Migrant children: giving priority to education

At its meeting in Amman, the Migration Committee expressed its deep concern at member States’ failure to respect their undertakings with regard to education for migrant children, and stressed the urgent need to provide “efficient educational programs", as well as appropriate infrastructures and teaching resources.

While recalling that states’ duty to provide the right to education is enshrined in many fundamental international texts, the committee called on member States to provide primary and secondary classroom education accessible to all migrant children and free of charge.
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The report prepared by Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC), adopted by the committee, indicates that in 2016, only 61% of refugee children had access to primary education compared with a global level among children of 91%. An average of 23% refugee adolescents attended lower secondary school compared to 84% of adolescents and only 1% of refugees were attending university compared to 36% worldwide. Out of 6.4 million primary and secondary school-age refugees around the world, an estimated 3.5 million had no school to go to.

In conflict zones, schools must be considered as a sanctuary not to be used by military or police forces, parliamentarians said. In countries not directly touched by war, domestic legislation should prohibit the presence or entry of police or armed forces inside classes (for purposes of expulsion of irregular migrants, for instance), they added.

Noting that education remains a powerful tool for integration of migrants and refugees, the committee has proposed a series of measures guaranteeing access to education for migrant children.