Education and Displacement:Assessing Conditions for Refugees and InternallyDisplaced Persons Affected by Conflict

Authored by: Elizabeth Ferris and Rebecca Winthrop

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Economic Recovery, Human Development, Migration, Political Transitions
Country: Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Colombia
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2010
Citation: Ferris, Elizabeth and Rebecca Winthrop. Education and Displacement:Assessing Conditions for Refugees and InternallyDisplaced Persons Affected by Conflict. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2010.

Access the Resource:

Executive Summary

This report looks at the various dynamics and challenges facing the global community as it attempts to solve the global issue of internally displaced persons. To begin, the report maps out the landscape data of IDPs and refugees around the world. Most people who are displaced by conflict remain within the borders of their own countries. They are IDPs and globally number about 26 million. There are about 14 million recognized refugees in the world, nearly 5 million of whom are Palestinian refugees. An estimated 50 percent of the 26 million people internally displaced by armed conflicts are children and youth under the age of 18. The main idea of the article is on the challenges of education access for IDPs and refugees, especially women and children. Globally, there are more than 40 million refugees and IDPs forcibly displaced by armed conflict. There are at least 27 million children and youth who are affected by armed conflict and who lack access to formal education, 90 percent of whom are IDPs. Their ability to access a range of quality educational opportunities varies widely but it is important to underline that in many cases we simply do not have the data which would enable meaningful comparisons between displaced and conflictaffected groups. The Women’s Refugee Commission’s 2004 report Global Survey on Education in Emergencies used 2002 data for ten countries, and estimated that of the 3.5 million school-age refugees and IDPs in those countries, 1.8 million were in school and 1.7 million were out of school. The data, however, reveal little about the extent to which displaced children access education. From UNHCR data on child refugees, only 6% of reguee camps had all children enrolled in secondary school. However, UNHRC data is very limited within the scope of children’s education in refguee camps. How has the international community dealt with this lack of data and increase in displacement? As might be expected, education is less likely to be available in the emergency phase of displacement as international and national actors focus on security and on provision of basic necessities of life. As time goes on and displacement becomes protracted, more attention is devoted to education – though rarely sufficient to meet the needs and expectations of the refugees and IDPs.