[Policy] Closing the funding gap on refugee education

For the world’s refugees, education is a source of opportunity and hope for a brighter future. Yet over half of all refugee children are out of school, and there is a real and present danger that a generation of refugee children will be deprived of the education they need to restore their future. Having already lost their homes, refugees are losing their education and their hopes for a brighter future. The 2023 Global Refugee Forum, the second of its kind, is an opportunity to unlock the action and funding required to educate the world’s refugees

For more information read: Closing the funding gap to ensure that refugee and host community learners can go to school. This is a joint briefing paper by the International Parliamentary Network on Education and Save the Children UK on refugee education financing.

[Report] Back to School 2023-2024: Report on education for children displaced by the conflict in Ukraine

The escalation of the conflict in February 2022 led to an unprecedented large-scale displacement of children and their families in Ukraine both in and abroad to countries in Europe. This World Vision Policy Brief discusses the critical role humanitarian organizations have in ensuring millions of children receive educational and mental health support critical to their development.

The brief argues that learning in a school setting is vital to children’s mental health, positive social development and academic achievement, so education must be fully funded in the humanitarian response. Barriers to in-person learning must be addressed by Ukraine and host governments to shift the degree of reliance on online learning.

Read: Back to School 2023-2024: Report on Education for children displaced by the conflict in Ukraine at the start of the second school year.

[Webinar] Building inclusive education systems for refugees

Date: 6 December 2023.

Time:  2pm UTC.

UNESCO, UNICEF, UNHCR, and INEE invite you to a webinar on building inclusive education systems for refugees.

As global displacement rises, there is an urgent need for inclusive education systems that also address the needs of these displaced learners. However, refugees are often overlooked in educational policies and remain unrepresented in data systems, limiting their access to quality education in their host countries.

The webinar will explore effective strategies for the inclusion of refugees in national education systems.

On the sidelines of the upcoming 2023 Global Refugee Forum, this webinar will also launch a joint inter-agency brief, two publications by UNESCO-UNHCR, and a forthcoming UNICEF publication on refugee inclusion that will build evidence and inform discussions on fostering greater inclusion for refugees in national education systems.

Register for the event.

[Webinar] The role of civil society in emergencies: Lebanon, and Occupied Palestine

Date: Thursday 30 November 2023.
Time: 2:00pm Beirut/Jerusalem time / 12pm UK time.

The Centre for Lebanese Studies invites you to attend the webinar ‘The role of civil society in emergencies: Lebanon, and Occupied Palestine’.

We are witnessing a high level of disengagement of civil society in our region from the genocide that is taking place in Palestine. This silence and disengagement pause questions around our work ethics, responsibilities, ethos and roles as institutions and individuals in these spaces.

Through this webinar, we will have a conversation and open the space to critically engage with key institutions in the region to discuss the roles of civil society institutions, especially those in the field of education, and their responsibilities and how we can ethically move forward tackling issues of funding, solidarity, and impact.

Prof. Maha Shuayb, Centre for Lebanese Studies Director

Dr. Mai Abu Moghli, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Lebanese Studies

Dr. Ghassan Slaiby, Researcher in sociology and sociology of work
Dr. Nader Wahbe, Education specialist and researcher
Ayman Qwaider, Enabling Education Network/ MENA Network Manager

Register to attend the webinar.

The webinar is followed by a Q&A session with the speakers.
(Simultaneous interpretation will be provided at the webinar).

[Advocacy] Read the new blog post ‘Education under attack in Gaza’

Written by EENET’s Arabic/MENA Network Manager, Ayman Qwaider, this blog gives an insight into the horrors of daily life in Gaza and the impact it is having on children, teachers, and education.

‘Gazans are vibrant, educated people with dreams of a better future. The aspirations of generations are under attack now more than ever before. More than 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers in the Gaza Strip have been affected by the assault on education for the last month. Children have no access to education and no safe place to hide. The Ministry of Education in Gaza has cancelled the entire academic year, and 214 schools have so far been damaged due to shelling, with 45 schools entirely out of service. Teachers have been killed in the bombardment.’

Read the full blog post in Arabic, English and French.

[Advocacy]: Gaza ~ UNESCO calls for an immediate halt to strikes against schools

UNESCO is gravely concerned about the impact of the hostilities in the Gaza Strip on students and education professionals. The Organization calls for the protection of educational establishments, which often serve as shelters for the population, and recalls that targeting them or using them for military purposes constitute violations of international law.

Following the terrorist attacks committed against Israeli civilians by Hamas on 7 October, the operations of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip have caused a serious humanitarian crisis affecting all aspects of civilian life, including education. Today, more than 625,000 pupils and more than 22,500 teachers in the area are in an extremely vulnerable situation.

