The Refugee Education Crisis
The global education crisis involving Syrian refugees must be addressed on a much larger scale. It is imperative for Syrian children to have access to an education. They can no longer be deprived of such a vital resource. It has been reported that 1.7 million school-age children are not in primary school, and 1.95 million adolescents are not in secondary school. In order for the Syrian refugees to be prepared for the world, they need to be educated.
According to a UNHCR report, only 50 percent of refugee children have access to primary education. Educating these refugee children is important so one day they can help out their country in its crisis. The report mentions an inspiring young Somali refugee named Nawa who started receiving education at the age of 16. After four years in a proper learning environment, she was able to begin a foundation course at her university and volunteer as a teacher. Nawa’s story proves that it is not too late for some children to start getting an education and help their community.
The United Nations Refugee Agency has reported that refugee children are five times more likely than the global average to not be in school. One reason is that political crisis has a massive impact on the quality of education. The civil war in Syria has been shown to play a huge role in the refugee crisis and has harmed the overall growth of the education system. Another problem that the refugees have, which makes it hard for them to receive an education, is that many live in rural areas where it is difficult to receive an education. As cited in the report, “Missing Out: Refugee Education in Crisis”, more than half of the world’s Syrian refugees who are not attending school are living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Kenya, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Turkey, and Greece.
Turkey is trying to find ways to deal with the lack of education provided for refugees. A man named Radwan Mustafa, who fled the war in Syria, is teaching music at the Syrian Cultural Center at Turkey’s border. Mustafa believes that education and language are important for refugees to learn so that they can adapt to their surroundings. An educational specialist named Bernard Stolz said: “The huge influx of Syrian refugees in Turkey and the European countries makes it necessary to improve strategies over the diversity and social inclusion in classes so that the refugee children can be integrated into school and society.” A sociologist and social projects manager named Burcu Onenc has renovated a historic building into a school so that more children can have access to education. Turkey is working hard to get all of their refugees the education that they need.
Greece is hoping to educate Syrian refugees by sending them to public schools. There are at least 27,000 children stranded in Greece without access to education. According to an 11 year old girl named Melek, the only education they receive in Greece is one class where English and Greek are studied for one hour each day. There is a possibility that the generation of refugee children will become known as the “lost generation” due to their devastating lack of education. According to the NGO Save the Children, “In Greece, the average refugee child has been has been out of school for a year and a half.” For now, Greece is offering refugees classes to help them in preparation for when they will hopefully join more traditional classrooms by next year.
Many schools don’t have enough qualified teachers, resources, or the appropriate aid to integrate refugee children into the education system. The UNHCR has initiated a project that identifies all aspects of educational support, and has organized a regional conference that proposes national policy guidelines for improving educational opportunities for Syrian refugees.
According to Global Citizen, as of 2015, 124 million refugees had either never started school or had dropped out, and that number is steadily rising. There are significant consequences to losing precious years from a child’s education. World leaders and citizens need to do more to help educate refugee children. People all around the world need to take action now. There are countless ways to get involved, such as joining rallies, signing petitions, and using social media to spread awareness. Refugees have the right to education. We cannot allow these children to be deprived of the learning environments they deserve.
“Refugee children have lost their homes, but we cannot allow them to lose their future.” —One.org
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