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Memorandum of Understanding Between UNESCO and UNHCR on Education for Refugees

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Author United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Publication Date 30 August 1984
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Memorandum of Understanding Between UNESCO and UNHCR on Education for Refugees, 30 August 1984, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
Comments The Memorandum was signed on 16 May and 30 August 1984.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (hereinafter referred to as "UNESCO") and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (hereinafter referred to as "UNHCR"), in accordance with Resolutions 1.36 (b), 1.171 (b), 1.113 (b) and l.142 (d) adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth sessions respectively, and Resolutions 1.4 and 2.1 (f) adopted by the General Conference at its twenty-first and twenty-second sessions, as well as the decisions of the Executive Committee of UNHCR taken at its sixteenth, nineteenth and twenty-third sessions, desiring to continue to cooperate in the field of refugee education along the lines similar to those of their Memoranda of Understanding of July 1967, January 1969 and March 1971, do hereby agree to the following:

General Cooperation

1.         UNESCO and UNHCR shall exchange information and consult on matters concerning the education or refugees, through appropriate designated staff members both at Headquarters and in the field.

2. (i).    UNESCO shall endeavour to assist in the technical aspects of the educational services of the UNHCR by the secondment of suitable staff to the Office of the UNHCR, in as far as this is feasible.

(ii).       Secretarial and administrative services required for the efficient discharge of the duties of UNESCO seconded staff shall be provided by UNHCR.

3. a).    Whenever the government of a country of asylum is facing a refugee education problem, the solution to which would seem to exceed the technical and/or financial resources of the country, UNESCO and UNHCR shall consult each other on the most appropriate ways to assist that government, it being understood that any assistance from UNESCO and UNHCR shall be in response to a request from that government.

b).        Whenever UNESCO receives a request for technical assistance from the government of a country of asylum or from an agency of the United Nations system, UNESCO shall:

(i).        Consult with UNHCR to ensure that there is no duplication of such requests.

(ii).       Provide technical serves for the programme subject to UNHCR's acceptance to assume financial responsibility for it in conformity with paragraph 16 below.

Technical Cooperation

A. School building and equipment

4.         Whenever UNHCR receives a request from the government of a country of asylum to participate financially towards the cost of school equipment or the cost of construction or extension of an educational institution such as a primary school, a secondary school or vocational training centre, UNHCR shall consult UNESCO on the technical aspects of the project.

5.         Subject to paragraphs 3 and 16, UNESCO shall assist the government by:

(a).       providing expert advice, educational and architectural, as a basis for preparing projects,

(b).       assessing the prepared project in relation to requirements agreed to by all concerned prior to the preparation of the project,

(c).       carrying out inspection missions to confirm that actual construction conforms to these same requirements and

(d).       if necessary, formulating proposals for revising the project.

6.         Paragraphs 4 and 5 above shall not apply to the construction of primary schools in countries where governments have adopted standard building plans and established machinery to execute such plans. Subject to paragraphs 3 and 16, UNESCO shall advise on improvements to be made to standard plans adopted by governments for primary school buildings.

B.    Curricula and school material

7.         UNHCR shall consult UNESCO on problems of curricula and school materials for refugee pupils and students.

8.         UNHCR shall consult UNESCO whenever the medium of instruction raises specific problems for refugee groups.

9.         Subject to paragraphs 3 and 16, UNESCO shall provide the necessary advisory services in relation to content and material and methods of training.

C.    Teacher training

10.       Where the need arises, UNHCR shall approach governments of countries with advanced teacher training colleges, assisted by UNESCO and UNDP, in order to secure admission for suitable refugee candidates. In such cases, and in full agreement with the national authorities concerned, the UNESCO experts teaching in these colleges will, within their fields of competence, undertake the remedial work which may be necessary to help refugee students fit into the life and work of the institutions concerned.

11.       Whenever appropriate, and in full agreement with the national authorities concerned, UNHCR shall consult UNESCO on, and UNESCO shall assist in, the organization of in-service teacher training programmes for refugees in countries where advanced teacher colleges assisted by UNESCO and UNDP are located.

D.    Recruitment of personnel

12.       Whenever required, UNHCR shall consult UNESCO on the need for staff to provide expert advice and services in refugee education.

13.       Subject to paragraphs 3 and 16, UNESCO shall advise and co-operate with UNHCR by making available technical services, in particular in the fields of:

(a).       evaluation of requirements for educational assistance,

(b).       formulation of educational policies for refugees,

(c).       planning of UNHCR's educational programmes, their development, their implementation and their evaluation,

(d).       providing for adequate counselling services in the selection, orientation and adjustment of refugee students.

E.    Fellowships

14.       Whenever there are in a given country of asylum needy refugee students deserving to undertake or continue studies beyond the secondary school level and to the extent that funds are available in the UNHCR Education Account which could be used to assist these refugees, UNHCR may request UNESCO to administer fellowships, giving the necessary information on the refugee students and the amount of money available.

15.       When agreement is reached between UNESCO and UNHCR on a scholarship project for refugees students:

(a).       UNHCR shall determine the refugee eligibility of applicants and refer the dossiers of such applicants together with their proposed programme of study to the UNESCO mission in consultation with the competent government services of the country of asylum,

(b).       UNESCO shall determine whether the applicants have the necessary qualifications to undertake university studies, advise the refugees on existing possibilities, select and approve study programmes for them and award the fellowship, and place successful candidates in educational institutions,

(c).       UNHCR shall transfer to UNESCO the funds earmarked for this purpose in order to meet the cost of the awards,

(d).       UNESCO shall report to UNHCR at the end of each academic year on the use of the funds placed at its disposal by UNHCR and on the progress achieved by refugee students, with any relevant recommendations.

Financial Cooperation

16.       To the extent that the expenses resulting from services provided by UNESCO under paragraphs 5,6,9, and 13 of the present Memorandum of Understanding cannot be met:

(a).       by the governments of countries of asylum, from national or UNDP resources,

(b).       from the allocations provided under the Approved Programme and Budget of UNESCO for technical support for the carrying out of educational programmes for refugees, undertaken within the framework of the UNHCR's activities, or from UNESCO extra-budgetary funds provided for this purpose.

(c).       from other sources of financing.

UNHCR shall endeavour to finance services to be provided by UNESCO under this Memorandum of Understanding from its Education Account subject to funds being available for this purpose.

Final Clause

17.       The present Memorandum of Understanding shall be considered as taking effect on 1 January 1984, shall remain in force up to and including 31 December 1985, subject always to the decisions of the competent organs of the United Nations, UNHCR and UNESCO, and shall be renewable for a further period, the length of which shall be decided in consultation between UNESCO and UNHCR.



Poul Hartling

Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Director-General United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Geneva the 30th of August, 1984

Paris the 16th May, 1984


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