After the Covid-19 pandemic caused national school closures in March of the 2019/2020 school year, students across Chad returned to their classrooms in September 2020 for two months of accelerated catch-up classes, and the 2020/2021 academic year began in November. A total of 100,856 refugees attended school in 2020/2021, 713 more than before the pandemic. Despite the increase in enrollments, the challenges remain significant as 53% of refugees age 6 to 18 may be out of school, 2 percentage points more than in March 2020 before schools closed. This increase in raw enrollment but reduction in enrollment rate can be explained by the influx of refugees from Sudan and the Central African Republic, arriving since December 2020, who are gradually accessing schools but in a lower proportion than the refugees already there. The impact of Covid-19 on the economic life of households could also explain the slowdown in registrations.
The perpetuation of Covid-19 and the onset of successive emergencies did not however prevent the continued strengthening of the inclusion of refugees into the national education system, culminating in November 2020 with the endorsement of Chad’s Refugee Education 2030 Strategy by the Minister of National Education and Civic Promotion. Throughout the year, UNHCR continued developing its partnerships, in particular by receiving a one-million-dollar grant from Education Cannot Wait for education in emergency in the south, by extending its memorandum of understanding with the Adam Barka University in Abéché in the east, and by renewing its partnership agreement for master's scholarships with the French Embassy in Chad.
Regarding higher-education, 8 new DAFI scholarships were added to the 131 renewed and an additional 5 master’s scholarships from the French Embassy were awarded while 5 were renewed. 3 doctoral students in medicine received financial support and 557 UNHCR Mixed Movements fellowships were renewed for 472 refugees and 85 Chadians. The end of the school year was marked by the participation of refugees in the Chadian national exams. 1,535 refugee candidates including 929 girls passed the Brevet exam (lower-secondary) and 616 refugees including 342 girls passed the Baccalaureate exam (upper-secondary).
More refugees attended school in Chad during the 2020/2021 academic year than ever before, and thus the challenges remain significant to ensure access to quality education for all. The increasing need for education, in the face of the continued reduction in financial resources, remains a growing concern.