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Report highlights progress in education for refugee kids

A report from the United Nation’s education, science and cultural arm (UNESCO), has highlighted the progress made by countries in making schools more inclusive for refugee children.

Despite some attempts to deny these children’s right to education, the report found that eight of the top 10 refugee hosting countries had made progress recently.

The top champions for refugee kids included a number of low income countries, such as Chad, Ethiopia and Uganda, with Canada and Ireland among the global leaders in education for immigrant children.

The report also recognised the investment made by countries such as Rwanda and Iran to ensure that refugees in their countries attend school side-by-side with nationals.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, said:

Everyone loses when the education of migrants and refugees is ignored. Education is the key to inclusion and cohesion.

Increased classroom diversity, while challenging for teachers, can also enhance respect for diversity and an opportunity to learn from others.  It is the best way to make communities stronger and more resilient.

Ireland has the highest percentage of first-generation immigrants in the European Union and UNESCO singled out the country for praise after creating an entire inclusive education system following the financial crisis that hit the country in 2008.

Other countries were also praised. Canada, with the largest percentage of immigrants among the seven richest industrialised countries, makes sure children learn about migration from the age of six years old, and has enshrined multi-culturalism in its constitution.

The analysis was conducted as part of UNESCO’s 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report. The GEM report is an annual publication first launched in 2016, which monitors the progress of countries in meeting the UN’s sustainable development goal on quality education.

Photo: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

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