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Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa Education Newsletter, June 2021

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World Refugee Day 2021: Together we heal, learn and shine

On World Refugee Day 2021, celebrated with the theme Together we heal, learn and shine, UNHCR called for greater inclusion of refugees in health systems, schools and sport, to ensure that refugees have the opportunity to contribute to a stronger, safer and more vibrant world. Education helps people forced to flee build better futures and makes the world more resilient and peaceful.

Our vision is a future where all refugees are included in the communities that host them. Where refugees can participate in education and employment and become not only self-reliant but vital contributors to local economies. Expanding access to secondary and higher education for refugees is central to achieving this vision which is at the heart of both the Global Compact on Refugees and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Yet, right now, gaining access to higher education is still a battle against the odds for refugees with only 3% enrolled in higher education globally, and less than 1% in the West & Central Africa region.

In an effort to close the higher education gap for refugees, UNHCR has launched a new campaign called Aiming Higher seeking to enable talented refugees to get into higher education by funding their scholarships for university and technical skills training, with the objective to increase the proportion of refugee youth enrolled in higher education to 15% by 2030 (see also UNHCR’s 15by30 Roadmap).

With the Aiming Higher campaign, UNHCR is urging the private sector to be part of the effort to give young refugees the chance they need to build their own futures.