of quality that UNHCR focused on learning in its latest Education Strategy 2012-2016.
Case File: UNRWA schools outperform public schools
The World Bank found that in 2007, UNRWA students outperformed students attending public schools by over a year’s worth of learning in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assessment, a finding which held for Jordan as well. In 2011, there were declines in TIMSS scores in both UNRWA and public schools; however, UNRWA schools showed a significant student performance advantage (World Bank 2014). Consequently, the World Bank carried out a mixed-methods study to determine how UNRWA schools in West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan continually and consistently outperform public schools. The report revealed a counterintuitive finding: While the education literature has demonstrated that socioeconomic status (SES) and parental education are highly associated with performance, UNRWA students outperform public school peers in spite of their SES disadvantages. Key factors that help to explain this finding include higher student self-confidence, and higher levels of parental support and involvement in educational activities. The report also found that a number of teacher factors contributed to the overall quality of education in UNRWA schools. Given the increasing instability in Syria, and the difficult conditions in Lebanon, it is likely that UNRWA schools will struggle to maintain educational quality in these contexts. Further, the World Bank has acknowledged that standards have been falling over the past few years. In other words, it is important to try to isolate the key factors that have contributed to educational quality and to determine pathways through which quality can be maximised. This is particularly important given the findings from a recent UNDP finding that overall academic achievement in the Arab region is lower than expected (given its average GDP), and that the achievement of UNRWA students should in fact be higher, given the relatively consistent support of the system over decades (UNDP 2014). Finally, UNRWA’s focus is on primary schooling (Demirdjian 2012b), so lessons learned have to be contextualised for early years and secondary school settings. (See Appendix D on education for Palestinian refugees.)
Education quality can be considered across three key interrelated dimensions of education: (1) curriculum (what is taught), (2) pedagogy (how it is taught), and (3) assessment (how teaching and learning is measured) (Wyse, Hayward and Pandya 2015). These dimensions are discussed below in more detail, in relation to refugee education.
A key question concerns whether refugees should follow the curriculum of the host country or their country of origin. On the one hand, voluntarily returning to the country of origin is generally considered to be the preferred durable solution (as set out by the UNHCR), which would suggest that the country of origin curriculum should be taught. On the other hand, the reality is that the average time refugees spend in displacement is longer than a completed cycle of schooling (primary and secondary), which would suggest that it is better to teach the host country curriculum. At the heart of this curriculum paradox is a complex problem: how to ensure that what refugees learn is meaningful, and linked to officially recognised forms of accreditation and certification. A recent trend has been towards integration/mainstreaming into stable national systems (and consequently use of the host country curriculum), as the education is perceived to be of higher quality there than in camp schools. Further, an increasing number of educators and organisations are attempting to “enrich” the curriculum, by bringing in elements from the country of origin curricula to teach alongside host country curricula (and vice versa), and including supplementary curricula on human rights, life skills, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, etc. (INEE 2010).
Curriculum is a contested term in educational research. Some define it narrowly, as the plan or syllabus followed by teachers for a given course of study; others define it broadly, as everything that is learned in an educational context, be it intentional or unintentional, explicit or implicit (Moore 2014). Questions around selection of content can be politically charged, and have important implications for what refugees learn. For example, if no mother tongue curriculum materials are available, young refugee learners find it difficult to learn basic literacy and numeracy, and also come to believe that their language is not as valued as the language of instruction. In other words, alongside academic knowledge and skills, the curriculum also transmits to children lessons about social structures and power relations (Dryden-Peterson 2015, p. 12). For this reason, the INEE Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning and additional materials on conflict-sensitive education highlight the importance of “context-specific curriculum choices” (INEE 2010, p. 1).
Dryden-Peterson (2015) traces the educational histories of learners from the DRC in Uganda and Burundi, Somali refugees in Kenya, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Malaysia, and Syrian refugees in Egypt before their resettlement to the United States. One major barrier faced by many refugees is curriculum language and language learning. There will rarely been a single language in common within a class of refugees, meaning that instructional content has to be translated multiple times, impeding educational progress. As an added complication, both the UNHCR’s and host countries’ policies on whether to teach children in host country or origin country language have changed over time. At the local level, this has meant that many students are exposed to different languages but are not supported to attain mastery of any of them. In some situations, language is not as much of a problem, for example for Congolese refugees in Rwanda, and Somali refugees in the Somali region of Ethiopia. There are also examples of attempts to address language of instruction problems, for example in Turkey, where informal Turkish language courses are held for refugees at Public Training Centres (Bircan and Sunata 2015). Another example is described by UNHCR Chad (2015) which carried out a participatory assessment among Sudanese refugees in 12 camps in 2012 on transitioning to the Chadian system, and as a result worked with the Government of Chad to adopt the bilingual national curriculum (French and Arabic) for use with Sudanese refugees, without compromising the language of instruction the refugees were used to, and to train teachers. Finally, it is worth recalling that barriers to language acquisition vary from individual to individual, depending on age, academic level, opportunities for practice, etc.
Regardless of the quality of the curriculum, if teachers lack the pedagogical capacity to implement that curriculum, the quality of the learning experience will suffer.
Dryden-Peterson (2015) found that national resources for teaching in LMICs are limited, as reflected in high student–teacher ratios and low-level teaching qualifications. This means that national systems are often below current UNHCR standards. However, these trends vary strongly according to context; for example, student–teacher ratios ranged from 18:1 in Ghana to 70:1 in Pakistan according to 2009 data (Dryden-Peterson 2015), while the proportion of trained teachers ranged from 0% in Djibouti to 100% in Eritrea (ibid.).
There is limited research on teachers of refugees specifically in LMICs. According to the Commonwealth Secretariat (2013), in Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, and Uganda, teachers of refugees were under-qualified and did not have sufficient experience. While there has been a global rise in the percentage of professionally qualified teachers overall, according to UNHCR data this trend is uneven for teachers of refugees, with some areas showing no or little progress.
Case File: Teachers’ self-image in Ethiopia and Afghanistan
As early as 2002, as part of an internal evaluation, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) identified teacher training as the highest priority for improving the quality of its education programme (Winthrop and Kirk 2005). Their research from Ethiopia and Afghanistan revealed that 92% of teachers in Ethiopia and 75% of teachers in Afghanistan did not see themselves as real teachers, which had major impacts on their confidence levels. While in-service training in Ethiopia helped teachers to function fairly effectively, teachers felt that they could not be good teachers until they had completed their own education (even if they had received in-service training). Women, in particular, were very aware of their own limitations and lacked confidence in their own abilities. Teachers’ self-image plays a key role in productive pedagogies, and hence quality education, and must therefore be taken into account in designing teacher education.
This lack of trained teachers is reflected in poor learning outcomes for refugees. For example, in NGO-run and community-based secondary schools for Chin and Afghan refugees in Malaysia, refugee teachers were unable to effectively teach the Malaysian curriculum, because of issues with training and inadequate support (Rahman 2011 in Dryden-Peterson 2011). Research shows that teachers of refugees commonly find it difficult to implement instruction and to build inclusive classroom environments, and end up using teacher-centred rather than learner-centred methodologies; quality pedagogy is constrained by factors including limited resources (low funding, overcrowding, and lack of educational materials), a lack of pedagogical training and content knowledge, and curriculum and language policies (Mendenhall et al. 2015).
Case File: Quality teaching in UNRWA Schools
UNRWA began working on a Teacher Policy in 2011, and it was released in 2013 (UNRWA 2013). The policy recognises the key role of teachers in ensuring quality education, and attempts to support teachers in the classroom, as well as through ongoing professional development and motivating career opportunities. This policy is supported by the School Based Teacher Development (SBTD) programme of continuous professional development, launched in 2012.
The World Bank (2014) found that UNRWA students outperformed students educated in public schools by teachers with the same years of service and degrees, and that this was due to the following factors:
- UNRWA is able to attract and recruit high quality teachers, through their own (free) teachers’ colleges which guarantee employment upon successful completion
- UNRWA teachers are given clear expectations and guidance on how to use time effectively in classrooms and waste less time in schools. For example, in Jordan, UNRWA teachers spent 90% of their working time teaching, compared with less than 60% at public schools
- UNRWA schools have more mandated opportunities for CPD and orientation for teachers than their public counterparts
- UNRWA teachers are supported by qualified and experienced principals/head teachers
- UNRWA teachers exhibit more confidence, are able to use a more diverse range of teaching methods, and rely more on interactive learning activities, discussions, and assignments than their public school counterparts
- As UNRWA teachers come from the same at-risk population as the students themselves, they have shared experiences with the students that allow them to serve as role models and more effectively provide psychosocial support and address learning needs.
However, as successful as UNRWA has been in teacher professional development and ongoing support, overcrowding and multiple shifts have had significant impacts on teachers’ ability to do their jobs well. Working double shifts can be exhausting, and with more students in their classes, teachers find themselves paying attention to the highest-achieving students, with insufficient time to help students prepare for key exams (Demirdjian 2012a). (See Appendix D on education for Palestinian refugees.)
 The programme focuses on developing active pedagogies, learning focused classroom practices, assessment for quality learning, the teacher’s role in promoting literacy and numeracy, the inclusive approach to teaching and learning, and engaging parents in raising achievement (UNRWA 2012). Currently, there are no scholarly studies on the effectiveness of the SBTD programme.
Teacher retention and motivation is difficult to maintain in these types of contexts. A number of initiatives, guidelines and toolkits have been developed as a response, including:
- The IRC Healing Classrooms Initiative
- The 2009 INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation in Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and Post-Crisis Recovery
- The INEE 2010 Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning.
- The UNHCR 2015 Policy Brief on Refugee Teacher Management
Section 4.6 provides an extended discussion of IDP teacher recruitment, training, compensation, and wellbeing, which is also relevant to refugee teachers; section 5.7 provides examples of current innovations and innovations on building teacher capacity and wellbeing.
In addition to problems of weakness in ongoing informal assessment (i.e. assessment carried out by the teacher day-to-day to ensure learning is taking place), refugees face a number of challenges concerning assessment. These include a lack of access to formal assessment opportunities such as national examinations, a lack of recognition of certain credentials and qualifications, and no recognition of prior learning (Kirk 2009). Refugees themselves prioritise the need for official recognition of their qualifications (Dippo 2016). A recent study of refugees in Thailand shows that while the education provided through refugee camps in Thailand was perceived to be higher quality than in Myanmar, it was only seen to hold currency within the refugee context, and the education was not accredited (Oh 2012).
Case File: Accreditation and certification for Syrian children in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey
Lebanon allows Syrian students to sit for both end-of-year and official leaving examinations if they can provide proof of identity (UNICEF 2015b). However, problems with documentation, including equivalence of transcripts, etc., and a reluctance to allow school standards to slip has led to some barriers for Syrian refugees in accessing Lebanese assessment systems.
According to the same UNICEF study, in Jordan, any students who pass the Grade 12 examination are entitled to receive a diploma that is officially recognised and accredited, regardless of the child’s nationality (and therefore refugee status), and can use that diploma to apply for university. However, there was no Grade 12 open for Syrian children in Za’atari camp during 2012-13, and no Syrians could enrol in Grade 12 in host communities. Syrian students sat the Grade 12 examination for the first time in 2014.
In Iraq, Syrian refugees who submit school records on time and have reached their final year are allowed to sit the national examination and receive the same certificates as Iraqi students. In 2013, in parts of Iraq with a high concentration of Syrian students, there was a very low success rate in examinations among both boys and girls. The Kurdistan Regional Government faces an issue with certification of the revised Syrian curriculum, but the MoE noted in 2014 that they would provide all Syrian children with official certificates, regardless of the curriculum followed.
In public schools in Turkey, Syrian refugees follow the Turkish learning assessment system. At the end of Grade 8, students sit an examination and are awarded a primary education diploma, which allows them to progress to secondary school. At the end of Grade 12, students sit a school-leaving examination, which leads to a secondary school certificate, allowing them to leave the system or progress to higher and further education opportunities in Turkey or other countries. However, as there are only limited numbers of Syrian students enrolled in Turkish schools, and therefore eligible to receive a national diploma/certificate, the issue of certification is an urgent priority. The Turkish MoE started providing attendance certificates to Syrian students (Grade 1 through 12) beginning in 2012/2013, and at the end of 2014 Syrian students attending temporary education centres received school reports from the MoE. To further complicate matters, there are many unregistered schools in host communities in Turkey, and while several of these provide their own certificates, these are not recognised by the MoE.
UNRWA’s “world class” assessment system has been identified as a key factor in their strong performance. As part of their orientation, new UNRWA teachers are trained to assess student achievement. All major examinations are prepared at the central UNRWA level and implemented in common across all UNRWA schools, and overall assessment data is monitored by UNRWA policymakers. UNRWA schools take part in national and international assessments, and results are usually shared with families of students. There is a high degree of accountability in the assessment mechanism, with parents, local governments, and society held accountable for education outcomes.
Much research has been undertaken on the protective dimension of education in itself, as well as its ability to act as a delivery platform for medical attention, mental health interventions and psychosocial support. Notably, education can equip children with specific skills and knowledge to protect themselves from the risks associated with displacement (including health risks, gender-based violence, land mines; see for example No Lost Generation 2016), and literacy itself can entail improved health outcomes (Winthrop and Matsui 2013). However, it has also been argued that education of low quality (i.e. where high-quality teaching and learning is not prioritised) loses its protective quality (Dryden-Peterson 2011).
