Geneva: More than half of the world's 14.8 million school-aged refugee children are currently missing out on formal education, the UN refugee agency UNHCR has said.
William Spindler, spokesperson for the UNHCR, told a press briefing here on Friday that according to the 2023 UNHCR Refugee Education Report, by the end of 2022, the number of school-aged refugees jumped nearly 50 per cent from 10 million a year earlier, Xinhua news agency reported.
Refugee enrolment in education varied dramatically by education level in reporting countries, with 38 per cent enrolled in pre-primary level, 65 per cent in primary, 41 percent in secondary, and just six per cent in tertiary, he said.
He told reporters that with 20 percent of refugees living in the world's 46 least-developed countries and more than three-quarters living in low- and middle-income countries, the costs of educating forcibly displaced children fell disproportionately on the poorest.
Ahead of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, which will fall on Saturday, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday delivered a message saying: "On this day, we shine a light on a startling truth: 224 million children and young people are in urgent need of educational support -- including 72 million who are out-of-school altogether -- because of crises like armed conflict."
He called on "all countries to ensure the protection of schools, children and teachers at all times".