UNHCR, Save the Children and Pearson join forces to tackle refugee education crisis


LONDON: February 2017: UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, Save the Children, the global children’s charity, and Pearson, the world’s largest education company, have joined forces to identify innovative projects that are helping refugee children to learn. The ‘Promising Practices’ initiative will not only raise awareness of existing efforts, but is also calling for organisations working in the field, businesses, government and individuals to submit ideas that are providing education solutions for improving access to, and the quality of, refugee education. This is important as refugee children globally are five times less likely to attend school than other children, with 50% of primary school-aged refugee children and 78% of secondary school-aged refugee children completely left out of the education system.

The initiative aims to draw attention to the need to educate these children and young people to help them to become productive citizens and community members whether in exile, on return home or settled in another country.

The innovations submitted will be documented in a report launched later in 2017. Visit www.promisingpractices.online for more information and to submit ideas.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filipo Grandi said: “While the challenges of providing education to the world’s refugee children are multiple and varied, with sustained attention, a commitment to creativity and sufficient political will and funding, we believe they can be overcome.”

Kevin Watkins CEO of Save the Children UK said: “We need to do more to support countries hosting refugees to ensure that they can provide quality basic services including education, but we also need to support new ways of providing refugees with quality learning opportunities. The Promising Practices in Refugee Education initiative which we are launching today is designed to source, identify, document and promote existing innovative practices that if scaled up could help close the education gap for refugees around the world.”

Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer of Pearson added: “As an education company we're acutely conscious of the education challenges faced by refugee children. Business has an important contribution to make in finding innovative solutions, but we need to act now to educate a lost generation before it’s too late.”

An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from their homes, the highest levels of human displacement on record. Among them are over 21 million refugees: people who have fled their country seeking protection from violence or persecution.

Leaving behind their homes refugees must start again. To make matters worse the majority of refugee children experience the double jeopardy of losing both their homes and their education. Of the 6 million school-aged refugees under the mandate of UNHCR, almost 4 million are out of school.

Refugee children have the same right to access education as other children and need the skills and knowledge that education provides to help them adjust to their new circumstances, integrate into communities and ultimately to thrive.


About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology.
Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit www.pearson.com.

About Save the Children

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the UK and around the world, we work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. For more information visit: www.savethechildren.org.uk


The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights is the UN refugee agency. UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.

Since its establishment in 1950, UNHCR has provided vital assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people helping to save lives and build better futures for millions forced from their homes.

Press Contacts


Tom Steiner (UK)
+44 7787 415 891

Save the Children UK

Jilly Hurley
+44 203 763 1066