Since 7 October, more than 200 schools have been damaged – around 40% of the total number of schools in the Gaza Strip – about forty of them very seriously, according to UNICEF data.

In accordance with its mandate, UNESCO reminds all actors of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law, in particular with Resolution 2601 adopted in 2021 by the United Nations Security Council, which “strongly condemns the continued attacks as well as threats of attacks that are in contravention of international humanitarian law against schools and civilians connected with schools, including children and teachers, and urges all parties to armed conflict to immediately cease such attacks and threats of attacks and to refrain from actions that impede access to education.”

UNESCO points out that this same resolution “condemns the military use of schools in contravention of international law, and recognizes that use by armed forces and armed groups may render schools legitimate targets of attack, thus endangering children’s and teachers’ safety as well as their education”.

Stay updated on the UNESCO website.

Education under attack in Gaza

This blog article was written by Ayman Qwaider (EENET’s Arabic/MENA Network Manager), 07 November 2023.

A French translation and an Arabic translation is also available.

Children as targets

Half of Gaza’s two-million population are children, and right now one of them is being killed every 10 minutes. Since 7 October 2023,[1] Gaza Ministry of Health statistics show that at least 4,100 Palestinian children have been killed in the Israeli army’s relentless bombardment. More than 1,000 more children are missing, likely buried under destroyed buildings.

Targeting civilians, especially children, constitutes a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and is considered a war crime. Children should never be targeted in any conflict by any party. Children in Gaza are the most affected by the ongoing Israeli aggression, which has deprived them of their basic rights, including access to food, water, shelter, education, healthcare, and safety.

A caged childhood

No child in Gaza today has ever known freedom. Since 2005, Gaza has experienced severe restrictions imposed by Israel, and the blockade strengthened when Hamas came to power in 2006. The UN considers Israel to be an ‘occupying power’ within Palestinian territories and the blockade violates international law. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth (5,850 per square kilometre), often described as akin to the largest open-air prison in the world.

For 16 years Gaza’s economy, infrastructure, employment, communications, education, and health systems have been strangled and the movement of its people almost entirely restricted. Most children have not experienced a full 24 hours of uninterrupted electricity supply in their lives. While the recent extremely life-threatening humanitarian catastrophe has attracted global attention, UN and humanitarian agencies have been speaking about the growing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip for many years and warning of the gross violations of multiple human rights.

Education disrupted

Gazans are vibrant, educated people with dreams of a better future. The aspirations of generations are under attack now more than ever before. More than 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers in the Gaza Strip have been affected by the assault on education for the last month. Children have no access to education and no safe place to hide. The Ministry of Education in Gaza has cancelled the entire academic year, and 214 schools have so far been damaged due to shelling, with 45 schools entirely out of service. Teachers have been killed in the bombardment.

Alaa Qwaider, a loving mother, was killed in her own home during an Israeli airstrike that destroyed her house. This devastating attack also claimed the lives of her three young children: Eman, tragically killed on her fifth birthday, Faiz, aged four, and little Sarah, only seven months old. Fourteen other family members were killed in the same airstrike, leaving only Alaa’s husband alive.

A headshot of Alaa Qwaider smiling at the camera wearing a black and white spotted headscarf.

Alaa was not only a mother but a highly respected maths teacher at a high school in Gaza City. She took great pride in her career and the important mission of educating young minds. She often shared photos of her accomplishments with me. Her dedication to teaching was evident in her interactions with her students who held her in high regard for her commitment to their education. Alaa recognised the context of her students’ lives – living under blockade for 16 years within an apartheid regime,[2] and witnessing regular military operations – and how this impacted their learning and emotional needs. She actively sought training and skills development opportunities to better support her students, especially those who had been exposed to trauma.

The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education reports that 437 higher education students and 12 academic staff were killed in the first three weeks of this latest war, 85% of whom were in Gaza. Many more students are feared buried under the rubble. The education of nearly 90,000 higher education students is disrupted as universities have been forced to suspend all operations. One university in Gaza has had to cancel its 2023-24 academic year due to the loss of all its students in Israeli bombings.

 Gaza Children’s Cinema and trauma-responsive education

Until 7 October, the Gaza Children’s Cinema (GCC) project operated within local community libraries across the Gaza Strip with the support of the initiative’s partner, the Tamer Institute for Community Education.

GCC had focused its activities in marginalized and border communities, where it reached out to children who were often hardest to access. Unfortunately, these border communities have been particularly vulnerable to destruction by Israeli forces, especially during ground incursions. Reports indicate that across the Gaza Strip, over 200,000 housing units have been either destroyed or damaged and dozens of public and service facilities – such as those used by GCC – have suffered significant damage.

