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Access to quality education at risk for 14 million internally displaced boys and girls

With new research on the number of school-age children uprooted by conflict and disasters in 13 crisis-affected countries, a new report reveals the barriers they face accessing quality education and the cost of providing them with educational support.  

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that there were 7.1 million boys and 6.9 million girls, aged five to 17, in Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Iraq, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen at the end of 2021. The highest numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) of school-age were found in Afghanistan, the DRC and Syria, with two million, 1.9 million and 1.7 million, respectively. 

“Internal displacement affects children’s access to education, its quality and their learning outcomes. Despite the wide-reaching, long-lasting impacts of this challenge, there are no internationally comparable figures on IDPs’ school attendance or achievements, yet this information is vital for planning and costing effective responses. This report takes a first step towards bridging these knowledge gaps,” said Christelle Cazabat, IDMC's Head of Programmes.  

IDMC estimates that, across the 13 countries studied, the average cost of providing each displaced child with educational support for one year is between $81 - $93, depending on the country and the displacement context. This translates to an overall cost of between $1.1 - $1.3 billion for a year of education for the 14 million school-aged IDPs.   

More than nine million internally displaced children could be at risk of missing out on an education because resource constraints and insufficient funding meant that they did not receive support through humanitarian response plans in 2021. Access to education varies depending on a displaced child’s gender, disability status and other characteristics. For example, current trends suggest that only one in three girls in crises-affected countries will have completed secondary education by 2030. 

“Internally displaced people, of all ages, are largely unaccounted for compared with refugees and migrants, and little data of any kind is disaggregated by age, making internally displaced children twice invisible,” said Christelle Cazabat.  

Governments are primarily responsible for the provision of IDPs’ education and related data collection, but support from the international community is often necessary. Promising guidance, tools and initiatives are emerging to improve the quality, interoperability and sharing of such data, yet more resources are needed to safely identify and monitor IDPs systematically.  

IDMC's report 'Informing better access to education for IDPs' was financially supported by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.  


Notes to editors:

Visit our landing page to explore the report’s findings. A selection of images and infographics are available upon request.   

About IDMC:  

Every day, people flee conflict and disasters and become displaced inside their own countries. IDMC, established in 1998 as part of the Norwegian Refugee Council, provides data and analysis and supports partners in identifying and implementing solutions to internal displacement. 

Data sources: 

The 13 countries studied were selected based on high levels of internal displacement and availability of data to conduct the analysis.  

The estimate of 14 million IDPs of school-age across 13 countries at the end of 2021 is based on national-level demographic data from the 2019 UN World Population Prospects. 

The average cost of providing one displaced child with educational support for one year is calculated using costing data from UN OCHA's humanitarian response plans published for each country.   

For interviews please contact:   

Frankie Parrish, communications consultant  


Mobile: +44 7977 412560    


Dawn Vout, head of external relations  


Mobile: +41 78 656 4622