Refugee Access to Tertiary Education

  • Michael Platzer


Sixty million people are seeking refuge, either in safer parts of their country or region or abroad, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Around 10% are of university age; in other words, among them are six million young men and women, less than 1% of whom have access to tertiary education. These potential students represent “a lost generation,” a huge cadre of physicians, engineers, teachers, economists, and agronomists who, under different circumstances, could have made valuable contributions to the world. Lack of access, however, is discouraging them from fulfilling their dreams through higher education. These are precisely the people a postconflict country needs to lead and in order to rebuild. The 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (A/RES/71/1, para. 82) stated that “higher education serves as a powerful driver for change, shelters and protects a critical group of young men and women, by maintaining their hopes for the future, fosters inclusion and nondiscrimination and acts as a catalyst for the recovery and rebuilding of post-conflict countries.” Yet UNHCR, donor countries, and host countries provide few facilities for these potential young professionals to complete their education. This chapter will describe what is being done and what could be done better.


Recognized refugees Undocumented immigrants Tertiary education Distance learning Nostrification 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Platzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Academic Council on the United Nations SystemViennaAustria

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