Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Releases Guidance Note on Higher Education for Refugees
Today, only 5% of refugee students worldwide have access to post-secondary education opportunities, which severely limits their ability to seek employment. This reality causes despair and encourages further migration. However, investments in post-secondary education can provide stability and security in host communities where refugees can contribute to the local economy.
In light of this, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has released a guidance note titled: A Path Forward: Building a Future for Refugee Students Through Post-Secondary Education. This policy brief includes the stories of refugee students as well as recommendations for how the United States, and others, can support increased postsecondary education opportunities.
Post-secondary education includes anything that encourages the development of a sustainable livelihood that is not dependent on humanitarian assistance, such as degree programs at institutions of higher learning, vocational training for careers in local industries and sectors, or technical training that teaches in-demand skills. .
The higher education systems of many host countries are not sufficiently prepared to offer refugees the same opportunities that they can offer other populations within their communities. In addition, post-secondary education opportunities are significantly limited for refugee women and refugees with disabilities. These additional barriers can take the form of broader societal attitudes towards these populations, gender-based violence, forced marriages, and limited resources to train teachers to properly include them in their lessons.
JRS helps refugees overcome the obstacles they face through its Pathfinder programme. The objective of the program is to build resilient refugee and host communities through education that leads to employment or entrepreneurial activities in the form of assistance such as scholarships, access to technology appropriate and short-cycle vocational/vocational training.
A key part of the JRS approach is to conduct a market system analysis of the local area, which identifies the areas of work that will offer the greatest potential for study and employment. JRS also provides refugees with start-up support, career advice and entrepreneurial advice to ensure refugees are supported at every stage of their journey to self-reliance.
In the policy brief, JRS includes recommendations for actions the US government can take to better close the gap that refugee populations face in accessing post-secondary opportunities. Although progress has been made, there is still a long way to go to reach the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ 15 million by 30 target, which aims to increase the number of refugees enrolled in higher education to 15% of the total number of refugees in the world. population by 2030.
By using JRS policy recommendations, not only can the US government (as well as other governments and organizations) increase its ability to achieve UNHCR’s goal, but it can also play a central role in building political will. and generating financial resources to help create a better future for millions of refugees around the world. For more information or to answer any questions you may have after reading the report, please contact Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy and Operations at JRS/USA.