The EU’s drive to invest in refugee education

Making education a priority in crisis response.

Location: Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan

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  Education is often the first service to be disrupted during times of crisis and the last restored – it is a neglected priority and receives only 2% of humanitarian funding    ©Sandra Calligaro/NRC 2016. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

Education is often the first service to be disrupted during times of crisis and the last restored – it is a neglected priority and receives only 2% of humanitarian funding

©Sandra Calligaro/NRC 2016. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

The future of refugee children, and their hosts, starts with education. The EU has made education a priority in its crisis response and has become one of the largest donors in the sector. The EU’s education policy framework includes strong commitments on refugee education, including:

  • The EU includes displaced children, young people and their host communities in EU education actions;

  • The EU is committed to help bring children and young people back to education within three months;

  • EU humanitarian action and development cooperation work together from the very beginning of a crisis to ensure both much needed short-term response and that ultimately refugee children and young people are included in national education systems.

Since 2015, the EU has funded education in emergencies (EiE) actions worth nearly EUR 300 million. The EU has gone from dedicating 1% to 8% of its humanitarian funding to EiE, aiming for 10% as of 2019. Two thirds of this funding has included support to refugees and their hosts – over EUR 60 million in 2018 alone.

From the development side, over 60% of the EU's EUR 3.4 billion bilateral support to education is allocated to crisis-affected countries, where over 6 million refugees are hosted. In the Syria regional crisis, the EU has mobilised more than EUR 1.5 billion for education. In the last six months alone, the EU has invested an additional EUR 106 million in education for refugees and their hosts in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

The EU is a major donor of the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait, two main global initiatives contributing to improving access to education for refugee children and young people.

For more information please contact Judit.BARNA@ec.europa.eu