Case File: IRC Healing Classrooms Initiative
As a result of an internal evaluation of its education programmes in 2002, the IRC launched an initiative called Healing Classrooms, which aimed to research teachers’ and students’ experiences in school and their perceptions of teaching and learning in order to inform teacher development for student wellbeing (Winthrop and Kirk 2005). While the IRC includes psychosocial teacher training as a separate module in in-service pedagogy and classroom management training, and individual interviews with teachers in Ethiopia revealed that they had understood and retained lessons from the training, classroom observations revealed little evidence of teachers being able to integrate their learning into their day-to-day pedagogy. This research suggests that stand-alone models of psychosocial training may not be an effective approach, and that it may be better to integrate psychosocial concepts (without naming them psychosocial) into teacher education programmes as a whole.
The IRC also introduced a programme of training and deploying female classroom assistants (CAs) in refugee schools in Guinea and Sierra Leone, who were initially active in Grade 3 to 6 classrooms (Winthrop and Kirk 2005). Their mandate was to support a girl-friendly school environment, and they were charged with monitoring attendance, helping girls with studies, supporting health education and social club activities, and minimising situations where teachers were able to exploit girls for sex.
However, education can also carry a risk of negatively impacting on a child’s well-being or safety. Although being in education can in itself protect children (Winthrop and Matsui 2013), schools and other educational interventions can themselves be sites of violence or targets for attack. Attacks on Palestinian schools are increasing, with corresponding exposure of children, their families, and educators to violence (GCPEA 2014). At the same time, teachers who lack adequate training may resort to corporal punishment to maintain classroom discipline, and can contribute to a culture of violence at schools, including exploitation, abuse and bullying.
Given the levels of potential or actual violence to which refugee children are exposed, it is important to consider psychosocial factors when addressing their education needs. There is a recognised need for more research exploring the differences between girls and boys as regards their psychosocial responses in emergency settings and the impact this has on education (Burde et al. 2015). For example, an observational study examining a Serbian community-based Youth Clubs programme found higher levels of trauma reported by both refugee and non-refugee girls than their male counterparts (Ispanovic-Radojkovic 2003). However, in an epidemiological study aiming to establish the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among 1425 Somali and Rwandese refugees in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda in 2003, it was found that gender was not a uniform factor across cultures in terms of prevalence of PTSD and depression (Onyut et al. 2009).
After the 2014 conflict in Gaza, UNRWA attempted to restore a basic level of normalcy through a ‘Back to School’ approach (UNRWA Education Department 2015). ‘Return to school’ is often prioritised by communities and practitioners because schooling is believed to have a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Shah (2015a), however, reports that educational quality is being undermined for Palestinian refugees: most schools in Gaza operate on double or triple shifts, with high student–teacher ratios and reduced class hours; in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, teaching is under-remunerated and under-resourced, leading to low motivation among educators. Under such circumstances, the benefits of a return to school may be minimal.
A number of studies suggest that consistent exposure to structural violence, inequality, and injustice may undermine any psychosocial benefits, particularly in the long term, even where educational and psychosocial interventions are of a reasonable quality. A recent study by the Better Learning Programme (BLP), supported by the NRC, and the Eye to the Future Programme (E2F), administered by CARE International, found that while education programmes may deliver short-term benefits, including a new state of normalcy and some resilience, this may be ineffective or even counter-productive in the long-term. Appendix A provides a discussion of the quality of evidence available on the effectiveness of psychological interventions for children with posttraumatic stress disorder.
Research on psychosocial interventions in Gaza
A controlled clinical trial (CCT) evaluated the short-term impact of a group crisis intervention for children aged 9-15 years from five refugee camps in Gaza (Thabet, Vostanis and Karim 2005). 47 children were allocated to the group intervention, encouraging expression of emotions and experiences through numerous activities, including storytelling, drawing, and free play; 22 children were allocated to education about symptoms; and 42 children were allocated to a control group. No significant impact of the intervention on children’s posttraumatic or depressive symptoms was established. One explanation suggested by the authors is that children’s exposure to continuous direct violence and indirect trauma may sustain stress reactions despite treatment.
A recent rigorous randomised evaluation conducted with Palestinian children aged 10-13 suggests there may be a gendered dimension to the impact of psychosocial interventions. Punamäki et al. (2014) explored the effects of a “Teaching Recovery Techniques” psychosocial intervention on emotional regulation and found that while post-traumatic stress symptoms were reduced for boys in the study, they were reduced in only a subset of girls (girls who demonstrated lower levels of trauma at the baseline).
This review of the state of research, policy, and practice in refugee education has uncovered a number of gaps and challenges.
First, there is a gap in the research when it comes to understanding and responding to the protracted nature of refugee crises and to the individual and community educational trajectories and experiences of refugees. Robust longitudinal data on these trajectories and experiences are lacking. On a related note, there is a need for a strengthening of pathways for research to inform policy and practice by building partnerships and improving coordination between researchers, governments, IPs (Implementing Partners), NGOs, and affected communities.
Second, there is a gap in the evidence about increasing access to and beyond primary school and addressing lack of space. Since mainstreaming of refugees into national education systems has become a preferred option among key stakeholders, there is an urgent need for relevant and meaningful curriculum and assessment systems and a better understanding of how to meet specific learning needs, including those to do with language of instruction and assessment, disabilities, gender, and ethnicity.
Third, since education is thought to lose its protective dimension if it is of low quality, more research is required on how best to build teacher capacity, support teacher wellbeing, and facilitate compensation for teachers of refugees. The quality of UNRWA schools relative to other schools in the region has been attributed in part to UNRWA’s teacher training programmes and ongoing support mechanisms. However, standards in these schools are falling, thus there is an urgent need to determine how to recover and maintain the previous standards and how to transfer lessons learned from the Palestinian context to LMICs in general.
Fourth, since an increasing number of refugees go to urban settlements rather than camps, there is a need for more effective data collection with these urban populations, who are often not documented and/or are dispersed across contexts rather than grouped together in a camp setting.
Finally, given the increasingly protracted nature of refugee crises, more sophisticated funding mechanisms are required to respond to more immediate short-term educational needs and longer-term educational needs.
 LMICs that have not signed the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol include Guyana, Cuba, Western Sahara, Libya, Eritrea, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, U.A.E., Oman, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma/Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, North Korea, Mongolia, and the Solomon Islands. Madagascar is only party to the 1951 Convention. Venezuela is only party to the 1967 Protocol.
 Palestinian refugees living inside areas where UNRWA operates are excluded from the UNHCR Statute and protection according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which excludes persons receiving protection or assistance from other UN organs or agencies.
 While UNHCR does not have a mandate to protect Palestinian refugees, the 1951 Refugee Convention does mandate the ipso facto inclusion of Palestinians, should the protection or assistance from UNRWA cease for any reason.
 Statistic retrieved from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=5104
 Statistic retrieved from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=5112
 Statistic retrieved from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=5112
 Statistics retrieved from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=5001
 Statistics retrieved from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=5001
 This mirrors target 4.b of the SDGs, which calls for the international community to “By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries.” Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/sustainabledevelopmentgoals
 Another scholarship programme for refugee higher education is the World University Service of Canada.
 Of course, many other careers remain out of reach for Palestinians, who still face enormous barriers to their integration in host countries, and no real prospects to ‘return home’.
 It is not clear from the website whether or not this discipline was introduced at that time.
 The programme focuses on developing active pedagogies, learning focused classroom practices, assessment for quality learning, the teacher’s role in promoting literacy and numeracy, the inclusive approach to teaching and learning, and engaging parents in raising achievement (UNRWA 2012). Currently, there are no scholarly studies on the effectiveness of the SBTD programme.
 The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, an inter-agency coalition formed in 2010 to address the problem of targeted attacks on education during armed conflict, provides regular updates on the multiple threats to education (including refugee education).
Most forcibly displaced people remain within their national borders as IDPs. Their situation is often less visible to the international community than that of refugees. They legally remain under national laws, and do not come under the protection of international agreements covering refugees. Where the national government is unable or unwilling to provide social services, it can be difficult for IDPs to participate in education.
Global IDPs in 2014/15: At A Glance
- 40.8 million IDPs displaced by persecution, conflict, generalised violence, or human rights violations in 2015 (UNHCR 2016i)
- 19.3 million IDPs newly displaced by disasters in 2014 (IDMC 2015a)
- Forced displacement often lasts for many years, with IDPs living in displacement for 10 years or more in the majority of countries monitored by IDMC (IDMC 2015a)
Evidence from IDPs themselves indicates that education is often a high priority (Cohen 2008). However, it has tended to be a low priority for humanitarian actors, as demonstrated by the initial omission of education from the SPHERE handbook on the humanitarian charter and minimum standards in humanitarian response, and the very low share of humanitarian aid to education (see Sect. 2.7, Fig. 2.1). Nonetheless, the structures for improving humanitarian aid to education have improved, notably with the creation of an Education Cluster in 2007 and adoption of the INEE Minimum Standards for Education as a companion to the SPHERE guidelines in 2008 (Sphere Project and INEE 2009).
Education programmes in emergencies sometimes fail to take the specific needs of IDPs into account. An evaluation of UNICEF’s education programming in the Maldives following the tsunami found that no thorough situational analysis of IDPs had been undertaken and that they had some of the highest rates of dropout and absenteeism (UNICEF 2009). As noted in section 2.5, there is a lack of data on education for IDPs, especially for the vast majority of IDPs who do not live in camps. This lack of data is symptomatic of, and at the same time contributes to, the low priority accorded to the education of IDPs by national and international actors.
In 2014, five countries accounted for 60% of the global population of IDPs displaced by conflict: Syria (7.6 million), Colombia (6 million), Iraq (3.4 million), Sudan (3.1 million) and DRC (2.8 million). At least 35% of Syria’s population was living in displacement. Other countries with very large IDP populations relative to their size included South Sudan (1.5 million, equivalent to 12.5% of the population) and Somalia (1.1 million, equivalent to 10.5% of the population) (IDMC 2015a).
The sections below concern three groups of IDPs:
- IDPs living in camps (a minority, but the subject of the majority of the IDP literature)
- IDPs not living in camps (a majority, but the subject of a minority of the IDP literature)
- Returning populations, including returning former refugees, IDPs, and children associated with fighting forces
IDP camps or settlements may be planned by the authorities or may be self-settled. Self-settled camps tend to form around places that people associate with protection and assistance. For example, during an outbreak of violence in East Timor, many IDPs settled near international armed forces or around churches (Penson and Tomlinson 2009).
As with refugee camps, IDP camp residents are often provided with food rations; however, the distribution of these rations can inadvertently act as a barrier to education as collecting and transporting them is a common cause of absenteeism (Ferris and Winthrop 2010).
Education provision in camps may be limited to a few non-formal emergency education programmes such as Child Friendly Spaces (see Sect. 4.4.1). Primary and non-formal basic education may become established in longer-term camps, but camps often lack secondary schools. In an analysis of education for IDPs in camps in Darfur, it was noted that there were no secondary schools within camps, and it was almost impossible for camp residents to access secondary schools in towns due to the distance, insecurity, and school fees charged (WCWRC 2008). Another survey in Darfur found that only a minority of primary schools in IDP camps provided education up to grade 8, the last grade of primary. None of the camps had accelerated learning programmes (Lloyd et al. 2010).
The vast majority of IDPs live outside camps. Many live in private accommodation, either hosted by, or sited within local communities, or in some cases (for example in DRC and CAR) hiding in the bush (IDMC 2015a). In many cases, IDPs will go to live with friends, relatives, or clan members in safer parts of the country. For example, between 2008 and 2010, an estimated 3.3 million people were displaced by conflict in northwest Pakistan. Of these, 85 to 90% were accommodated in host communities (Ferris and Stark 2012).
IDPs living outside camp situations tend to remain an invisible group, even though they constitute the largest proportion of all forcibly displaced populations (IDMC 2015a). In contexts like Somalia, where groups are traditionally nomadic and have experienced protracted crises, distinguishing whether people are living in their current homes due to forced displacement, nomadic displacement, or urban migration becomes difficult, and is further complicated by the fact that targeting of humanitarian aid to IDPs may encourage self-identification as IDPs (Skeie 2012).
IDP families living outside camps often lack access to assistance to cover their basic needs, so may be reliant on child labour to generate income. They may experience discrimination, as reported by IDPs in Colombia, Azerbaijan, and Sudan (Cohen 2008), and may have concerns about their children attending schools in unfamiliar settings (Ferris and Winthrop 2010). However, it is not always the case that IDPs outside camps have less access to education than those within them. While they may receive less access and support from international humanitarian organisations, they may have better access to government schools or low-cost private schools. In Kurdistan, for example, the out-of-school rate in 2015 was higher in camps than for IDP children outside camps (UNICEF 2015a).
Returning populations can include refugees returning from exile, IDPs returning to their regions of origin, and demobilised children and adolescents formerly associated with fighting forces returning to their communities. Again, definitions and identification are complicated. In cases of secession, as with the independence of South Sudan in 2011, there may be an influx of former IDPs and other diaspora from other parts of the original country. When refugees return from protracted displacement they may not be able to return to and settle in their places of origin, and so become IDPs.
IDPs who return to their places of origin but fail to reintegrate or to access their basic rights have not achieved a durable solution as defined by the IASC’s Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons. Reintegration can be particularly difficult for ethnic minorities returning to their original ethnically heterogeneous places of origin following an ethnic conflict.
