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Out-of-school, out of sight? How to reach millions of children and youth denied education opportunities, including in emergency and crises contexts
Friday, 15 July 2016
6:15 PM - 7:30 PM
Conference room 8

Side Event

Thematic focus

This side event focuses on the millions of children and youth who are not in primary and secondary education while highlighting the critical need for data and evidence to reach vulnerable populations, especially internally displaced and refugee children. Failure to provide these children with real opportunities to be in school and learn will not just amount to ‘missed’ targets of the new agenda and broken promises. It will mean that this generation and possibly others to come will not be able to make their own contributions to the larger goal of sustainable development.

Contribution to the Forum

The side-event will contribute to the Forum, and specifically to the discussion on “Ensuring that no one is left behind” in sustainable development, by:

  1. Providing an update on how many children and youth are out-of-school worldwide, who they are, where they are and what keeps them out-of-school, highlighting the extent to which vulnerable groups are those that suffer most. This will be the first occasion to present a global estimate on the enrolment patterns of youth of upper secondary school age.

  2. Building the case for greater investment in data and evidence on education for the most vulnerable, in particular in crisis settings, as a critical step towards the achievement of SDG 4.

  3. Sharing key issues and challenges related to conducting research in IDP and refugees contexts that could have a direct, positive effect on education planning in affected countries, and ultimately on SDG4 monitoring.

  4. Showcasing innovative approaches and policies that have demonstrated success in helping vulnerable children (such as those in crisis settings and forced displacement) access school and learning opportunities, and formulating policy recommendations for better inclusion of data and research as part of the global humanitarian approach to sustainable development.

    With the Sustainable Development Goals all countries agreed on new targets for 2030, including universal completion of primary and secondary education. However, many countries have yet to reach the former Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education that was supposed to be achieved in 2015. Moreover, there are signs that the previous rate of progress is grinding to a halt just as the international community embarks on the new ambitious agenda. The challenges to achieve universal primary and secondary education are immense. Children and young people without access to quality learning opportunities have little chance of participating fully in, and benefiting from, sustainable development.

    The focus on equity also requires the global community to re-engage with issues that have been frequently highlighted, yet rarely, if ever, confronted or operationalized. Access to learning opportunities for forcibly displaced children and youth is undoubtedly a key issue in the discussion of achieving universal completion of primary and secondary education globally, and sustaining positive change in this area.

    This side event will illustrate the magnitude of the challenge that the global education community faces in getting all children and youth in school by 2030. For the first time, this event will present a new set of indicators showing just how many children and youth are not in primary or secondary school worldwide. This global release will also highlight regional trends and present disparities in terms of gender, location and wealth. Further, as more than half of the world’s out-of-school children live in conflict-affected areas, this side event will examine key challenges to the provision of effective and relevant education in emergency and crisis situations

    Despite the critical importance of providing education in conflict-affected situations, education remains the least funded humanitarian intervention. Moreover, recent displacements towards Europe highlight the fact that education for forcibly displaced children is a global issue, affecting all countries and challenging the responsibility of all stakeholders to guarantee the universal right to education. Yet, little is known about the learning opportunities of forcibly displaced children. The lack of data makes it difficult, if not impossible, to monitoring their educational needs while identifying what works in which contexts and coping with the acute financing constraints.

    The side event will show Member States and Forum participants how the critical lack of data and evidence jeopardizes the right to education of many children by preventing stakeholders from optimizing resources, making evidence-based decisions and preventing dissemination of best practices.

    It will feature a keynote speech by Karen AbuZayd, Special Adviser on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, about the education crisis facing forcibly displaced children, and presentations by several experts, including Aaron Benavot of the Global Education Monitoring Report and Albert Motivans of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Kimberly Robertson of the UNHCR and Mary Mendenhall from Teachers’ College Columbia University.


    Presentation 1: Global overview , the educational situation of forcibly displaced children and youth

    Karen AbuZayd, Special Adviser on the UN Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants

    Presentation 2: Out-of-school children and adolescents, global progresses and new challenges:

    Albert Motivans, UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Aaron Benavot, UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report

    Presentation 2: Worlds apart, variations in forcibly displaced children’s situations, what we know and what we don’t :

    Dr. Mary Mendenhall, Teachers College, Columbia University

    Presentation3: Towards better data and evidence for education in conflict-affected situations

    Kimbely Robertson, United Nations, High Commissioner for Refugees


    UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR) and BE2 Education in Emergencies and Crises Working Group: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), United Nations, High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), UNICEF.

United Nations