A global overview of refugee education data

This report is based on a review of 1,109 questionnaires from 621 data collection exercises (DCEs) in the top 35 low- and middle-income refugee-hosting countries in 2021, welcoming 20.58 million refugees. It aims to provide an overview of the extent to which refugees are included in education data systems but does not provide estimates of refugee inclusion of education based on these data. Overall, the number of DCEs that could contribute to refugee education data inclusion is limited due to the lack of questionnaires that simultaneously provide information on the protection status of respondents and their educational situation. There is an absence of questions that would allow for the identification of refugees with only 418 (38%) questionnaires (331 DCE or 45%) having any form of refugee identification questions. Further, only two questionnaires reviewed included the full set of questions recommended by the International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics developed by the Expert Group on IDO, Refugee and Statelessness Statistics. 

On education, the findings echo earlier work, showing that data on access to education (e.g. 341 questionnaires with information on access to schools) is far more common than data on other aspects, such as safety (31 questionnaires) and quality (167 questionnaires) (summarized in Figure 1). Further, many of the data limitations on these aspects of education are a result of the absence of refugee identification questions and the lack of inclusion of refugees as a target population. The educational indicators covered differ depending on the target population of the DCE. However, indicators on educational attainment, attendance, and literacy are relatively common across DCEs, regardless of their target populations. In sum, there are low levels of inclusion of refugees in education data systems and steps to ensure wider inclusion – both within samples and by including refugee identification questions within existing surveys – would enrich our understanding of refugee education.

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Published by

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organziation (UNESCO), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Authored by

Artur Borkowski