Case File: Curriculum exclusion in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, families who would face becoming minorities in their places of origin were much slower to return than those from the majority ethnic group. Following the war, the education system became highly fragmented, lacking any state-level central coordinating office. This contributed to an education system divided along ethnic lines, with local education systems operating distinct Bosniak, Croat, or Serb curricula. As a result, minority returnees found themselves culturally excluded from the curriculum of the majority in their places of origin (Bowder and Perry 2012).
The availability of education in the region of origin is often central to decisions by IDPs and refugees to return (Ferris and Winthrop 2010). In Peru, for example, IDPs were reluctant to return due to lack of education opportunities (Cohen 2008).
One common challenge faced by returnees, whether from outside the country or from IDP camps, is obtaining certification for learning during displacement (Kirk 2009). For example, returnees after the war in Sierra Leone were often required to repeat years of schooling because the courses that they had studied while in displacement were not recognised (Ferris and Winthrop 2010). Further, returnee teachers trained by NGOs in IDP camps (or those trained in exile while refugees) may also face a major barrier to employment on their return because their training and experience is often not recognised. The issue of teacher qualifications is discussed in more detail in section 3.5.2, and strategies to address certification issues are discussed in section 5.9.
For demobilised child soldiers, education is an important part of the reintegration process, as it provides social and emotional development as well as academic learning (Song and de Jong 2015).
The legal responsibility for provision of education to IDPs remains with the national government. Some countries have adopted legal frameworks to protect the rights of IDPs, but only a minority, and of these only a handful have laws or policies specifically addressing the needs of IDP children and youth. In some cases little progress has been made in putting these policies into practice (Smith Ellison and Smith 2012). Colombia is a rare example of a country with a large IDP population that has made significant progress in developing and implementing laws protecting IDPs’ rights, including the right to education. The state is bound by law to provide access to education for all IDP children between the ages of five and fifteen (Espinosa 2013). While the enrolment rate of IDP children in Colombia in 2007 was slightly below that of the general population, analysis of the pre-displacement data indicate that the IDP population had better access to education than they had previously had in their places of origin (Ferris and Winthrop 2011).
Ministries of Education have a central role in providing and coordinating support to education for IDPs. Although the capacity and political will to provide education for IDPs varies greatly from context to context, state-run schools are generally the primary provider of education for IDPs. Ministries of Education can support schools in host areas to accommodate IDP children through multi-shift schooling and building additional learning spaces, with support from the international community where necessary. States eligible for funding from the Global Partnership for Education can apply for accelerated funding to respond to crises, which can include support to IDP education. Ministries of Education can also facilitate access by relaxing requirements for IDP children to have the correct uniforms or documentation for enrolment, and through fee waivers. Reliance on or coordination with national governments can be problematic, however, especially where the government is the agent of displacement, or in areas outside of government control.
In the absence of education provision by the state, IDP communities often set up their own schools, sometimes supported by local faith-based organisations. Examples include southern Sudanese IDPs living in and around Khartoum (Sesnan 2012), IDP communities in the DRC and Pakistan (Watkins 2012), and schools set up by IDPs in camps in Liberia (Mooney and French 2005).
Despite the fact that many IDPs live in conditions of protracted displacement, international support for education for IDPs is generally treated as a short-term humanitarian response. Indeed, in Darfur in 2007 many international development donors said they were unable to support education at all, since this was a humanitarian situation (Penson and Tomlinson 2009). Within humanitarian funding, education tends to be a low priority and is difficult to procure funding for. In 2013, appeals for education made up only 3.2% of the total of humanitarian appeals, and less than 2% of actual funds received (Nicolai et al. 2015; see Fig. 2.1 in Sect. 2.7).
Since 1999 there has been increased coordination of support for education in emergencies (Winthrop and Matsui 2013). The Global Education Cluster was established in 2007 by the IASC to uphold education as a basic human right and a core component of humanitarian aid. In early 2016 there were active country education clusters in 21 countries (see Sect. 2.6). The cluster system has contributed to a greater inclusion of education in humanitarian response, and can facilitate better coordination with national governments. The Education Cluster Handbook recommends that where possible the national Ministry of Education act as co-lead for the country-level cluster.
A lessons-learned analysis of the education cluster response to the 2010 floods in Pakistan found that the cluster was widely recognised as a strong mechanism for coordination and created an effective “platform for partnership”. However, integration between the education cluster and other clusters was weak. This resulted in cases of duplication and missed opportunities for integrated programming with other sectors. The analysis also noted that there was scope for the education cluster to be more aggressive about fundraising (Alexander 2011). The cluster mechanism is designed around short-term humanitarian funding cycles and not well suited to addressing the longer-term education needs of protracted displacement situations (Mundy and Dryden-Peterson 2015).
UNICEF is the co-lead of the Global Education Cluster, alongside Save the Children, and has a long history of supporting education in humanitarian situations. It has also been chosen as the initial host of the Education Cannot Wait fund, a high-level global partnership formed to improve the education response in crisis settings (see Sect. 2.7). UNHCR does not have a mandate for supporting education of IDPs, but is increasingly active in this role. UNESCO’s role in providing operational support to IDP education is more limited, but it makes significant contributions to the global knowledge base and provides technical assistance to MoEs dealing with IDP issues (Ferris and Winthrop 2010). The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), established by the Norwegian Refugee Council in 1998, as well as providing the most comprehensive data set on IDPs, plays a strong advocacy and training role regarding the rights of IDPs (Smith Ellison and Smith 2012).
UNHCR has signed an MoU with UNICEF which has implications for returnees (UNHCR 1997). According to the MoU, UNICEF is given specific responsibilities and roles with regard to returnees in countries of origin, encapsulated in the statement of “a strong UNICEF commitment to facilitate the reintegration of returnee children and families into national programmes, in particular educational programmes and those related to the monitoring of unaccompanied returnee children.”
Case File: Coordination of education response for IDPs in Syria
In Syria there has been a relatively high level of coordination of efforts by humanitarian and development partners in service provision for IDPs, through the government-led Humanitarian Response Plan (No Lost Generation 2016). In order to facilitate the continued access to education for IDPs, the Ministry of Education has allowed students without documentation to register at any school (using placement tests to identify the appropriate grade of entry), suspended compulsory uniform policy, and organised an extra round of public examinations for children who missed the previous round. Children who have missed out on schooling can apply for accelerated or remedial courses. However, there is evidence that some overcrowded schools have refused admission to IDPs (UNICEF 2015b).
The Syria response illustrates how IDP communities and communities who have stayed put during a conflict often receive less international support than refugees. No Lost Generation is a multi-agency initiative designed to put education and child protection at the centre of the international response to the conflict in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis. In its 2015 update (No Lost Generation 2016), it estimates that there were 2.8 million internally displaced children and 2.1 million out-of-school children (aged 5-17) in Syria. By comparison, among the Syrian refugee population in neighbouring countries there were 2.3 million children and 700,000 out-of-school children (5-17). However, only a third of the No Lost Generation budget was assigned to programmes within the country, due to problems with delivering education support in a conflict zone. It has also been more difficult to raise funds for programmes within Syria.
It has been estimated that a substantial proportion of out-of-school children in emergency situations are IDPs (Mooney and French 2005), but the exact numbers remain unknown. In 2008 the IDMC identified 12 countries in which the majority of IDP children had no access to schooling (IDMC 2009). Access to education for IDPs is highly context-dependent.
Case File: Varied level of access to schools for IDPs in Nigeria
In Nigeria, IDPs’ access to education has varied from state to state. In Gombe state some IDP children were refused admission to schools. In Taraba state, schools were attacked and forced to close but others were open to IDPs. In Bauchi, IDPs were able to enrol in host schools but this has led to overcrowding. The timing of the displacement also impacts on access to education: IDPs arriving after the school year began were not able to enrol, so would miss, at minimum, a year of education (IDMC 2014).
IDPs face numerous barriers to accessing education. Mooney and French (2005), Smith Ellison and Smith (2012), Watkins (2012), and Cohen (2008) list the main barriers to accessing education experienced by IDPs. Some of the barriers experienced by IDPs are similar to those experienced by other conflict and crisis-affected populations, including refugees and those not displaced within the country of origin. These include barriers associated with the limited or poor quality supply of education, including:
- lack of infrastructure due to damage inflicted by the crisis, or stagnated educational development exacerbated by the crisis
- shortage of trained and qualified teachers
- unsafe journeys to and from school
- unsafe schools
Some barriers apply to non-displaced, conflict-affected groups in general, but are especially common as barriers for IDPs. These include factors relating to poverty and ill-health associated with crises. IDPs are more vulnerable to these barriers due to the loss of livelihood, home and possessions associated with forced displacement. These barriers include:
- school fees
- material requirements (pens, books, uniforms, transportation costs, etc.)
- economic responsibilities and the need for child labour
- psychosocial stress and trauma, malnourishment and ill health (including disabilities) limiting children’s capacity to learn
School fees are one of the most significant barriers for IDPs, whose circumstances often make them doubly vulnerable. Due to the general lack of public schooling available for IDPs, frequently their only option is schools run by non-state providers, i.e. communities, faith-based organisations, and NGOs. These schools often need to charge fees to cover recurrent costs (mainly teacher salaries/incentives), but IDPs are generally the least able to pay these fees. This situation has been noted in DRC, Chad, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Afghanistan (Watkins 2012). In contexts where IDPs access local public schools, there may often also be fees, or other charges including for uniforms and teacher salary top-ups. Transportation costs can also be a barrier.
Some barriers arise as a direct result of sudden and forced relocation to a new, unfamiliar area, and are particular to IDPs:
- lack of education providers within or near camps and other IDP settlements
- loss of documentation
- inability to meet residency requirements for school enrolment
- language barriers (e.g. for IDPs from minority language groups displaced to majority language host communities or refugee returnees from protracted displacement, where schooling had been in the language of the country of exile)
Female IDPs are often more affected by the barriers listed above, and face additional barriers to accessing education (Skeie 2012). These include:
- fear of gender-based violence in and on the way to schools
- cultural restrictions on girls’ freedom of movement
- lack of female teachers and girls’ toilets in schools
- early marriage and childbearing
- lack of access to sanitary supplies for menstrual management
Mooney and French (2005) list a number of strategies for bridging the education gap for IDP children, including:
- rapid response education interventions such as “school in a box” for providing education at the early stages of an emergency
- hiring IDP teachers, especially female teachers, to teach in IDP camps
- issuing IDPs with temporary documentation
- school feeding programmes
- providing alternative education classes
- improved monitoring and reporting of the availability of fee-free education and of national and international funds supporting IDP education
From their extensive systematic review of the literature, Burde et al. (2015) concluded that more research was needed on the best way to rapidly expand access to large numbers of displaced children. Evidence on camp schools was mixed and mainly from observational studies.
Two very common approaches to providing basic education in emergency situations where children cannot access national schools are Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) and School in a Box. Penson and Tomlinson (2009) researched these interventions in a range of conflict contexts with large numbers of IDPs, including Darfur and Timor Leste.
There are a variety of conceptions and models of Child Friendly Spaces used by different agencies, but in general they are spaces that are developed, with community participation, with activities to help protect children through structured learning, play, psychosocial support, and access to basic services. In some cases they have been implemented as an education intervention in coordination with child protection. In other cases they are implemented primarily for child protection with limited, if any, explicit education elements (Penson and Tomlinson 2009, Metzler et al. 2015). They often target younger children, and while some are open to a wide range of age groups, they are generally more effective for younger children (Metzler et al. 2015).
In a wide range of IDP contexts it has been noted that while humanitarian agencies have concentrated resources on supporting Child Friendly Spaces, IDP children and families have voiced that they would prefer opportunities to study, and prefer formal education activities over structured play and non-formal education. This preference was noted by Penson and Tomlinson (2009) in Darfur and Timor Leste, by Kirk (2009) among Chechen IDPs in Ingushetia, and by Cohen (2008) in Sri Lanka. In Darfur, the Child Friendly Spaces were so unpopular with children that staff spoke about the need to give them treats to attract them and to “encourage the children not to escape”. One of the reasons why Child Friendly Spaces have continued to be such a common response is that child protection is seen as easier to raise funding for than education (Penson and Tomlinson 2009). Also, they can be quicker to establish than learning spaces and formal schooling.
Another common strategy for supporting basic education in emergencies, including in IDP camps, has been the “school in a box” approach. One of the earliest uses of this approach was in the late 1980s by the Sudan Open Learning Organisation, supporting schools set up in informal IDP camps around Khartoum (Sudan Open Learning Organisation 2005). These informal schools were not recognised by the Khartoum administration, and faced the constant risk of being bulldozed and destroyed. This risk generated the need for a portable school that could be picked up and moved to a new site (Penson and Tomlinson 2009, Sesnan 2012). The concept has since been adopted and adapted by various UN agencies and NGOs as a strategy for supporting education in a wide range of emergency contexts. UNICEF uses kits that are designed to be culturally neutral and maintains a stockpile in various supply hubs around the world, which can be rapidly deployed in emergencies. This is helpful in the case of sudden-onset emergencies and displacements such as the 2004 tsunami. However, one problem with the scaling up of the strategy, combined with the centralised procurement system, is that the stockpiled kits are not adapted to local situations and do not draw on local materials or resources (Penson and Tomlinson 2009). In cases of prolonged displacement, locally developed and procured kits provide a more culturally appropriate and value-for-money approach.
