On Friday 21st September Save the Children, Pearson and UNHCR were delighted to launch the Synthesis Report and twenty case studies for the Promising Practices in Refugee Education initiative at a conference at the UN General Assembly, New York.     

Statistics on education for refugees make for grim reading:

  • 3.5 million refugee children who are not in school, and many more who are in school, but not learning because of poor-quality teaching and a lack of educational resources.
  • Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children.
  • Just over half have access to primary education, but only 22% have the chance to attend secondary school.

Catalysing solutions for refugee education requires increased funding and political will, but also new and improved ways of providing educational services. While innovative practices in refugee education exist, they are often not well known or understood outside of their context.

The Promising Practices in Refugee Education initiative set out to identify, document and promote innovative ways to effectively reach refugee children and young people with quality educational opportunities. The Synthesis Report, captures our learnings from twenty case studies selected for their promising practices, and makes ten recommendations for policy makers and practitioners.

At the conference, 160 participants and presenters from government, civil society, academia and the private sector, came together to learn what works and to act to increase quality refugee education opportunities.

The opening high-level panel included passionate speeches from Fatuma Ismail, a World University Service of Canada scholar, Ninette Kelley, the Director of UNHCR’s New York office, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO Save the Children International, John Fallon CEO of Pearson and Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner General. They spoke about the challenges faced by refugees in their efforts to get a quality education – the passport to their futures – and the positive contribution this initiative could make towards sharing and learning from promising practices.

Six interactive workshops explored the Synthesis Report recommendations on teachers, well-being, technology, partnerships, diverse pathways and participatory approaches. We were lucky to have ten organisations featured as case studies present their work in person, demonstrating lessons learned under these recommendations.

Charlotte Bergin, an Education Adviser at Save the Children and author of the Synthesis Report gave a riveting presentation on the ten recommendations which have been grouped under three overarching pillars, aimed at improving refugee education policy and programming.   

We are hugely grateful to all the organisations who have taken part in this initiative and to those able to take part in the conference.

You can watch the recording of the opening and closing panels here and the gallery here.