Education and the ‘No Lost Generation’ commitment

Have the world's leaders given up on Syria’s children? 

In 2016 world leaders made a promise to Syria’s refugee children: there would be ‘no lost generation’ and Syrian children would have a place in school with in a year of resettling in neighbouring countries. Four years on, despite some early progress, they have not delivered on this promise. The world's leaders must not give up on Syria’s children, and education must be on the agenda at the Brussels Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region.

Time for renewed effort, energy and commitment

At the London Syria conference in 2016 world leaders made a promise to Syria’s refugee children: there would be ‘no lost generation’ and Syrian children would have a place in school within a year of resettling in neighbouring countries. Four years on, despite some early progress, we have not delivered on this promise. There are currently over two million Syran refugee children living in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt; almost 750,000 of these children are still out of school. This is in addition to the two  million children inside Syria - over one third of Syria’s child population - out of school.

In these five main countries hosting Syrian refugees, progress in getting Syrian refugee children into school has either stalled or been in decline since 2017. This is partly due to a continued increase in the refugee population in these countries, but it also reflects gaps in funding and weaknesses in the planning and delivery of education programmes for refugees. 

As world leaders meet virtually for the fourth Brussels Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region, we need renewed  effort, energy and commitment. Specifically, leaders must: 

  • Put children’s education on the conference agenda. It would represent a complete dereliction of responsibility if the conference failed to include the views of refugee children, civil society and others calling for action on education. 

  • Close the financing gap. None of the refugee-hosting countries in the region have had their full assessed funding needs for education fulfilled by donors, and overall there is a financing gap of $556 million million between the financing available for education in the region, and the assessed need.

  • Support governments in refugee-hosting countries to develop fresh, multi-year education plans that are nationally-owned but have wide buy-in from stakeholders and improve their focus on performance and results.

With the 2019–20 academic year derailed by Covid-19 and looming uncertainty for 2020–21, Syria’s children are more vulnerable than ever. But they haven’t given up on the hope of an education, and all the self-confidence and sense of purpose it can bring. World leaders should not give up on the.

Briefing document

Briefing

Keeping our promise to Syria’s refugees

The London Conference in 2016 spurred a wave of investment and action that helped drive progress in providing education for Syrian refugee children. This progress, however, has stalled since 2017. In this briefing we makes three recommendations for how donor host countries, UN agencies and civil society can change course.

Take action

On June 30, 2020 the European Union and the United Nations will co-chair the fourth Brussels Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region. The virtual conference is an opportunity for leaders to discuss how to address the crisis in Syria and the region. The education of Syria’s children should be at the heart of this agenda, but the issue has been sidelined. Leaders have previously promised that there will be ‘no lost generation’ and Syrian refugees will be in school within a year of re-settlement, but almost 750,000 Syrian children are still waiting for a school place at school. 

Send a message to the conference co-chairs that they must not give up on Syria’s children, and education must be on the agenda.

Take action - Tweet Josep Borrell Fontelles and Mark Lowcock and tell them to put education at the heart of the Brussels conference.


"Almost 750,000 Syrian refugee children are still waiting to go school. We should not give up on them. Put education at the heart of #SyriaConf2020. @UNReliefChief @JosepBorrellF"



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Our open letter to delegates

We've coordinated a coalition of 21 global charities to highlight that #SyriaConf2020 is failing to address Syrian refugee children’s education.

OPEN LETTER TO ALL DELEGATES AT THE ‘SUPPORTING THE FUTURE OF SYRIA AND THE REGION - BRUSSELS IV CONFERENCE’, 30 JUNE 2020 

We are writing to you as representatives of charitable and civil society organisations working with the children and families affected by the Syria crisis. 

We want to express our dismay and disappointment if the forthcoming Brussels conference fails to address the plight of Syrian children’s education.

The international community has repeatedly vowed that there would be ‘no lost generation’ of Syrian children, but with the conflict tragically heading towards a second decade, they are more vulnerable than ever.

The 2016 London Conference promised that all children forced to flee the war in Syria would be provided a place in school in neighbouring countries within a year. Initial progress has unfortunately stagnated or even reversed in the past couple of years, with over 800,000 Syrian refugee children (39% of Syrian refugee children) out of school. This is in addition to over 2 million children inside Syria - over one third of Syria’s child population - out of school.

You have a responsibility to renew your commitments to provide education for all Syrian refugee and displaced children. We call on you to ensure that education is not forgotten as you make your speeches and pledges on 30 June 2020. If education is not devoted the attention and resources it deserves, this would be a gross failure of political leadership. Not only will you be failing to meet your promises, but you will be failing Syria’s children. 

Syrian refugees haven’t given up on the hope of a decent life and an education. We shouldn’t give up on them.

It is not too late. You can show your commitment on the 30 June by pledging to:

  • Put children’s education on the conference agenda, by highlighting education in your statements at the Conference. It would represent a complete dereliction of responsibility if the conference fails to include the views of refugee children, civil society and others calling for action on education. 

  • Close the financing gaps, by pledging full funds for education in your support to hosting countries. None of the refugee-hosting countries in the region have had their full assessed funding needs for education fulfilled by donors, leading to an overall financing gap of $556 million for education across the region.

  • Support governments in refugee-hosting countries to develop renewed multi-year education plans that are nationally-owned, developed in partnership with refugees and other stakeholders, and have an improved focus on performance and results.

Supported by:

Theirworld

Global Business Coalition for Education

Jusoor

Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences (SKILD Center)

Maya Vakfi

Action for Education

Education Cannot Wait

World Vision International

Global Campaign for Education - US

Teach For Lebanon

Child Labor Coalition

Human Rights Watch

Save the Children

Rukmini Foundation

Notre Dame University

Plan International

Global Partnership for Education

Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies

International Rescue Committee

War Child UK

War Child Holland

Malala Fund

The MHPSS Collaborative

Global March Against Child Labour

Sesame Workshop

Open Society Foundation



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