Other examples of material support to improve access include:
- construction of temporary learning spaces
- rehabilitation of schools, including schools damaged through use as IDP shelters
- provision of learning materials including school bags, textbooks, and stationery
- provision of sanitary kits for girls
Strategies that have been used to cover the costs of schooling, including the direct and opportunity costs, include:
- school voucher programmes, e.g. as operated by NRC in Somalia (Skeie 2012)
- school feeding and take-home rations (Penson and Tomlinson 2009)
- exemptions from school fees and uniform requirements, e.g. in Syria (No Lost Generation 2016) and Colombia (Ferris and Winthrop 2010)
National governments, NGOs, and civil society organisations often run non-formal education courses, providing an alternative basic education for children unable to attend primary schools. These courses may include accelerated learning courses which offer a condensed version of the primary curriculum aimed at children and youth who have missed out on some or all of their primary education but are too old to return to primary schools. In Syria, the Ministry of Social Affairs, NGOs, and civil society organisations have been providing remedial classes and accelerated learning classes for IDPs. These courses follow the national curriculum but are not formally recognised by the Ministry of Education. In order for the learning to be recognised, students need to take the national official examinations (UNICEF 2015b).
Case File: The Norwegian Refugee Council’s alternative basic education programmes
The NRC has delivered a range of alternative basic education programmes in a wide range of IDP contexts, mainly targeting children between the ages of 9 and 14. A meta-evaluation of these programmes (Shah 2015b) distinguishes between three types of courses:
- Bridging programmes: short-term targeted courses designed to help out-of-school children re-join formal education, for example language courses
- Catch-up programmes: short-to-medium-term courses to enable children to catch up on missed education and re-enter the formal education system
- Alternative basic education: longer-term programmes that enable learners to complete a full course of basic education
The meta-evaluation found that most programmes either met or exceeded the expected number of out-of-school beneficiaries served, and that many had shown particular success in achieving gender parity in enrolment. The programmes paid particular attention to the specific needs of certain groups such as young mothers and ethnic minorities. The programmes have had varying success in ensuring the transition of learners into formal schools, with transition rates varying from below 30% up to 100%. Inefficiencies appeared to be greater in multi-year programmes. The meta-evaluation notes that there were significant knowledge gaps regarding the longer-term reintegration trajectories of alternative education students. Where tracer studies had been carried out (Angola, Somalia and DRC) it noted that many graduates did not transition into formal school, despite qualifying to do so.
Costs of the formal education system and opportunity costs were found to be major barriers to transition from NRC’s alternative basic education courses into formal education. In Somalia, the NRC addressed this by supporting partner schools so that they could waive tuition fees for IDPs and issuing vouchers to beneficiary households to help cover the opportunity costs. Vouchers were issued conditional on their children’s attendance of upper primary school, and could be redeemed for goods and services from local merchants. Dropout rates among beneficiaries over the two years for which the programme was run was only 1%. However, the upper primary cycle was four years and it was unclear whether attendance would be sustained once the supply of school subsidy and vouchers ended (Lodi 2011).
The NRC has supported alternative basic education over relatively long terms in situation of protracted displacement. For example, it ran one-year basic education courses (using the Teacher Emergency Programme) for over a decade in Angola, Burundi and DRC (Shah 2015b). NRC has attempted to ensure that the pedagogical approaches used in its programmes are sustained and transitioned into the formal education system. There have been challenges with getting Ministries of Education to meet earlier commitments to absorb NRC-trained teachers into the formal system, but NRC has increasingly extended its training programmes to teachers working in the formal system.
There are often very few opportunities for IDPs to continue studying post-primary. Education programming for “youth” (generally 15 years and older) in IDP situations often focuses on providing technical and vocational skills. For example, in 2008 in Darfur there were no secondary schools in IDP camps. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was available in some cases, although these generally focused on adults. In a few cases, TVET was available for 15-19 year olds, but with Child Friendly Spaces only catering for children up to 12 years old, this left a gap in provision for 13 and 14 year olds, an age at which children are vulnerable to exploitation, early marriage or recruitment into armed forces (WCWRC 2008, Penson and Tomlinson 2009). In IDP camps in Pakistan in 2009, the education cluster estimated that while 54% of children aged 5 to 11 had access to education services, only 8% of children aged 12-17 had access (Ferris and Winthrop 2010). The annual review of the No Lost Generation initiative notes that adult and youth programming was a challenge in Syria due to the limited number of implementing partners, and human resource constraints (No Lost Generation 2016).
One of the few examples of an intervention by international donors supporting youth education for IDPs is NRC’s Youth Education Pack, which has been implemented in over 13 countries including Afghanistan, DRC, Georgia, Somalia, Sudan, Timor Leste and Uganda. The pack comprises a one-year training programme for youth with three strands to its curriculum: literacy and numeracy, livelihood skills training, and life-skills (including health and micro-business management). After completing the course, beneficiaries receive toolkits to help them set up in the trades in which they have been trained. A global evaluation of the pack found that the programmes were highly regarded by IDP youth and host communities. It identified a number of common challenges including lack of capacity of trainers, market saturation of newly learned trades, and high levels of dropout among female participants. The analysis noted the high cost-per-beneficiary ratio of the pack and suggested options for reducing the costs (Chaffin, Buscher and Ng 2015).
Compared to primary school systems, post-primary education systems tend to be slower to recover following a conflict. Lack of availability of secondary education could impact on refugees’ and IDPs’ decision to return (Ferris and Winthrop 2010).
This section considers the very limited evidence on the quality of education available to IDPs, including evidence of the impact of displacement on learning outcomes, evidence of the outcomes of the NRC’s alternative education programmes for IDPs, and evidence of outcomes of training programmes for ex-combatants. Issues of quality regarding teacher supply and training are discussed in more detail in section 4.6.
The quality of education for IDPs varies greatly with context. The INEE’s Minimum Standards for Education (INEE 2010), together with associated tools provide guidance on what international practitioners and experts agree should be the minimum quality of education available to children affected by crises, including IDPs. However, in many cases, the actual quality of education available to IDPs is far below these “minimum” standards. For example, many schools for IDPs in Darfur lacked access to water and sanitation, teacher shortages were common, many schools had student–teacher ratios above 50:1, and half of teachers lacked qualifications (Lloyd et al. 2010).
A learning assessment conducted by UNICEF in Sri Lanka (UNICEF 2010) found that there was a significant learning achievement deficit associated with any form of displacement. Children still living in IDP camps, or those in schools that had been evacuated and subsequently restarted, showed a learning deficit equivalent to three years’ education compared to non-displaced children living in conflict-affected areas. The learning deficit was lower but still significant (approximately 1.5 years) for children who had found places in schools that had continued to function. The impact of displacement on learning was greatest for younger learners.
Relatively few evaluations of the NRC’s alternative education programmes for IDPs included comparisons of retention and learning outcomes with those of the formal system. But data from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, and Colombia indicate that completion rates and learning outcomes for children in these programmes were similar to or better than those of children in mainstream schools (Shah 2015b).
In their review of youth agency and peace building, Lopes Cardozo et al. (2015) identify a number of positive outcomes of training programmes for ex-combatants:
- Skills training for ex-combatant youth in Sierra Leone led to real work opportunities and enabled them to participate in community rebuilding, thus facilitating their reintegration.
- Technical and vocational training courses in Liberia included agricultural vocational training, apprenticeship programmes, and public works. Many youth who had missed out on education chose vocational training rather than formal education. Programmes targeting ex-combatants provided them with skills to participate in Disaster Risk Reduction and to generate new livelihoods. This helped to facilitate their assimilation into communities.
However, the review notes the lack of rigorous evaluation of the peacebuilding outcomes of technical and vocational training programmes.
Teacher migration, like migration more broadly, is impacted by economic opportunities. In cases of civil war, teachers on the civil service payroll may need to move to areas of the country within government control in order to be paid. For example, during the civil war with the Khartoum administration in southern Sudan, many teachers migrated to the garrison towns such as Juba, leading to an overabundance of teachers in these locations. During the conflict in Cote D’Ivoire, the government announced that civil servant salaries would only be paid in government-held areas, resulting in an exodus of teachers from the rebel-held areas (Sesnan 2012). In these ways, teacher payment practices may exacerbate conflict and displacement dynamics.
In cases of forced displacement, teachers may have limited options, but given the poor levels of teacher remuneration available in many IDP camps, it is not unsurprising that teachers are often underrepresented and in short supply there. Compared to other IDPs, qualified teachers are more likely to get employment with NGOs (outside of teaching), get scholarships or find jobs in the wider host community. As a result, organisations supporting education in IDP camps often have to seek out new potential teachers from within the IDP communities, and provide basic training to equip them to teach (Sesnan 2012).
NGOs and UN agencies supporting education for IDPs are more likely to support capital (e.g. building) costs rather than teachers’ salaries. A survey of primary schools providing education for IDPs in Darfur (Lloyd et al. 2010) found that while 84% of schools had received NGO funding for school buildings, and 28% for annual costs, only 19% had received support for teachers’ salaries. NGOs and UN agencies face a dilemma of whether to pay teachers or face a teacher shortage. If NGOs/UN agencies pay teachers a salary as an interim strategy, for example, while a government establishes its response to a sudden population displacement, it enables many children to gain quick access to education. However, it could undermine government authority and create disincentives for governments to start/resume paying teachers and for teachers to continue teaching after the donor funding ends (INEE 2009). Due to these concerns, along with funding constraints, teachers in IDP camps are often given food for work and top-up incentives rather than a formal salary.
The INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation (INEE 2009) recommend that the government, together with NGOs and UN agencies, play a key role in teacher compensation in IDP schools, and that teachers be provided with standardised incentives as an interim arrangement. Where possible, arrangements should be made for teachers on the government payroll to have their place of work and payment officially transferred to the location of displacement. One problem faced by displaced teachers is that, although they may officially remain on the payroll at their school of origin, they may be unable to access their salary and/or their bank account. The INEE recommends a phased handover of the management of teacher payment back to local education offices, with teachers registered on the government teacher payroll, with support from donor funding through multi-donor trust funds in protracted situations.
In practice, teachers in IDP camps can remain reliant on NGO incentives for a long time. This is partly because the incentives are often insufficient to attract qualified teachers, so NGOs recruit and train unqualified teachers, often with only secondary education or less. Governments are generally unwilling to add unqualified teachers to their payrolls, and rarely recognise NGO teacher training (see below), so it then becomes difficult to get the government to pay their salaries. For example, in Zam Zam camp in Darfur, UNICEF set up schools in partnership with the MoE and used volunteer teachers recruited by Parent Teacher Committees. But there were no qualified teachers available in the camp and the MoE did not recognise or pay the volunteer teachers, so they went on strike and the schools closed (INEE 2009). Sesnan (2012) speculates that paying teachers in camps a decent wage, thus attracting qualified teachers, could prove a more cost-effective strategy to the standard approach of limiting teacher payment to small incentives and having to recruit and train unqualified teachers.
Alternative strategies for raising funds for teacher compensation in situations of protracted displacement include school fees (sometimes referred to as “community contributions” in situations where school fees are politically unacceptable) and school income generation projects. The problem with fees, or any obligatory household financial contribution, is that it excludes the poorest families from accessing education. School income generation projects are often ineffectual and can divert teacher and pupil time from teaching and learning. These strategies may not provide adequate income for teachers (INEE 2009).
The INEE recommends that the level of teacher compensation should be comparable to host communities and communities of origin, but that the base wage should not be below that of other skilled workers. In some cases it may be justified to provide additional incentives for teachers in order to promote equity. For example, recruiting female teachers can often be a particular challenge. In Pakistan, UNICEF attracted female teachers to teach in IDP schools by paying them higher salaries than men and hiring their male relatives for other school jobs so that it was culturally acceptable for the women to work in the schools (INEE 2009).
Guidelines for the recruitment and selection of teachers are given in the INEE Minimum Standards for Education. Given the shortage of qualified teachers often found in IDP situations, many NGOs develop and deliver their own training courses for volunteer teachers and teachers for working in NGO-supported non-formal education courses, such as accelerated learning programmes. Even where teachers are qualified, further professional development is important to support the quality of education, help teachers adapt to new challenges (e.g. large class sizes, accelerated learning, multi-grade teaching) and curricular content (e.g. peace education), and contribute to teacher motivation.
Examples of courses developed for unqualified teachers include the following:
- Sudan Open Learning Organisation’s Teacher Assistance Course. This course involved self-study and group study materials on specific, practical themes, for new teachers to study with support from experienced teachers. In the decade from 1996 to 2005, SOLO trained over 31,000 teachers, many of whom were IDPs.
- Be a Better Teacher. An adaptation of the SOLO materials for the Somalia context.
- The Teacher Emergency Package. Developed by UNESCO Programme for Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction (PEER), Norwegian Refugee Council and UNICEF, this consisted of a teacher’s guide, training of teachers, ongoing teacher supervision combined with a “school in a box” kit.
In line with evidence of best practice in teacher training in non-emergency situations, a meta-evaluation of the NRC’s accelerated learning programmes noted that: “Programmes that were most effective … were ones that placed heavy emphasis on ongoing classroom-based support through microteaching opportunities, classroom observations, regular supervision, and a schedule of ongoing workshops and refresher courses” (Shah 2015b, p. 9).
Many refugee and IDP teachers receive their training and experience in camps, delivered by NGOs or UN agencies. However, when these populations return home this training is rarely recognised by the state (Baxter and Bethke 2009). Refugees who qualify as teachers under a host country system may also find that their home country does not recognise their qualifications on their return. An exception to these persistent challenges was the IRC’s refugee education programme in Guinea from 1990 to 2007, which emphasised the training and regional certification of teachers. These credentials were recognised in Sierra Leone and Liberia upon return, which had a long-term impact on the livelihoods of these teachers; two thirds of them were employed upon return as teachers, often at their old schools (Shepler 2011).
