United Nations agencies, donors, NGOs, and civil society actors reaffirmed their commitments to refugee education last week during a high-level side meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, pledging to promote the approach outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees. That compact, likely to be endorsed by the General Assembly by year’s end, proposes an ambitious new system for responding to global displacement crises and improving the lives of refugees.
What will it take to fulfill that pledge? Sarah Dryden-Peterson and her team have been researching refugee education for 15 years, and her work shows that a global commitment to refugee education must include a commitment to high-quality learning and to teachers who can build relationships across lines of difference. To achieve the vision laid out in the global compact, hosting nations and the world’s refugee community must keep the following broad considerations in mind.
Include Refugee Students in National Schools
First, Dryden-Peterson and her team find that inclusion of refugees in national schools can increase access to schools, to qualified teachers, to sequenced curriculum, and to formal certification. They also find that refugee students and their families value the stability of these systems, especially when exile usually lasts for a decade or more.