A New School Year for the 5 Million Forcibly Displaced Children in the Region
The 2020-2021 school year has been completed for all countries in the West & Central Africa region, despite some delays and adjustments to the academic calendars due to the effects of Covid-19 closures that delayed the start of the school year in many countries.
During the 2020-2021 school year, more than half of refugee children in WCA did not attend school, with a drastic drop between primary and secondary (from almost 60% enrolled in primary to only 15% enrolled in secondary), while just over 1% of the 18-24 had access to higher education and vocational training. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, and Nigeria were the countries with the lowest average enrolment rates, while Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, and Ghana were the countries with the highest ones.
This confirms the findings of UNHCR's 2021 global education report ‘Staying the course’ - The challenges facing refugee education, which focuses on secondary education, the crucial yet critically under-resourced stage for refugees towards greater independence and improved prospects in life.
Despite these challenges, refugee learners who have the chance to go to school are more than motivated to succeed. The proof is in their end-ofyear exam results, which are as good as or even better than their national peers (see following page).