Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

UNHCR to impart primary education to 61,500 refugee children

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ISLAMABAD, JAN 19 (DNA) –United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) would enroll 61,500 refugee children during the year 2021, providing them an access to primary education.

The children would impart education in 137 schools of 54 refugee villages set up across the country, said UNHCR Pakistan report. UNHCR had been providing access to primary education to Afghan refugees from the past four decades.

At the outset of their arrival, some 96 percent of the refugee population was living in camps and villages and emergency education was provided on-site, said the report.

Only 32 percent of the registered refugee population resides in 54 villages throughout the country, while the majority (68 percent) was living in urban and semi-urban areas alongside their host communities.

At the end of 2019 there were still 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, out of which 500,000 children are in school going age. Many of these children had been accessing Pakistan’s national education system.

Available data suggests that more than 20 percent of refugee children that are enrolled in schools attend Pakistani public schools, followed by Afghan and Pakistani private schools, it added.

The UNHCR education strategy will demonstrate the importance of burden-sharing with government and support the absorption capacity of schools to mitigate the impact of refugee children’s inclusion within the national education system.

For the past 40 years UNHCR has and will continue to, fully fund the refugee education programmes over 146 schools in the refugee villages (103 schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 35 in Balochistan, 8 in Punjab) catering for the education needs of some 56,000 children.

UNHCR continued to assist students in obtaining a quality education through the provision of textbooks, learning material and uniforms alongside scholarship support to those seeking higher education.

UNHCR also provided financial assistance for the salaries of 1,319 teachers, education advisers and supportive staff. =DNA

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