The lack of transferability of teacher certification creates problems, both at the personal level of the returnee teacher who is unable to find salaried work, and at the system level, with the high costs and inefficiency associated with training new teachers. Penson et al. (2012) argue for developing an internationally transferable competency-based framework for teacher professional standards that would cover both formal and non-formal teacher training.
When administrative record-keeping regarding teacher certification is poor, or destroyed by conflict, qualified IDP teachers who have lost their training certificates can face difficulties in convincing the authorities of their qualifications and may find it hard to be included on the teacher payroll (Dolan et al. 2012, Mooney and French 2005).
Teachers who have found employment in their place of refuge may be reluctant to return once a crisis is over, contributing to teacher shortages in post-crisis situations. One strategy to support teachers to return to teaching is to provide housing for returning teachers. This can enhance the school’s permanent capital (if built on the compound), but may be seen to create a precedent for returning professionals and may disadvantage teachers who stayed during the crisis (INEE 2009).
IDPs often remain highly vulnerable to risks associated with conflict and insecurity. Children in IDP settlements and IDP schools have been targeted for recruitment into armed forces, for example in Sudan (Cohen 2008), DRC (Watkins 2012), and Sri Lanka (Davies 2013). IDP schools can become targets for attack, as in the case of northern Nigeria (IDMC 2014). There is some evidence that schools that meet in non-traditional settings and those constructed from non-traditional structures are at reduced risk of attack (Burde et al. 2015).
Good quality education can help to protect IDP children. Being in education can protect children from exploitation, sexual violence, kidnapping, and separation from family members (Winthrop and Matsui 2013). Curricula can equip children with skills and knowledge to protect themselves from exploitation, health risks, gender-based violence, land mines, and other risks (see for example No Lost Generation 2016). Cahill et al. (2010) point out that education for children associated with fighting forces should include drug education and sexual health education due to their increased exposure to these risks.
Literacy skills can translate into improved health outcomes, and schooling (formal or non-formal) has been shown to play an essential role in supporting children’s psychosocial well-being across a wide range of contexts (Winthrop and Matsui 2013). Schools provide sites where children can receive other support such as vaccinations, deworming, food and nutritional supplements, and counselling.
For demobilised child soldiers, education provides social and emotional development. Children who are incorporated into armed forces lack opportunities for individual expression and friendships are often discouraged. There is evidence that schooling supports the psychosocial healing process for child soldiers, and leads to more prosocial behaviours and fewer mental health issues (Song and de Jong 2015).
UNHCR and other international bodies (see IDMC 2014, note 17) advise that displaced children, where possible, should be educated in local schools alongside children from host communities. However, this is not always practicable in situations where there is a large sudden influx of IDPs and where local schools lack the capacity to accommodate them. New schools/learning spaces may need to be established to accommodate IDPs, at least in the short term. It is also difficult in cases where the displaced children are unfamiliar with the language of instruction of the host community schools. However, once segregated IDP schools have become established, it can be difficult to transition into an integrated system where IDP children study alongside those from the host community. In the DRC it is difficult for IDP children in camps to join local schools as they are either too far away, too full, or charge unaffordable school fees (IDMC 2014). In Azerbaijan and Georgia, IDP parents often choose to send their children to segregated IDP schools, and the governments have supported their choice to remain segregated on the basis that it helps to keep the memory of their homeland alive, and could facilitate return (IDMC 2014).
Kurdish IDPs in Turkey have experienced compounded difficulties of displacement-induced poverty and discrimination. Under Turkish law, recognised minority groups can set up schools and adapt the curriculum to their own language and culture. However, Turkish law does not recognise Kurds as a minority group, so they are not permitted to adapt the curriculum to their own culture and language (IDMC and RC 2010).
In many emergencies, schools are used to provide temporary accommodation for IDPs. This impacts on the access to education of host communities. In Pakistan, around 5,000 schools were used to provide shelter for IDPs fleeing from conflict in 2009 (Ferris and Winthrop 2011), and 5,600 were used as IDP shelters following the 2010 floods (Alexander 2011). In Nigeria, IDPs fleeing from the conflict with Boko Haram sought refuge in schools in the North East of the country. Many schools in Adamawa state were unable to open at the start of the 2014 academic year because they were hosting IDPs. IDPs in Nigeria have in some cases damaged or even destroyed school infrastructure, meaning that schools are unable to function properly, even once alternative accommodation for the IDPs has been found (IDMC 2014). Similarly, many schools in Syria have been used as shelters, with 320 schools being used as shelters in March 2014, according to the Ministry of Education (UNICEF 2015a). Damage and destruction of schools as a direct result of the conflict can further reduce school capacity.
In some cases local integration of the displaced population may be resented and resisted, and education access has been restricted in order to incite IDPs to return to their place of origin (Penson et. al. 2012). In Syria, the influx of internally displaced persons has created tension with host communities over the limited resources available (No Lost Generation 2016). In Sri Lanka, there were concerns among host communities that IDPs would infringe on the local university entrance quota (Davies 2012).
The NRC found that in their alternative basic education programmes in Angola and DRC, parents had hidden their actual status from the NRC in order to enrol their children in the alternative education programmes designed for IDPs. These courses were seen as preferable to formal schools as they were considered to be higher quality and free of cost. In order to alleviate tensions, and to support integration, many programmes allowed for a small proportion of host community children to enrol and included staff from local formal schools in capacity building and training activities (Shah 2015b).
Tensions can arise in the home country when returnees are seen as receiving preferential treatment. Funding allocations from central governments to districts receiving large returns may not increase sufficiently to cover the increased demand for services (Ferris and Winthrop 2010).
The INEE guidance note on Conflict Sensitive Education (INEE 2013) gives strategies for mitigating tensions between displaced and host communities, including supporting programmes that make education accessible to all, and fostering links between host and displaced communities through participation mechanisms.
This review of the state of research, policy, and practice in refugee education has uncovered a number of gaps and challenges.
First, the most pressing current challenge is the need for more robust data, analysis, and research, including data on availability, quality, and outcomes of education for IDPs. Only once this becomes available will it be possible to give an informed prioritisation of the most urgent operational gaps and challenges in the field.
Second, given that national governments have primary responsibility for education of IDPs, enhancing national capacity to address IDP education needs should be a priority for the international community. This should cover inclusion of current IDPs in national and local education sector plans, EMIS, and budgets, and contingency planning to reduce the disruption of education in the event of unforeseen future displacement crises. National governments’ legal responsibility to protect IDPs’ right to education needs to be strengthened through the development of legal frameworks at the global, regional, and national level.
Third, despite progress made by the GPE, education provision for IDPs remains impeded by the perception of a humanitarian/development divide within the international donor community. The international donor community needs to develop medium- to long-term flexible funding and implementation mechanisms to support IDP education in situations of protracted displacement (for a full analysis, see the ODI paper on education in emergencies and protracted crises (ODI 2015).
Fourth, improved national-level planning and longer-term, more flexible funding from the international community is needed in order to improve teacher recruitment and compensation strategies in IDP situations, including consideration of strategies to attract and retain qualified teachers (especially female teachers).
Lastly, provision of post-primary education and training opportunities for adolescent and youth IDPs remains a major gap, requiring increased support from national and international actors, and exploration of innovative means of providing cost-effective access to education for this group.
 See for example the role of the Ministry of Education in Syria in the provision of education for IDPs in UNICEF’s 2015 report Curriculum, Accreditation and Certification for Syrian Children in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, Regional Study: UNICEF 2015b.
 See for example the role of the cluster in supporting early childhood education in IDP camps in Sri Lanka (Smith Ellison and Smith 2012).
 For example, the Nepal Earthquake Assessment Unit identified the Education Cluster School Structural Assessment as a notable example of close cooperation between a cluster and the government (Nepal Earthquake Assessment Unit 2015).
 Global Education Cluster (2010) “Education Cluster Coordinator Handbook,” Save the Children, Geneva, https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/Education_Cluster_Handbook_1.pdf
 The Camp Management Toolkit provides resources for practitioners working with displaced communities. Chapter 17 of the Toolkit is dedicated to education, and has extensive links to relevant guides and documents: http://cmtoolkit.org/chapters/view/education.
 See toolkit on the website of the INEE, http://toolkit.ineesite.org/inee_minimum_standards
This section sets out some of the opportunities, innovations, and examples of best practice in education for forcibly displaced people. Many of the approaches presented could be used for both refugees and IDPs, and indeed some have been so used. Given the limited evidence base (see section 5.2, and discussion in Appendix A), the range of approaches described here represents a menu of potentially productive strategies, rather than a definitive list of “what works”.
As noted passim in this report, there is limited generalisable evidence on what works in education for forcibly displaced people. One reason for this is that situations of forced displacement tend to be in flux with very unpredictable futures, which makes it difficult to implement the sorts of structured research exercises which generate robust results. The sections on innovations and interventions should be read in the light of the important caveats contained in Appendix A.
5.3 Supporting impacted communities
Issue: Refugees and IDPs are often displaced with other members of their family and community, or form new communities where they end up. Refugee and IDP education interventions that only look at the needs of individuals are unlikely to have as much success as those attempting to reach individuals as part of a community.
Innovations and Interventions: Often, forcibly displaced people themselves initiate schools and other education programmes to directly respond to the needs of their own communities. Examples include the educational work of Karen refugees along the Thai-Burma border (Oh 2012), and the school set up by the Sudanese community in the Jungle in Calais (Bengtsson, McAllister and Abrahams 2016). While education initiatives by refugees and IDPs themselves usually already have community ‘buy-in’, research has shown that it can be difficult for the forcibly displaced to have a voice in negotiations with other stakeholders, and that often the education delivered through these programmes is not officially recognised (Oh 2012). In other words, such initiatives have a greater chance of success if supported by national and international stakeholders.
Increasingly, researchers in EiE are recognising the importance of taking what is known as an “ecological approach” to education. This concept draws on the work of child development expert Urie Bronfenbrenner and involves understanding each individual learner as part of an ecosystem, involving peers, families, schools, services, governance, etc. Once such an understanding has been built, researchers are in a better position to analyse strengths and weaknesses in the “ecosystem”. Two recent studies have shown the value of such an approach. The first has used it to understand how to connect local and global resources to support educational success for Somali refugees in Kenya (Dryden-Peterson and Dahya 2016), and the second has explored how community-based NFE can support wellbeing of refugees in Denver, Colorado (Shriberg, Downs-Karkos and Wisberg 2012).
In order to support forcibly displaced people in accessing education, some interventions have involved cash transfers to ensure that they can afford the opportunity costs of sending children to school. A quasi-experimental study by Lehman and Masterson (2014) found that providing unconditional cash assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon increased access to school and decreased child labour.
Issue: Forcibly displaced people have often experienced high levels of stress and trauma that can make it difficult for them to cope with day-to-day life and can negatively impact their overall health and wellbeing.
Innovations and Interventions: The Better Learning Programme (BLP) is a classroom/school-based intervention designed as a partly manualised, multi-level approach to help teachers, educational psychologists, and parents cope with behavioural difficulties of children who have experienced trauma, while at the same time empowering schoolchildren through strategies for calming and self-regulation. The goal is to promote behavioural change in the classroom, to regain lost learning capacity, and strengthen resilience, concentration, and learning in the school community.
The E2F programme was initiated by CARE International in response to a perceived need to provide children with psychosocial support in the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead (Shah 2015a). The after/before school programme provided (1) regular academic enrichment in English, Arabic, Science, and Maths, (2) key study, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution skills, and (3) positive peer relationships.
Shah (2015a) reviews both the BLP and E2F Programme and finds they had positive impacts on Palestinian communities, building resilience, communication skills, and counselling skills, in light of increasing instability. However, he questions the depth of the resilience built by these programmes in light of recent increases in violence and instability, and asks whether it is appropriate to restore a sense of normalcy in a site of cyclical violence. He suggests that such programmes may play a key role in supporting immediate psychosocial needs at the onset of conflict, but that longer-term solutions are needed in contexts where conflict is constantly reoccurring, such as Gaza.
In recent years, there has been an increasing recognition that schools can act as a key site for the delivery of mental health interventions in a number of ways, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), creative arts, play, life skills, and sports. According to a systematic review by Tyrer and Fazel (2014), mental health interventions delivered within a school setting can help children overcome difficulties associated with forced displacement. The authors found that achievement in school (in terms of both education and peer relationships) is a key determinant of future success and mental health, echoing Dryden-Peterson’s (2011) finding that education must be of high quality for it to maintain its protective dimension. Ager et al. (2011) conducted a quasi-experimental study centred on creative arts activities in northern Uganda to analyse the effects of a psychosocial structured activities programme on child wellbeing in 21 schools for children ages 7 to 12 (n=203 intervention, n=200 in comparison group). The authors found that there were statistically greater improvements in the wellbeing of participants from the intervention group. Garfin et al. (2014) conducted an observational study on a school-based psychosocial intervention involving life skills for 117 children ages 7 to 9 in Chile following the 2010 earthquake. They found that levels of post-traumatic stress and earthquake anxiety were significantly reduced for the majority of participants. Finally, Lange and Haugsja (2006) conducted an observational evaluation of ‘Right To Play’ programmes in refugee camps in Tanzania and Pakistan and found that programme participation generally supported wellbeing through building of peer relationships, student and teacher relationships, and inclusion of young girls.
