A volunteer giving Greek language lessons at the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens, Greece | Photo: EPA/Alexandros Vlachos
A volunteer giving Greek language lessons at the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens, Greece | Photo: EPA/Alexandros Vlachos

UNHCR and Teach For All have started a project that offers young refugee graduates the opportunity to work as teachers. It's part of the UNHCR's effort to make sure more refugees get the chance to go to university. Currently, only 3% of young refugees are enrolled in higher education.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR is launching a teaching fellowship program for refugees in partnership with Teach For All, the organizations announced on Wednesday, July 7.

According to a statement released by UNHCR, the goal is to provide work opportunities for refugee university graduates and to support the inclusion of refugees in host communities. That's because, according to the World Bank, the economic returns for those who attend college are the highest. The bank estimates an average of 17% increase in earnings for each year of schooling attended.

The project will be piloted in several countries in Africa with the aim of expanding to other countries, UNHCR and Teach for All said.

Teach for All is a international network of organizations that recruit graduates to teach in underfunded schools and provide them with training. Now, refugee graduates in several host countries will be part of the teacher cohorts. It is hoped they will develop as "inspirational classroom leaders" to help inspire younger refugees to follow suit.

Higher education: Only 3% of young refugees enrolled

"This exciting partnership with Teach for All will help refugee graduates to transition into the job market and fulfil their immense potential as active members of their host communities," said Rebecca Telford, UNHCR's Chief of Education.

The program is aimed specifically at DAFI scholarship recipients. The UNHCR, in cooperation with the German government, runs the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI), which supports refugees getting a bachelor degree in their host country.

DAFI is part of the UNHCR's effort to increase the number of refugees at universities. The UN agency wants 15% of young refugees to be enrolled in higher education by 2030. At the moment, that number is just 3%.

"Employment opportunities such as the ones provided by the Teach For All network are vital to advancing the full social and economic inclusion of refugees who have completed an undergraduate degree and have valuable skills and talent to bring to the teaching profession," stated the UNHCR press release.


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