Right now, only 3 percent of refugees have access to higher education.UNHCR and partners have committed to ensuring that 15 percent of young refugee women and men can access the benefits of higher education by the year 2030—the 15by30 target.
UNHCR’s education strategy, Refugee Education 2030: A strategy for refugee inclusion aims to foster the conditions, partnerships, collaboration and approaches that lead to all refugee, asylum seeker, returnee and stateless children and youth and their hosting communities – including internally displaced persons – to access inclusive and equitable quality education, including at the tertiary level.
The Global Compact on Refugees affirms that “in line with national education laws, policies and planning, and in support of host countries, States and relevant stakeholders will contribute resources and expertise to expand and enhance the quality and inclusiveness of national education systems to facilitate access by refugee and host community children (both boys and girls), adolescents and youth to primary, secondary and tertiary education.”
The Compact further recognizes the importance of “measures to strengthen the agency of women and girls, to promote women’s economic empowerment and to support access by women and girls to education (including secondary and tertiary education).”
Access to secondary and tertiary education is the first step in closing the gap between learning and earning and is central to the objectives of the Global Compact to enhance refugee self-reliance. UNHCR and a strong network of commitment partners are developing a strategic roadmap to support progress towards the 15by30 target.
The roadmap recognizes the need for more robust reporting and monitoring of tertiary education enrollment of refugees. The roadmap emphasizes the crucial role that student support plays in ensuring that students complete secondary school and can transition to and thrive in higher education. The roadmap highlights the variety of tertiary education pathways available to refugees and offers strategies for optimizing, coordinating and expanding opportunities overall.
UNHCR stands ready to work with refugees, partners and stakeholders to ensure that access to higher education and all the benefits that accrue as a result of tertiary studies become a reality for more young refugee women and men.