FY 15: Global, National and Local Intersections: Educational Policies and Schooling Practices for Urban Refugees (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 14, 2015

This research is ongoing. The final reports will be posted upon completion.


The Teachers College of Columbia University will conduct a year-long study funded by PRM on the policies and practices of urban refugee education. Beirut, Nairobi, and Quito, the three research sites, were chosen for their range of policies and practices. As two-thirds of global refugees are now in urban environments rather than rural camps, they face a new host of risks: arrest, forced repatriation, discrimination, xenophobia, sexual and gender-based violence, and human trafficking. These may be aggravated by social and economic exclusion from the host population. Education becomes a low priority in the face of these challenges, leaving refugee children unprotected. Host countries may even restrict refugees’ access to education or implement discriminating policies. Whereas camp refugees may benefit from UNHCR schooling and resources, urban refugees face both limited and lower-quality education options.


  • Research the intersection between global and national policies and local schooling practices for urban refugees;
  • Conduct, present, publish and disseminate high quality mixed methods research that provides evidence-informed policy and programmatic recommendations at global, national and local levels for the education of urban refugees.