Forced Migration Review – March 2019 : Special Issue Theme: Education: needs, rights and access in displacement

Featured Journal Content

Forced Migration Review (FMR)
FMR 60 March 2019
Special Issue Theme: Education: needs, rights and access in displacement
Education is one of the most important aspects of our lives – vital to our development, our understanding and our personal and professional fulfilment throughout life. In times of crisis, however, millions of displaced young people miss out on months or years of education, and this is damaging to them and their families, as well as to their societies, both in the short and long term. This issue of FMR includes 29 articles on Education, and two ‘general’ articles.

Foreword: Education – a humanitarian and development imperative
Manuel Bessler
For far too long, donors and the international community have neglected education in humanitarian response. Switzerland was no exception. Food, water, health and shelter were the usual priorities during emergencies, while education was considered more of a long-term objective to be tackled by national governments and development agencies once a crisis was over.

However, we were wrong. We simply ignored the families’ tendencies to see their children’s education – often interrupted or absent – as a priority need in displacement. We were not sufficiently aware of education’s life-sustaining and protective role during conflict and crisis. We underestimated the impact education can have on peaceful coexistence and misjudged the social and economic consequences of the lack of education during displacement for both host and home countries…

This edition of Forced Migration Review is timely and necessary. In a time of unprecedented displacement, rising hostilities and an increase in protracted conflicts, it is important to recall what is at stake if displaced girls and boys are prevented from going to school. Education is the most powerful means of breaking cycles of vulnerability and poverty, and without education there can be no sustainable development. The young displaced generation has enormous potential for contributing to society. However, greater international commitment is needed to support countries dealing with rising population movements. Eighty-five per cent of refugees live in developing countries that already struggle with over-stretched education systems. We need to provide assistance to countries to ensure that displaced children can access local schools. We need to provide support to national education ministries, teachers and parents so that both displaced and host-community children can learn and grow up in safe, child-friendly environments. We need to find creative solutions to enable children and youth who have missed out on learning to catch up. All this requires the joint action of the humanitarian and development communities, NGOs, multi- and bilateral agencies and the private sector. Switzerland calls on others to follow suit by prioritising education in policy making, funding and action on the ground. The provision of education for displaced children and youth is both an immediate emergency response and an effective way to work towards durable solutions during protracted displacement.

[29 articles on this theme included in this issue]