When the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, it set up the EU Children of Peace initiative. This initiative funds projects for children in conflict-affected regions. It facilitates access to schools, where they can participate in learning in a safe environment and receive psychosocial support to deal with traumatic experiences of conflict. While there are no readily available academic studies or evaluations of the EU Children of Peace initiative, according to the website over 1.5 million children in 26 countries have benefitted from the initiative so far, though how many of these are refugees or IDPs is not mentioned.
Issue: Displaced children and youth have often missed out part or all of their basic education, may have had learning interrupted, and may be too old to return to formal primary school.
Innovations and Interventions: Accelerated learning programmes (ALPs) deliver a condensed version of the school curriculum for out-of-school children and youth, with the aim of providing them with the basic learning foundations and enabling them to re-enter the formal school system. The Norwegian Refugee Council has delivered a range of accelerated learning programmes in IDP and refugee contexts (Shah 2015b). Evidence from evaluations indicate that ALPs have been effective at enrolling over-age and out-of-school youth, particularly populations that have been marginalised or stigmatised (for example, girls, and former child combatants). A rigorous review (Burde et al. 2015) found that while there was a great deal of grey literature and project evaluations of ALPs, there were no experimental or quasi-experimental studies and no longitudinal studies.
A meta-evaluation by Shah (2015b) of NRC’s accelerated education (AE) programmes around the world identifies both positive and negative patterns in terms of the design, delivery, and assessment of impact of AE provision across a range of contexts and phases of the humanitarian responses. According to the evaluation, NRC’s AE programmes have made a clear contribution in providing access to education for populations who may otherwise not have such an opportunity. A success of many of NRC’s AEPs has been ensuring that close to 50% of direct beneficiaries are females, often in contexts where achievement of this gender equity target is challenging. NRC has recognised that for students who complete the AE programme, the hidden and actual costs of schooling can preclude them from continuing in formal education. Country programmes vary in how they have responded to this challenge, with some working extensively with schools, others advocating directly with the MoE, and still others including AE beneficiaries’ caregivers in income generation and/or livelihood opportunities to enable them to send their children to school. A strength of NRC’s approach has been the active mobilisation of the wider community, who have gone on to play an important role in reducing issues of stigmatisation, operation and oversight of programming, and the recruitment, selection, and retention of learners and teachers.
The Youth Education Pack, developed by the NRC, is a one-year full-time education package which provides training in literacy and numeracy, livelihood skills training, and life-skills for youth aged 15-24, who have missed out on schooling and skills development due to displacement and lack of opportunities. YEP targets the most vulnerable, with priority being given to young single mothers, youth heads of households, and those with the poorest educational background (see Chaffin, Buscher and Ng 2015 for an external global evaluation of YEP).
An Accelerated Education Working Group has brought together a number of NGOs, donors, and UN agencies to document best practice, standardise terminology and definitions, develop tools for field practitioners, and develop indicators and evidence on Accelerated Education.
Issue: Forcibly displaced people often face problems of access, insecurity, and constant movement, which prevent them from participating in quality education.
Innovations and Interventions: According to a recent landscape review, ICT can play a key role in strengthening education systems in conflict and crisis; for example, by using mobile money transfers to ensure teachers receive regular salaries, text messaging warning systems, and data collection about students and schools (Dahya 2016). ICT is also used to enhance basic education, teacher training, higher education, and vocational training, which often incorporate blended learning approaches that include locally existing technologies such as mobile phones. Radio and tablets are often used to reach out-of-school children. Mobile phones can be used to distribute audio-recorded or SMS-based information and conduct quizzes. Life skills training through digital video is an increasingly important form of community education. According to the review, much work is being undertaken to develop Open Educational Resources (OER). Finally, social media and networks are increasingly recognised as a crucial education information source for displaced people.
Examples of ICT education interventions include: Can’t Wait To Learn (an innovation developed by War Child Holland to support out-of-school children in Sudan, using tablets to teach mathematics through games); Funzi (mobile phone app for teaching of key skills); RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) (a collection of popular educational resources made available offline); TIGER (These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading) (a tablet-based learning programme for adolescent Syrian girls in the UNHCR Za’atari camp in Jordan); Open Learning Exchange (a collaborative educational resource for people affected by conflict); and Vodafone’s Instant Classroom (a ‘school in a box’ for tablet-based teaching in refugee camps).
According to the landscape review, most projects it has identified are still in pilot phase, and thus formal research on the use of ICTs for education for displaced people is still limited (Dahya 2016). The authors point out that there is no single, simple model for sustainability or scale, given the complexity and diversity of contexts, so ICT for education interventions should seek to be iterative and adaptable. Further, they argue that human resources/educators are still the crucial component in the success of education interventions. A working paper by the Global Business Coalition for Education explores whether and how technology can support education and skills training for Syrian refugee youth (Global Business Coalition for Education 2015). A number of key lessons emerged from the review, including the importance of viewing technology as a tool, not the solution; increasing coordination and M&E of programmes; ensuring credibility through accreditation; and prioritising open source development and user-generated content.
The UNHCR is working with organisations to prototype and test innovations with the potential to expand educational opportunities for refugees and IDPs through its Innovation Learn Lab. Learn Lab partners include
Some recent interventions involve bringing educators and educational resources to vulnerable populations through travelling or mobile schools. One example is a collaboration between EAC and BRAC using boat schools to reach children in disaster-prone and remote rural areas. This pilot programme aims to reach 13,000 children through the training of local boat manufacturers, construction and equipping of 400 boats with mobile classrooms, selection and training of 500 teachers, and the creation of 400 School Management Committees with representatives from the community, schools, and local government.
Issue: Refugee and IDP education faces major challenges regarding teaching quality, because of lack of trained teachers, problems with teacher motivation and compensation, etc.
Innovations and Interventions: The NRC has a long history of working with teachers and school authorities on capacity building in pursuit of durable solutions, for example through the Teacher Emergency Package (TEP) programme. This programme was a collaboration with UNICEF and the MoE in Angola, and involved the training of teachers to deliver catch-up education and other learning opportunities for marginalised children, including displaced and returned children. The teacher guide was based on a participatory and child-centred methodologies and linked to the provision of school supplies. According to Midttun (2009), over 12 years, through the TEP programme 3,188 teachers were trained and 212,000 children enrolled in the one-year catch-up programme, including 104,250 girls. Most of these children would not have benefited from basic education without the TEP and many would not have been able to transfer to the mainstream system, though exact numbers of how many children transferred and completed basic education are not known.
As described in the case file in section 3.6, the IRC launched the Healing Classrooms initiative in 2002, a research-based approach to informing teacher development for student wellbeing. They also worked on a programme of training and deploying female classroom assistants (CAs) in refugee schools in Guinea and Sierra Leone, who were there to support a girl-friendly school environment. While a number of studies have looked at the Healing Classrooms Initiative and found it to be an effective intervention, many of these are observational and/or interview-based and therefore the findings are transferrable rather than generalisable (Burde et al. 2015; see review of evidence base in Appendix A).
Teacher training in the Palestinian refugee education context is discussed in section 3.5.2. Worth mentioning here are the provisions UNRWA makes for further career development, pre-service and in-service training, and learner-centred pedagogies and assessment techniques. As mentioned earlier, there is limited research available on the effectiveness of UNRWA’s latest teacher training initiatives, though the World Bank (2014) did report that the quality of teaching was better at UNRWA schools than in public schools in Gaza, West Bank, and Jordan.
The INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation in Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and Post-Crisis Recovery and the UNHCR Brief on Refugee Teacher Management provide guidance on key areas of teacher management and support. INEE has also conducted a literature review of Teacher Professional Development in Crisis and produced an Annotated Bibliography, which includes key resources on teachers and their professional development. Finally, a new inter-agency training pack, Introduction to Training for Primary School Teachers in Crisis Contexts, was launched in March 2016 as part of an effort to improve teacher training for unqualified or under-qualified teachers often recruited to teach in refugee camps and in a range of other emergency settings. It responds to a critical gap in open source, competency-based teacher training materials that provide coverage of foundational knowledge and skills required by teachers in crisis contexts, where teacher training is often limited to ad hoc workshops. The pack was developed by the Teachers in Crisis Contexts Working Group (TCCWG) which is comprised of seven partner agencies: Finn Church Aid, International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, Teachers College-Columbia University, UNHCR, and UNICEF, working in close association with the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies. It has undergone systematic review and was field-tested in Iraq and Kenya and externally reviewed by a range of EiE specialists.
Issue: According to UNHCR, only 1% of refugees have access to higher education opportunities. When it comes to IDPs, the figures are not known. There tends to be a reliance on scholarships as a strategy to improve higher education access, but for most forcibly displaced peoples these are unrealistic.
Innovations and Interventions: As mentioned in section 3.4.2, the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI) scholarship programme has been functioning since 1992 and is considered an integral part of UNHCR’s mandate (UNHCR 2016b). In 2014, over 2,240 DAFI scholarship students were enrolled in universities and colleges in 41 countries of asylum (ibid.). Another scholarship programme for refugee higher education is the World University Service of Canada (WUCS), which has been supporting refugee scholarships for 35 years. See Appendix F for a figure showing the response of WUCS and other international stakeholders to the Syrian higher education crisis.
DAFI was evaluated in 2007, and was found to be successful in improving enrolment, including female enrolment, which stabilised in recent years at over 40% from a low of 23% in 1992 (Morlang and Watson 2007). Further, 75% of the DAFI graduates who submitted questionnaires had received a bachelor’s degree, and 8% were continuing studies with other funding. Research suggests that most DAFI scholars return to their country of origin, finding employment in NGOs and other UN agencies (Demirdjian 2012a). But they form a relatively small group, and thus questions arise about how much of an impact these scholars can have on overall development in the countries of origin. Studies have also pointed to a relationship between inequality of educational opportunity and the likelihood of renewed conflict (Milton and Barakat forthcoming).
In 2015, InZone launched locally designed learning hubs in Kenyan refugee camps, offering blended higher education courses including humanitarian interpreter training and a MOOC on humanitarian communication to try to provide access to higher education for the 180,000 French-speakers in Kakuma refugee camp. They are currently working to get the courses accredited, so that they are internationally recognised and can facilitate access to the job market for refugee graduates (Moser-Mercer 2016). The InZone higher education initiative is relatively new, but is based on an extensive review of the state of higher education and refugees, and also builds on InZone’s extensive experience in providing humanitarian interpreting education to refugees (Moser-Mercer 2016). As it is relatively new, there is not much scholarly evidence on the effectiveness of the programme as yet.
The Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) aims to make higher education opportunities available where refugees need them, as an alternative to scholarships, which are few and only benefit 1% of refugees who are able to take them based on age, availability, and merit. BHER is currently operational in Dadaab refugee camp and has focused to begin with on teacher training, aiming to provide gender-equitable teacher training and mentoring programmes which pair young women with international scholars and students. BHER describes its course offerings as “stackable”, i.e. students can earn certificates or diplomas at each level to build incrementally towards earning a degree. BHER has only been operational for a relatively short amount of time, so not much evidence is available as yet. However, a number of presentations at the 2016 Annual Comparative International Education Society (CIES) Conference in Vancouver, Canada, focused on BHER and reported initial successes (Dryden-Peterson and Dahya 2016).
Issue: Without a certificate of learning that is recognised by the authorities, it is difficult for individuals to use their learning to access further education, training, and employment. Certification can be particularly problematic for displaced teachers and students, as documentation may get lost during displacement; qualifications gained in one country may not be recognised in another; and alternative and informal education programmes, particularly those delivered by non-state providers, may not result in official qualifications. Certification is also a challenge with distance-learning courses.
Innovations and Interventions: Kirk (2009) presents a range of strategies for addressing certification challenges for refugee and IDP learners. These include cross-border and regional examinations, enabling refugees to study in host schools and sit the national examinations of the host country; accreditation of distance-learning initiatives by universities in the country of origin; development of recognition agreements between governments of the countries of origin and host country governments; and support for development of international conventions such as the “Lisbon Convention” on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region.
UNICEF’s report on Curriculum, Accreditation, and Certification for Syrian Children in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt (UNICEF 2015b) describes some of the initiatives of the Government of Syria, including the use of placement tests to enable IDP students lacking documentation to enrol in the most appropriate grade, and reissuing certificates based on certification records held within the national education database.
UNICEF and partners in Sudan have worked with State Ministries of Education to support IDP children to attend examination centres by providing toilets, logistical support, school supplies, sanitary supplies, and meals, enabling around 8,000 IDP children to sit their grade 8 examinations, and advocated for changing examination dates to accommodate displaced learners (UNICEF 2016).
Evidence of the successes and challenges of initiatives to support certification for refugees and IDP learners is presented in Kirk (2009). Evidence and implications of certification procedures for returnee teachers are discussed in section 4.6.3.
Issue: There is a serious shortage of good data on education for refugees and IDPs (see Sect. 2.5)
Innovations and Interventions: This problem has been recognised by the international community (see Dryden-Peterson 2011), and a number of agencies have attempted to remedy it through increased investments in data and monitoring. One noteworthy development in education data monitoring is OpenEMIS (Education Management Information System), a system initially conceived by UNESCO to be easily customised to meet specific country needs, and which is intended to help education leaders at all levels to efficiently monitor data about schools (UNHCR Malaysia 2016). Other examples include UNRWA, UNICEF’s monitoring and evaluation of the Peacebuilding, Education, and Advocacy Programme (PBEA 2012-2015) (UNICEF 2014), and Adam Smith International’s use of GPS technology to access school data in remote areas (Adam Smith International 2014). Humanitarian agencies are beginning to use satellite and drone imagery to identify IDP settlements and shelters in hard-to access areas.
