How does education affect migration from fragile and conflict-affected areas?

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Helpdesk Query:

What evidence is there that lack of education in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) is a pull factor for migrants, and to what extent does the provision of education reduce the desire of people to move? We are interested in the specific question of the extent to which migration from fragile and conflict affected countries can be influenced by education provision. This should include the extent to which refugee decisions about moving from a first country of asylum are affected by education provision.


This report found that almost all of the information on education and migration from fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) deals with integrating refugees into schools, providing schools in refugee camps, and/or using education to promote peace and tolerance. This body of literature often includes the educational level and status of migrants, but does not examine whether education is a reason for migration.

The large quantity of literature examined for this review (approximately 100 studies) on reasons for migrating away from conflict showed no evidence that education was a strong factor in decisions. Violence, security, economic factors and social networks are all given consistently in the literature as the primary drivers of migration from FCAS.

In general, across low-income contexts, more educated people are more likely to migrate, due to a combination of greater aspirations and lack of appropriate employment in their home environment.

The literature suggests that education plays very little role in the decision to leave a conflict-affected area, as this is primarily a security issue, followed by livelihoods issues. However, education may play a part once people are on the move, in deciding where to go.

There is little to no evidence to suggest that provision of education in FCAS would change migration flows; as education is not a key driver of migration such provision is not likely to overcome the stronger drivers of insecurity and livelihood opportunities.

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