Global Education Monitoring Report 2019: Migration, Displacement and Education – Building Bridges, not Walls


Published annually since 2016, UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report studies the world’s progress towards achieving UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) of providing quality education and lifelong learning opportunities to all. The report’s 2019 edition discusses the relationship between migration and displacement, and education. Released in November 2018, it suggests ways to ensure that migrants and displaced persons have access to education.

The 2019 report states that about one in eight people in the world are internal migrants – those who move within a country, living outside the region where they were born. At the same time, one in 30 are international migrants, or live outside their country of birth. The report also notes that about one in 80 people are displaced due to conflicts, or natural disasters such as earthquakes or typhoons.

This 439-page report has 20 chapters: Introduction (Chapter 1); Internal migration (Chapter 2); International migration (Chapter 3); Displacement (Chapter 4); Diversity (Chapter 5); Mobility of students and professionals (Chapter 6); Monitoring education in the Sustainable Development Goals (Chapter 7); Primary and secondary education (Chapter 8); Early Childhood (Chapter 9); Technical, vocational, tertiary and adult education (Chapter 10); Skills for work (Chapter 11); Equity(Chapter 12); Literacy and numeracy (Chapter 13); Sustainable development and global citizenship (Chapter 14); Education facilities and learning environments (Chapter 15); Scholarships (Chapter 16); Teachers (Chapter 17); Education in the other SDGs-a focus on decent work, cities, police and justice (Chapter 18); Finance (Chapter 19); and Conclusions and recommendations (Chapter 20).


  1. The report states that the number of international migrants increased from 93 million to 258 million between 1960 and 2017. Majority of these international migrants – 64 per cent as of 2017 – reside in high-income countries.

  2. In the 38 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris, the percentage of first- and second-generation immigrant students increased from 9.4 per cent of the population in 2006 to 12.5 per cent in 2015.

  3. Education has a bearing on patterns of migration, notes the 2019 report. The global emigration rate in the year 2000 is stated to be 5.4 per cent among individuals with tertiary education, 1.8 per cent among individuals with secondary education and 1.1 per cent for those with primary education.

  4. In comparison to those with no education at all, individuals with primary education are twice as likely to migrate from rural to urban areas within their country, those with secondary education are three times as likely, while those with tertiary education are four times as likely to migrate internally.

  5. The report highlights that the highest rates of internal migration are in low- and middle-income countries, especially China and India. As per data from the World Economic Forum, Geneva, inter-state migration rates in India doubled between 2001 and 2011.

  6. The internal migration rate varies with age, noted to be the highest among young people in their 20s. A primary reason for migration among young people is the better quality of education in urban areas.

  7. In the year 2013, 10.7 million children in India (aged 6-14 years) lived in rural households with a seasonal migrant as a member. About 80 per cent of the children of temporary migrants in seven Indian cities lacked access to education located near work sites.

  8. The report cites a survey conducted in 2015-16 of 3,000 brick kiln workers in Punjab. It revealed that 65-80 per cent of all children (aged 5-14 years) who lived and worked at the kilns had to work for seven to nine hours per day. Moreover, as high as 77 per cent of adult kiln workers reported the lack of access to primary education schools for their children.

  9. In low- and middle-income countries, those who migrate from rural areas often settle in slum settlements, with poor access to schools. As per the report, only a fourth of the slum settlements in Dhaka, Bangladesh, had government schools.

  10. The report states that higher education for refugees improves their chances of getting employed and provides incentive to remain in school and pursue further studies. Yet, only one per cent of refugees pursue some form of tertiary education.

  11. Individuals with tertiary education are five times as likely to migrate internationally compared to those with primary education.

  12. The report emphasises the need for robust government initiatives to provide education to migrants and displaced persons, and build inclusive societies. National authorities should begin campaigns to educate migrant and displaced families of their right to education and school registration processes. The report also recommends the revision of “educational content and delivery” to acknowledge the history, needs and contribution of displaced populations.

    Focus and Factoids by Gayatri Ailani.


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 


Nov, 2018