 See Educate a Child website, http://educateachild.org/our-partners-projects/projects/boat-schools-rural-children
 Two recent initiatives from ICR are also relevant here. The Interactive Outcomes and Evidence Framework supports humanitarian and development professionals to design effective programs, http://oef.rescue.org/#/home?_k=um8w1r; and the IRC Toolkit for Safe Healing and Learning Spaces (SHLS) provides child protection and education practitioners with content needed to initiate an SHLS program: http://shls.rescue.org/.
This topic guide is based on an extensive (though not systematic) review of scholarly and grey literature (e.g. agency reports, evaluations, guidance documents, etc.). In general, however, the evidence base on the effectiveness of educational interventions for refugees and IDPs is limited. According to a recent rigorous literature review by Burde et al. (2015) entitled What Works to Promote Children’s Educational Access, Quality of Learning, and Wellbeing in Crisis-Affected Contexts, there is very little robust, rigorous, longitudinal and generalisable research in the field of Education in Emergencies. For this reason, while the authors have drawn from a number of quality scholarly sources for this guide, most of those are qualitative, small-scale and/or context-specific in nature, as there are very few experimental or quasi-experimental, large-scale and/or generalisable studies available. The review of the scholarly sources has been supplemented by consultation of grey literature. While these documents and studies are not as rigorous or robust as scholarly sources, much of the work is of a relatively high standard and contains potentially useful lessons for practice and policy.
Literature on IDPs
The body of literature specifically addressing issues of education for IDPs is more limited than that for refugees. This is partly because the concept of IDPs as a distinct group of people with particular needs has only gained international recognition since the 1990s (Mooney 2005). Also, due to significant gaps in monitoring data (see Sect. 2.5), IDPs are relatively invisible to international humanitarian and development actors.
There is a growing literature on education responses in emergencies (see Winthrop and Matsui 2013, Burde et al. 2015) and growing attention to the educational needs of children living in conflict-affected countries (see UNESCO 2011, Menashy and Dryden-Peterson 2015). But while many of the beneficiaries of these education responses are IDPs, the literature rarely distinguishes between education for IDPs and education for other conflict or disaster-affected people. Education and Internally Displaced Persons, a collection of studies edited by Smith Ellison and Smith (2012), is one of the few volumes of empirical studies dedicated to the topic. Other papers that provide a global overview on the issues include Mooney and French 2005, Ferris and Winthrop 2011. There are a small number of papers that focus on education for IDPs in specific situations, for example: Georgia (IDMC and NRC 2011), Darfur (WCWRC 2008, Lloyd et al. 2010) and Angola (Midttun 2009). The IDMC’s Learning in Displacement (IDMC 2010) reviews the international legal frameworks around IDPs’ right to education. There is very little rigorous, peer-reviewed research specifically addressing the education needs of IDPs and the effectiveness of specific interventions. In particular, section 4 has had to draw largely on observational studies and agency reports and evaluations.
Literature on the role of education in protection and wellbeing
Section 3.6 of the review addresses the role of education in the protection and wellbeing of refugees. There is little research on the effectiveness of psychological interventions for children with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from exposure to conflict/war, especially in LMICs (Onyut et al. 2005) – in fact, in a recent systematic review of school and community-based interventions for refugee children, 14 of the 21 studies reviewed were carried out in HICs (11 in school settings) (Tyrer and Fazel 2014); the remaining seven were carried out in camps for forcibly displaced persons in LMICs, but only two looked at refugees (one worked with six Somali refugees aged 13-17 in Uganda, and one with Palestinian children in Gaza). The former study (Onyut et al. 2005) was found by Tyrer and Fazel (2014) to partially fulfil the standards of quality design and methods and to fulfil the standards of treatment quality. Onyut et al. (2005) created and evaluated the efficacy of a child-friendly version of Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) known as KIDNET as a short-term treatment for children. Symptoms of PTSD and depression were assessed at three intervals – pre-treatment, post-treatment, and nine-month follow-up – and were found to be sustainably reduced as a result of the treatment. One observational study examining a Serbian community-based Youth Clubs programme and involving pre- and post-surveys with 1,106 boarding school students (aged 15 to 18) found that while traumatic stress was reduced for non-refugee participants, it increased for refugee participants, indicating that the protection and wellbeing needs of refugees are often different from their non-refugee counterparts (Ispanovic-Radojkovic 2003).
Literature on Effective Interventions
The evidence base reviewed for section 5, on Opportunities, Innovations and Best Practice in Education for Forcibly Displaced People, is notably weak. Burde et al. (2015) call for more research to determine how best to expand access to forcibly displaced populations, and point out that while there are approaches that are often implemented (such as offering double shifts at schools, or opening schools in camps or settlements), there is mixed evidence about the effectiveness of these approaches, and that it is often limited to observational studies. There has been a trend among aid organisations towards mainstreaming displaced people into local schools. This decision stems from alternative education programmes facing problems with sustainability, accreditation, and quality, and these organisations have been attempting to strengthen infrastructure and support administration in conflict-affected contexts and countries receiving a large number of refugees. There is, of yet, little evidence on the long-term effectiveness of this approach.
Conclusion: Generalisation vs. Transferability
Why is there limited generalisable evidence on what is effective? To begin with, as was mentioned with respect to section 2, the field of forced displacement as a whole is plagued by poor data and monitoring systems, which makes it difficult to determine the impact, if any, of interventions. Another reason is that situations of forced displacement tend to be in situations of flux with very unpredictable futures. For this reason, it becomes difficult to plan interventions that have long-term, quantifiable, achievable goals and follow a logical, linear pattern, and that can be monitored and evaluated effectively using experimental and quasi-experimental methods – such as the randomised control trial (RCT), which is seen by many donors and other agencies as the ‘gold standard’ of research to inform policy and practice.
There has been an increasing recognition among members of the international education academic community that high-quality qualitative research can help to inform policy and practice, depending on the nature of the research problem, and that while results from qualitative studies cannot be generalised, lessons learned can be transferred to inform practice and policy (Lincoln and Guba 1985). In fact, when it comes to education and forcible displacement, Demirdjian (2012a) notes that each situation is unique in its own way and that therefore it is impossible to come up with a set of specific guidelines that will work universally, even with evidence from RCTs. What can be done through qualitative research is to answer important questions about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of education and forced displacement.
Further, it is often difficult to conduct field-based academic research on education and forced displacement. It can be tricky to negotiate access to forcibly displaced populations – not only do some academic institutions restrict travel for their staff to regions that are perceived to be unsafe, but researchers also often find it difficult to find so-called gatekeepers who can help to facilitate access to vulnerable communities. On a related note, there are many ethical considerations (protection of vulnerable populations, etc.) that need to be addressed by researchers, both individually and officially. In terms of methodology, as has been previously mentioned, there is sometimes a bias among donors and other agencies towards using findings from academic studies based on RCTs. On the one hand, this is problematic because many researchers lack the resources, time, and institutional support to set up rigorous RCTs, and the limited applicability make the costs less appropriate. On the other hand, it means that studies which meet the naturalistic inquiry standards of trustworthiness and quality – i.e. credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability – will be overlooked upon completion or will not attract sufficient funding to get off the ground to begin with (Demirdjian 2012a).
- Forced displacement/migration
The Global Program on Forced Displacement (GPFD 2015) defines forced displacement as “the situation of persons who are forced to leave or flee their homes due to conflict, violence and human rights violations.” “Forced migration” tends to refer to the actual movements of those who are forced to flee.
- Conflict-induced migration/displacement
Conflict-induced displacement can happen within or across national borders and occurs when people are forced to flee from their homes because of armed conflict (including civil war), generalised violence, and/or persecution due to political opinion, social group, race, religion, or nationality, and their state is unwilling or unable to protect them (Forced Migration Online 2012).
- Disaster-induced migration/displacement
Disaster-induced displacement can happen within or across national borders and occurs when people are displaced as a result of natural disasters, environmental change, and human-made disasters. These are overlapping categories of disaster, and it is sometimes difficult to draw clear distinctions between them (Forced Migration Online 2012).
- Development-induced migration/displacement
Development-induced displacement occurs when people have to leave their homes due to development-related projects and policies, for example, infrastructure projects such as roads and dams, mining, etc. This type of displacement tends to happen within national borders. Research suggests that this type of displacement (which impacts more people than conflict-induced displacement) disproportionately affects indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, and the poor (Forced Migration Online 2012).
- Complex emergencies
Complex emergencies refer to major humanitarian crises that are the result of a combination of factors, including political instability, conflict, violence, social inequality, and poverty, and are often exacerbated by natural disasters, diseases, and environmental instability (FAO 2016).
- Protracted emergencies/crises and protracted displacement
Protracted crisis/emergency refers to a long-term humanitarian crisis, characterised by recurrent conflict and/or natural disasters, weak governance and institutional capacity, chronic food crises, etc. (FAO 2016). Crawford et al. (2015, p. 9) define protracted displacement broadly as “a situation in which refugees and/or IDPs have been in exile for three years or more, and where the process for finding durable solutions, such as repatriation, absorption in host communities or settlement in third locations, has stalled. This definition includes refugees and IDPs forced to leave their homes to avoid armed conflict, violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters. It also includes those living in camps or dispersed among host populations.” However, when it comes to displacement, it can be difficult to determine a cut-off date for when it can be considered ‘protracted’ because displacement is a dynamic, fluid phenomenon, resulting in some disagreements between international agencies and scholars (Crawford et al. 2015).
- Conflict-induced migration/displacement
According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him or herself of the protection of that country.”
- Refugee Status Determination (RSD)
RSD is a crucial part of an individual being recognised officially as a refugee. It refers to the administrative (or legal) process by which states (or UNHCR where governments are unable/unwilling) determine whether a person seeking international protection is a refugee (under international, regional, or national law) (UNHCR 2016g).
- Prima facie status
According to UNHCR’s Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status, “[s]ituations have […] arisen in which entire groups have been displaced under circumstances indicating that members of the group could be considered individually as refugees. In such situations the need to provide assistance is often extremely urgent and it may not be possible for purely practical reasons to carry out an individual determination of refugee status for each member of the group. Recourse has therefore been had to so-called ‘group determination’ of refugee status, whereby each member of the group is regarded prima facie (i.e. in the absence of evidence to the contrary) as a refugee” (UNHCR 2011).
- Refugee Status Determination (RSD)
- Asylum seeker
The terms asylum seeker and refugee are often confused (and used interchangeably). Asylum seeker refers to an individual seeking international protection but whose claim to refugee status has not been definitively evaluated as yet. While not every asylum seeker will be recognised as a refugee, every refugee was initially an asylum seeker (UNHCR 2006).
- Internally Displaced Person (IDP)
The most common definition of IDPs is the one presented by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in a 1992 report, which identifies them as “persons who have been forced to flee their homes suddenly or unexpectedly in large numbers, as a result of armed conflict, internal strife, systematic violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who are within the territory of their own country” (Forced Migration Online 2012).
There is no consensus on what the term ‘migrant’ means, with definitions ranging from an individual of foreign birth and/or foreign citizenship to an individual moving to a new country to stay temporarily, or to settle in the long-term. Some use the terms ‘immigrant’ and ‘migrant’ interchangeably, while others distinguish the two, using the former to denote an individual who intends to be settled in the new country and the latter to denote an individual who is temporarily resident. ‘Migrant’ can be defined as an individual who is subject to immigration controls (Anderson and Blinder 2012).
- Economic migrant
An economic migrant is an individual who leaves his/her country of origin for economic reasons not related to the refugee definition. Such individuals are not entitled to international protection as refugees because they do not fall within refugee status criteria (UNHCR 2006).
- Economic migrant
A returnee is an individual who was a refugee but who has recently returned to her/his country of origin (UNHCR 2006).
- Stateless person
A stateless person is defined in Article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons as “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.” In other words, a stateless person is someone who does not have a nationality of any country. Some individuals are born stateless, others become stateless (UNHCR 2016d).
Refoulement refers to the expulsion of persons who have the right to be recognised as refugees. According to the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the principle of non-refoulement holds that: “No Contracting State shall expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” The principle of non-refoulement does not just forbid expulsion of a refugee to his/her country of origin, but to any country in which she/he might be subject to persecution (UNESCO 2016).
- Unaccompanied/separated children
When an emergency happens, many children are separated from their parents/care-givers. As the status of these children is not immediately clear, they are referred to as ‘separated’ or ‘unaccompanied’, rather than orphans. The Inter-agency Guiding Principles on Unaccompanied and Separated Children defines separated children as “those separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary care-giver, but not necessarily from other relatives. These may, therefore, include children accompanied by other adult family members.” Further, it defines unaccompanied children/minors as “children who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so” (ICRC 2004).
- Child soldiers and children associated with fighting forces (CAFF)
According to the 2007 Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups, “The internationally agreed definition for a child associated with an armed force or armed group (child soldier) is any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies or for sexual purposes. It does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities” (Child Soldiers International 2016). Many people working in child protection use the term ‘children associated with fighting forces (CAFF)’ rather than ‘child soldier’ in order to capture the diversity of the children who are involved with fighting forces.
- Home country/country of origin, host country, third country, country of first asylum
These terms are commonly used in discussions around refugees and asylum seekers.
- Home country/Country of origin
Home country or country of origin refers to the country from which a refugee (or asylum-seeker has fled). It generally refers to the nationality or country of citizenship of the refugee.
- Host country
Host country refers to the country to which the refugees have fled.
- Third country
Third country refers to the country refugees are resettled to if they are unable to go home because of continued persecution/conflict or if they live in dangerous situations or have specific needs that cannot be addressed in the country where they have sought protection.