GCC was purposefully created to offer alternative educational experiences and recreational activities for children deeply affected by trauma. It provided them with temporary respite from the challenging reality they faced. Before the latest aggression in Gaza, nearly one-in-three children in Gaza already received support from trauma response programmes. The current devastating bombardment on an unprecedented scale has exposed the children in Gaza to even more severe and long-lasting trauma, with consequences that will likely persist throughout their lives. But vital programmes to support them, like GCC, have been wiped out and may take many years to rebuild.

UNICEF has stated that in the last few weeks “Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children”. It’s impossible to comprehend the impact of this on Gaza’s surviving children. Trauma response education programmes will need to be an essential component of mainstream education in emergency interventions for the foreseeable future. This means scaling up relevant training for teachers and educators, and equipping them with the skills to support their students effectively. But teachers and educators, themselves traumatised, will require much more emotional and professional support to ensure they can provide the necessary assistance to their traumatised learners. However, none of this can happen until there is a complete ceasefire between the Israeli forces and Hamas.

Protecting children’s rights

The international community is taking note of this war. Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, has called it a “growing stain on our collective conscience”. UNICEF, along with hundreds of NGOs, has also called for an immediate ceasefire to protect the children in Gaza.

It is crucial for the international community to take immediate action to protect the rights and well-being of Gaza’s children, provide humanitarian aid, and work towards a sustainable ceasefire. The world must stand together to ensure that safety, healthcare and education are not luxuries but fundamental rights for all.

Gaza’s lost learners and teachers

Many thousands of innocent children, their families and teachers have been killed in Gaza, not just in recent weeks, but over the course of the last 75 years.

Osama Abu Safia[3] was a medical student at Al Azhar University in Gaza. He had recently passed the USMLE[4] Step 1 exam and was an active volunteer, promoting health education in mosques and schools. His potential to become a talented medic in the future and his contributions to his community were tragically cut short by an Israeli airstrike on Gaza.

Osama Abu Saifa smiles at the camera as he leans on a counter. He has his arms crossed and is wearing a blue t shirt. There are trophies on the shelves behind him.

Yasmine Khorshid[5] graduated just three months ago after specialising in library management. Yasmine was killed with her family, aunts, uncles and their children in Gaza City. More than 30 people from the Khorshid family were killed.

Yasmine Khorshid stands on a podium, smiling and addressing an audience. She is wearing a headscarf and a cap and gown.


Khalil Abu Yahiya[6] was killed along with his entire family in Gaza. Khalil was a lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza and was widely recognised for his brilliance as a writer, activist, and thinker.

Khalil Abu Yahikya smiles at the camera holding a bunch of flowers and wearing a graduation gown with red trim. over his suit and tie. Behind him is a wood panelled wall with a poster in Arabic.


[1] On 7 October 2023 Hamas killed 1400 Israelis and took more than 200 hostages, including children.

[2] See: https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution and https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2022/02/israels-system-of-apartheid/

[3] https://twitter.com/osaidessermd/status/1719118526168899961?s=46&t=PTHQCFBhd570mEv_M8fiQw

[4] United States Medical Licensing Examination

[5] https://twitter.com/uzisall/status/1719699570010046958?s=46&t=PTHQCFBhd570mEv_M8fiQw

[6] https://twitter.com/fatimazsaid/status/1719165606375641174?s=46&t=PTHQCFBhd570mEv_M8fiQw


[UK Toolkit] To help college staff create a culture of welcome to young refugees

Training modules for further education colleges in the UK.

Refugee Education UK and City of Sanctuary have collaborated to develop a suite of training modules to help Further Education colleges to grow in their confidence and expertise to support refugee and asylum-seeking students.

These training sessions will help college staff to create a culture of welcome, and to identify and confidently apply practical interventions that promote success for these students.

If your college could benefit from this training then check out their website for information on this new course plus other training opportunities.

[Online community] Join the Inclusive Education Initiative LinkedIn Community of Practice

Join 27,000 other people who have signed up to the Inclusive Education Initiatives’ Community of Practice on LinkedIn. It is free to join and gives you access to contributions, ideas and debates to achieve the goal of ensuring all children have access to quality, inclusive education.

Just go to your LinkedIn page and search for ‘Inclusive Education Initiative’ and click to join the group!

[Toolkit] Do you need tips on designing accessible learning assessments?

Toolkit: Using Principles of Universal Design for Assessment (UDA) to Design Accessible Learning Toolkit Assessments.

The purpose of this toolkit is to generate knowledge on how to develop and adapt assessment tools using principles of universal design that yield reliable and valid data and information to track the learning outcomes of marginalized learners, including learners with disabilities.

Check out the toolkit for lots of tips and advice from the World Bank Group on using the principles of universal design.

Download the Toolkit