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Reimagining education for refugees post-pandemic

Reimagining education for refugees post-pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has led directly to prolonged and unpredictable school programming with the closure of schools, universities, technical and vocational training institutes. Pre-existing operational and logistical constraints coupled with the effects of a global pandemic have made it even harder for refugees and asylum seekers to access education. World Refugee Day on 20 June presents an ideal opportunity for sector players to reimagine education approaches that will ensure continued access for refugee scholars in line with SDG 4 (Accessing Quality Education).

Prior to the pandemic, refugees had limited access to higher education opportunities with a 3% rate of access to higher education versus the 37% global rate. Some of these stem from:

- Regulatory environments that hinder enrolment;
- High cost of education;
- Limited proficiency in the language of instruction in the host community.

Bridging this gap is a global priority in accordance with the Global Compact for Refugees, which advocates for the inclusion of refugees in national education systems and promotes systemic planning during crises and protracted displacement. With increased uncertainties due to the evolving pandemic, and restructuring of budgetary allocations, the 3% rate of access to higher education could sink to a historic low. A multistakeholder refugee response framework is necessary to increase access to quality education for refugees, opening up better economic opportunities that improve their livelihoods.

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