- Country of first asylum
According to the Asylum Procedures Directive, “A country can be considered to be a first country of asylum for a particular applicant for asylum if: (a) s/he has been recognised in that country as a refugee and s/he can still avail him/herself of that protection; or (b) s/he otherwise enjoys sufficient protection in that country, including benefiting from the principle of non-refoulement; and provided that s/he will be re-admitted to that country” (UNHCR 2010).
- Home country/Country of origin
- Three Durable Solutions (http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646cf8.html):
The UNHCR has a staff of over 9,300 people working in 123 countries worldwide. In the field, UNHCR’s core work is managed from a series of regional offices, branch offices, sub-offices and field offices. The High Commissioner’s representatives head operations in the countries where the agency works, while there are also a number of regional representatives (UNHCR 2016c). Education is not such a priority within UNHCR as it is in UNRWA (Dryden-Peterson 2011). UNHCR has tended to rely on external expertise and experience when implementing education interventions, though the agency has recently begun to build its own internal capacity in education, and education has been prioritised to a greater extent over the past five years. It is currently one of six key areas of UNHCR Assistance, along with Public Health, Food and Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, HIV and Reproductive Health, and Public Health Data.
Dryden-Peterson (2011) remarks on the small size of the UNHCR Headquarters Education Unit as of 2011, in contrast to the overall size of the organisation. At the time there was only one Senior Education Officer for overall coordination, policy advice, and technical support for Field Offices, one Tertiary Education Officer and one Education Assistant for management of the UNHCR’s higher education scholarship scheme, DAFI (supported by external funding), and, frequently (though not always) an Associate Education Officer. At the regional and country level, UNHCR relied on education ‘focal points’ (usually Community Service Officers, Protection Officers, or Programme Assistants, and at times UN volunteers, rather than education experts) and Education Officers seconded from organisations such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, Irish Aid, and Save the Children. Since the Global Review in 2011, there have been a number of structural changes to the UNHCR Education Programme, which is now set up at the country level as a part of broader programming on protection and durable solutions. By 2014, there were 44 dedicated education officers: 15 on the global team, working at headquarters and regionally; and 29 in field-based positions. There has also been a significant increase in long-term contractual staff for education, particularly in emergency contexts (Tamer 2015). In addition to its own staff, UNHCR contracts over 200 national and international IPs to deliver education programmes at the field level, though there is wide discrepancy in the quality of services provided by these IPs (Dryden-Peterson 2011). Further, UNHCR has a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with key partners, including, for example, with UNICEF (global and national level) (UNHCR 1997). A number of UNICEF’s responsibilities according to the MoU are to do with reintegration of returning populations. Recently, UNHCR has launched the Learn Lab as a collaboration between UNHCR Innovation and UNHCR’s Division of International Protection, which aims to expand educational opportunities for refugees and the forcibly displaced through new approaches to learning (UNHCR Innovation 2015). Table C.1 provides a list of the key UNHCR policies, guidelines, and documents for refugee education in chronological order.
|Organising primary education for refugee children in emergency situations: Guidelines for field managers||1988|
|Guidelines for educational assistance to refugees||1992|
|Revised guidelines for educational assistance to refugees||1992|
|UNHCR Education Field Guidelines||2003|
|UNHCR Safe School and Learning Environment Guide||2007|
|Ensuring Access to Quality Education: Operational Guidance on Refugee Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas||2011|
|Refugee Education: A Global Review||2011|
|2012-2016 Education Strategy||2012|
1. Education and Protection
2. Out-of-School Children in Refugee Settings
3. Curriculum Choices in Refugee Settings
4. Mainstreaming Refugees in National Education Systems
5. Refugee Teacher Management
6. Secondary Education for Refugee Adolescents
In addition to structural changes, UNHCR’s Global Strategy for Education underwent significant strategic changes following the 2011 Global Review (Dryden-Peterson 2011). The new strategy (2012-2016) revealed a much bigger emphasis on learning and on quality of education (see box below). This shift reflected global shifts toward quality education and findings of the 2011 review, which found that “Refugee education is not serving its protective function due to a lack of focus on learning” and “UNHCR cannot meet its mandate to provide high quality and protective refugee education with the current level of human and financial resources” (Dryden-Peterson 2011, p. 7).
This education strategy is anchored in a renewed focus on ensuring the provision of refugee education, not as a peripheral stand-alone service but as a core component of UNHCR’s protection and durable solutions mandate. Quality education that builds relevant skills and knowledge enables refugees to live healthy, productive lives and build skills for self-reliance. (UNHCR, 2012, p. 7).
Listed as a priority in the UNHCR Education Strategy 2012-2016, better data and monitoring systems, systems for accountability, and quality assessments are fundamental to the success of refugee education interventions. In an attempt to help countries and other organisations monitor their own progress, in addition to proposed activities, the Education Strategy includes a number of proposed indicators on a range of topics (e.g. enrolment rates, % of teachers trained, % of Education Partners applying the Safe Schools e-learning course in their work, % of persons regularly attending accelerated learning programmes, etc.). Currently, chosen indicators vary from operation to operation, and country to country, and there are very limited central data storage systems.
The following map from UNHCR shows a composite ‘criticality’ score for each of 55 educational operations around the world based on current baseline data on a range of access indicators, including % primary school-aged children enrolled in primary education, % of secondary school-aged young people enrolled in secondary education, and % of children aged 3-5 years enrolled in early childhood education. Further, it considers % of teachers who are female, and % of teachers with professional teaching qualifications, teacher-related indicators which have proven to have an impact on both educational access and educational quality, particularly for vulnerable groups.
Figure C.1 Situation overview for UNHCR education operations (Baseline for 2016 data) (UNHCR 2016b)
The map below shows UNHCR’s target criticality scores for each of the 55 educational operations for 2016:
Figure C.2 Situation overview for UNHCR education operations (Target for 2016 data) (UNHCR 2016b)
It should be noted that for operations that remain in the critical range on the target map, significant improvements are aimed for, but because the baseline is so low, the operation will remain in the critical range even after great improvements. It should also be noted that not all indicators are available for all 55 operations. In fact, data on % secondary school enrolment are only available for 37 countries, on % teachers who are female are only available for 8 countries, on % of teachers with professional teaching qualifications are only available for 6 countries, and on children enrolled in ECE are only available for 18 countries. This information about indicators points to a well-established problem that has already been mentioned: data management and analysis systems on refugees (and their access to education) are in dire need of expansion and improvement.
The education situation for Palestinian refugees differs from most refugees worldwide. Palestinian refugees’ literacy and levels of educational attainment are among the highest in the Middle East region. UNRWA is responsible for their education. Education is its most significant programme, making up over 50% of its budget. UNWRA focuses mainly on primary education, and schools follow host country curricula.
A recent World Bank study in West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan, found that UNRWA has a world-class assessment system, and demonstrated higher levels of accountability than public schools. UNRWA students outperformed students attending public schools by over a year in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assessment.
UNRWA’s education system has been highly resilient to shocks and new rounds of migration. It managed to implement a major reform despite escalating conflict in Syria.
A number of teacher factors have contributed to the quality of education in UNRWA schools:
- UNRWA is able to attract and recruit high quality teachers, through their own (free) teachers’ colleges which guarantee employment upon successful completion
- UNRWA teachers spend more of their working time teaching than teachers in public schools
- UNRWA schools have more mandated opportunities for CPD
- UNRWA teachers are supported by qualified and experienced principals/head teachers
- UNRWA teachers exhibit more confidence, are able to use a more diverse range of teaching methods, and rely more on interactive learning activities, discussions, and assignments than their public school counterparts
As UNRWA teachers come from the same at-risk population as the students themselves, they have shared experiences with the students that allow them to serve as role models and more effectively provide psychosocial support and address learning needs.
UNRWA is seen as a leader in providing education for refugees: in a 2014 report the World Bank referred to the UNWRA education programme as particularly resilient, noting that “it has maintained effective student and teacher performance despite the ongoing shocks it faces” (Shah 2015a, p. 181), and UNRWA has managed to make significant progress on its Education Reform, as described in a recent update (UNRWA Education Department 2015). The update highlighted the full implementation of a holistic, enabling Teacher Policy; the creation of a curriculum framework and progress on embedding inclusive education, human rights, and conflict resolution into education programmes; the resilience of the reform process, despite escalating conflict; and the development of an UNRWA-wide Education Management Information System (EMIS).
UNRWA’s official policy is one of assimilation and integration into host societies. Therefore, UNRWA schools follow host country curricula (Shabaneh 2012), based on an agreement between UNRWA, UNESCO, and host countries in 1954 (UNRWA 2012). This agreement was intended to facilitate access for Palestinian refugees to host country secondary schools, as UNRWA mainly focuses on primary schools (ibid.). However, host country education policies often undermine assimilation efforts by keeping Palestinians separate from their own populations, and Palestinians themselves often resist these efforts as a result of their desire to be recognised as Palestinians with a homeland (Shabaneh 2012). Paulson’s (2015) qualitative analysis of history education in 11 conflict-affected countries, including Israel/Palestine, highlights the potential problems of segregated learning, even where a common curriculum is used: “the lived experience of young learners is likely to trump the intended educational experience when these two are mismatched.”
Not all curriculum materials come from the host countries: UNESCO has supported UNRWA to create its own textbooks on human rights and conflict resolution. Further, as mentioned earlier, the EDCs allow for some cohesiveness across all of UNRWA’s schools, as does the presence of an almost exclusive Palestinian staff (Shabaneh 2012).
|UNRWA Education: Learning Together||2012|
|Policy Education for Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance (also available in Arabic)||2012|
|Planning and Monitoring for Success||2012|
|UNRWA Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme||2012|
|Leading for the Future: Professional Development for Head Teachers/Principals||2012|
|UNRWA School Based Teacher Development (SBTD): Transforming Classroom Practices||2012|
|Assuring Quality Curriculum in UNRWA Schools||2012|
|UNRWA Teacher Policy||2013|
|UNRWA Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance (HRCRT) Education (also available in Arabic)||2013|
|School Health Strategy||2013|
|UNRWA Inclusive Education Policy (also available in Arabic)||2013|
The following figure shows the current international response to the Syrian Higher Education crisis, which involves the World University Service of Canada.
Figure F.1 The international response to the Syrian higher education crisis (WES 2015).
Mendenhall et al. (2015) have drawn from the best practice international education literature to come up with a framework for quality learner-centred education, set out in figure G.1 below.
Figure G.1 Core elements of learner-centred education (Source: Mendenhall et al. 2015)
It can be helpful to consider quality across the three key interrelated dimensions of education identified by education scholars, namely: (1) curriculum (what is taught), (2) pedagogy (how it is taught), and (3) assessment (how teaching and learning is measured) (Wyse, Hayward and Pandya 2015). Table G.1 demonstrates how each core element from the figure above links to the dimensions of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment:
|Element||Dimension||Link to Dimension|
|Meaningful and active pupil engagement||Pedagogy|
|Teachers do not just transfer knowledge and rely on rote learning, but work with pupils to ensure that they are active participants in the learning process.|
|Inclusive and respectful learning environment||Pedagogy|
|Teachers work to create a classroom climate that is welcoming to and safe for all learners, and thus conducive to learning. (This includes the use of non-violent discipline and classroom management strategies).|
|Curriculum/ Pedagogy/ Assessment|
|Differentiated instruction refers to the process by which different entry points are available to learners according to differences in knowledge, abilities, skills, etc. It happens at the level of curriculum (what all students learn, what most students learn, what some students learn), at the level of pedagogy (the variety of teaching methods employed by teachers to ensure all students are learning), and assessment (a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned). Differentiated instruction is particularly important for ensuring a quality learning experience for refugee learners, because often they come to the classroom with a broad range of learning needs.|
|Constructive classroom discourse||Pedagogy|
|Teachers enable students to engage in the active co-construction of knowledge, and work on building positive classroom discourse.|
|Relevant curriculum and language(s) of instruction||Curriculum|
|For quality learning experiences to happen, what is taught in classrooms needs to be relevant to learners, not only in terms of building on knowledge and experience they already have, but in ensuring that lessons learned are applicable for their current and future lives and contexts. For refugees, the curriculum question involves decisions around using the host curriculum or the curriculum from the country of origin (or a combination), etc. Often these choices are determined based on availability of officially recognised assessment opportunities. When it comes to language of instruction, research has demonstrated that mother tongue instruction tends to be more effective, particularly for younger learners. The UNICEF EAPRO Language, Education and Social Cohesion (LESC) initiative provides some key ideas about multilingual and mother tongue learning and research (UNICEF EAPRO 2016).|
|Conceptual learning and critical thinking|
|According to the proposed model, curriculum should not just contain key facts and figures for students to memorise, but should provide ample opportunities for learners to engage in more abstract and conceptual learning and to develop critical thinking skills that will serve them in real life beyond the classroom.|
|Varied comprehension checks and assessments|
|According to the proposed model, learners should have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in a number of meaningful ways. Where possible, assessment should be formative – i.e. contributing to the overall learning process. Further, while ‘teaching to the test’ should be discouraged, key national and international assessments should be considered to ensure that refugees’ educational achievements are officially recognised through formative, summative, and inclusive processes.|
 Academic institutions generally have Institutional Review Boards which evaluate the proposed research methodology to ensure that the research to be undertaken meets the relevant ethical standards. When working with vulnerable populations, it is usually not possible to expedite the review process, and the proposal has to go in front of a committee. This is a necessary but time-consuming process.