Can refugees access education?

Education is a human right.  Refugees and asylum-seekers may access primary and secondary education in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps and Kalobeyei Settlement.  Primary education is provided free of charge, while a small contribution is levied at the secondary level.  For more information, please contact your nearest school or the UNHCR office in your locality.

For refugees living in urban areas, public primary and day secondary education is free of charge.  For more information, contact the public school in your locality or reach out to the Sub-County Director of Education.

Why is education important to refugees?

Education is a fundamental human right.  It is a powerful agent of change, and improves health and livelihoods, contributes to social stability and drives long-term economic growth.

Education also protects. When children are in school, they are less vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse, child labour and recruitment in criminal and militia groups.  Educated individuals are more likely to make positive choices regarding their household’s health and nutrition.  They are also more likely to contribute to their households and communities, both during displacement, on return home, or after resettlement to third country.

When is the right time to enroll in school?

In Kenya, formal education begins at 4 years old.  Children who are entering at a higher grade, may be asked to provide school reports or certificates from their previous school.  If you do not have your certificates, you may be able to set for an equivalency text.  Please contact your nearest school for more information.

Post-secondary education opportunities are available at the vocational, and university levels at the cost of the individual student or on scholarship.

Education and Scholarship Opportunities Abroad?

Regarding education opportunities and scholarships abroad, information is announced by the academic institution, UNHCR, education partners and through schools, using various channels including flyers and social media.

Recent opportunity :

African Leadership University (ALU) is one of Africa’s top private universities. ALU aims to develop Africa’s next generation of “ethical and entrepreneurial leaders” by encouraging its students to use the world’s untapped resources to solve the biggest global problems. We’re an institution that provides higher education for a higher purpose, and we’re not for everyone. Our students declare missions, not majors– and they choose ALU because they want hands-on, real-world experience led by some of the world’s most innovative educators. Our model is a combination of learning through hubs across the globe and interacting with local communities, students, practitioners, and scholars in-person and online.

The University is based in Kigali, and they are offering special scholarships for refugee students, disabled students, and other students from low-income families. Female applicants are highly encouraged to apply.

Deadline for submission is end of May.

Please see some of the criteria listed below;

  • Must have high school transcripts of the last three years of high school and leaving certificate
  • The leaving certificate will be translated and accredited by the Rwandan certification board and ALU willl support in this process
  • Entry is for first year students only, there is no possibility to transfer into the second or third year
  • Generally they are looking for students under the age of 24.
  • For the refugees that are interested in applying, they can start their application right away with this application link

Please also see link to the English language test with free certification.


The UNIV’R project is a university corridor that has been developed by UNHCR in coordination with the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Migrants in Higher Education network (Migrants dans l’Enseignement Supérieur, MEnS). It aims at increasing higher education opportunities (MA level) in France for refugees living in first countries of asylum (please refer to the attached project summary for further information).

Attached are the calls for applications for the following French higher education institutions :

  • Paris NanterreUniversity : 3 MA degrees in French are offered. Application deadline: April 30, 2022.
  • University of Sorbonne Paris Nord : 3 MA degrees in French are offered. Application deadline: April 30, 2022.
  • Littoral Côte d’Opal University : 2 MA degrees in French are offered. Application deadline: April 15, 2022.
  • Picardie Jules Verne University : 1 MA degree in French is offered. Application deadline: April 15, 2022.
  • Ecole nationale d’ingénieurs de Brest (ENIB) : 4 MA degrees and engineering studies are offered in French or in English. Application deadline: April 15, 2022.

Each call for applications includes the description of the host Institution and the offered MA, eligibility criteria and application procedure. As required by French authorities, only recognised refugees (by State or UNHCR) are eligible.

As mentioned in the followin documents, the implementation of the project will depend on the success of universities’ fundraising activities to cover the subsistence allowances of refugee students. Some universities have yet secured the required funding.

UNIV’R project summary
Appel à candidatures UNIV’R_ULCO
Appel à candidatures UNIV’R_ENIB
Appel à candidatures UNIV’R_UPJV
Appel à candidatures UNIV’R_Nanterre
Appel à candidatures UNIV’R_Sorbonne Paris Nord

You can also find information on scholarships offered to refugees at:

Click here to visit Opportunities for refugees site


See also

<< Back to Kenya homepage
>> Select another country on our Help page