Home > What We Do > Assistance > Education


What We Do

A Basic Right for a Better Future

In the midst of conflict, education is often seen as a luxury for refugees or internally displaced people who are also struggling to find food, aid and shelter. But education is a basic right, one that is vital in restoring hope and dignity to people driven from their homes. It helps them to get back on their feet and build a better future.

It is the refugees with an education, above all, who provide leadership during displacement and in rebuilding communities recovering from conflict. The future security of individuals and societies is inextricably connected to the transferable skills, knowledge and capacities that are developed through education.

UNHCR places great importance on the provision of quality education and the organization has developed a 2012-2016 education strategy that aims to develop refugees' skills and knowledge to enable them to live healthy and productive lives, and to promote self-reliance and sustainable peaceful coexistence.

The first goal of the strategy is quality: to improve education access and learning achievement among refugee children, focusing on the learning environment, teaching quality, early childhood development and accelerated learning programmes. The second goal is to increase access to post-primary education and training. The benefits of secondary education are particularly important for young refugees in developing leadership skills and capacity to contribute positively to their communities both in protracted settings and in post-conflict reconstruction.

The third goal is to expand tertiary education opportunities for refugees, both through scholarships to colleges in host countries and through distance learning. Under a programme funded by the German government since 1992, UNHCR offers higher education scholarships for refugees. The annual Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) has granted thousands of bright young refugees scholarships at universities and colleges in their host countries. The growing opportunity to take university and para-professional courses, including through distance learning, offers increased potential for refugees to develop leadership skills and improved livelihood possibilities.

UNHCR Education Briefs Rss FeedUNHCR Education Briefs

Our new Education Briefs provide information and operational guidance on a range of topics.

more documents

DAFI Scholarships

The German-funded Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative provides scholarships for refugees to study in higher education institutes in many countries.




An Education, Multiplied

The 2015 Nansen Refugee Award goes to an Afghan schoolteacher, who has transformed the lives of a thousand refugee girls in Pakistan.

UNHCR supports Sustainable Development Goal 4

The launch of SDG 4 is a window of opportunity to advocate for education for refugees.

UNHCR Education Strategy 2012-2016

UNHCR's Education Strategy aims to increase access to a range of safe, quality education opportunities for refugees.

Refugee Education: A Global Review

Published in November 2011, this report investigates the worldwide state of refugee education.

Ensuring Access to Education: Operational Guidance on Refugee Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas

UNHCR's aim in urban settings is for refugees to access quality education services at a level similar to that of nationals.

Inter–Agency Network for Education in Emergencies

A network promoting access to quality education for all people affected by crisis.