UNHCR and the KASA High School join forces for refugee education

The newly signed agreement creates education and skill-building opportunities for refugee youth who are in Cyprus, and is an affirmation of the importance of education as a basic human right that leads to empowerment and self-reliance.

Yiannis Saveriades, Director of KASA High School, and Damtew Dessalegne, Representative of the UNHCR in Cyprus signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 8 March at the Office of the UNHCR in Cyprus.
© UNHCR/Cyprus


Nicosia, 14 March 2018 – The Office of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Cyprus and the KASA High School concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly work in the protection of refugee children in the Republic of Cyprus by ensuring them access to quality learning, education, and skill-building opportunities. The agreement, signed on Thursday 8 March, is an affirmation of the importance of education as a basic human right that leads to the empowerment of refugee children to achieve self-reliance.

KASA High School, which has been operating for over 56 years, supporting refugees comes naturally given the displacement experience that the founder of the school and his family went through themselves. “I believe that the extraordinary courage that all refugees have displayed in their search of a better future will be a huge inspiration for our school, for both students and teachers and I am sure that they too, will have a lot to teach us,” said Mr. Yiannis Saveriades, the principal of KASA High School.

“Education plays a central role in UNHCR’s refugee protection and durable solutions mandate,” said Mr. Damtew Dessalegne, UNHCR Representative in Cyprus. “I, therefore, very much welcome the willingness and readiness of KASA High School to actively support refugee education and protection in general, in partnership with UNHCR. Such partnerships are essential particularly at  present when we are confronted with many complex challenges accompanying refugees in finding safety and lasting solutions, especially when it comes to the education of refugee youth.”

Under this agreement KASA High School will offer – starting in 2018-19 school year – places to refugees and asylum-seekers who wish to obtain a high school leaving certificate. Interested individuals of 16 years or older with a good command of the English language are eligible to apply and, if  selected – following a test and interview – attend the programme, the duration of which is minimum three years of study. Download the UNHCR KASA High School Application here.

Other areas covered by the Memorandum of Understanding are public awareness, information and education activities to foster a positive and respectful attitude towards refugees and others in need of protection, provision by UNHCR expertise to enhance the quality learning and social integration of refugee children enrolled at KASA High School and UNHCR internship scheme for graduate students.

UNHCR had last year signed a similar Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Nicosia. “We call on other learning institutions to follow these examples and contribute to make quality education available to refugees,” said Mr. Dessalegne. “Participation in primary, secondary, tertiary and other education programmes can foster social cohesion, address psychological needs and provide a sense of purpose, normalcy and continuity in otherwise unsettled environments.”