In line with the UNHCR Global Education Strategy (2012-2016), UNHCR Iran works towards meeting the objectives of its national Education Strategy in close collaboration with the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA), the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Literacy Movement Organization (LMO). The strategy is anchored on providing refugee education not as a peripheral stand-alone service but as a core component of UNHCR’s mandate on Protection and Durable Solutions.

In coordination with its government partners, UNHCR Iran’s Education programmes aim to enhance refugees’ access to quality primary, secondary and tertiary education; to provide safe learning spaces for refugee children; and to ensure inclusive education for marginalised groups. UNHCR’ education-related interventions in Iran include supporting the Government of Iran in the construction of schools in densely refugee-populated areas; the expansion of education-related activities, such as hygiene awareness campaigns and life-skills trainings; the provision of Literacy Classes to over-aged and out-of-school refugees through the LMO; and the provision of school supplies and educational kits in refugee hosting schools located in deprived areas.

In May 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader issued a decree to the MoE allowing all Afghan children of school age, regardless of documentation status, to attend primary and secondary school education, in which close to 400,000 Afghan and Iraqi children are currently enrolled, of which over 46,000 are undocumented children. For the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, some 77,000 undocumented children have registered for school[1]. UNHCR has taken this additional caseload into consideration regarding the planning and implementation of its educational programmes, as it has direct impact on services rendered to Afghan and Iraqi refugees.

Furthermore, as part of the regional multi-partner ‘Resilience and Solutions Measures’ strategy, and in an effort to enhance access to education for refugees in Iran, UNHCR in collaboration with NGOs recently succeeded in advocating for a revision of the national legislation on the registration of foreign nationals. This has resulted in the full removal of refugee-specific tuition fees (USD $70-90 per child) for all refugee children of school age, thereby providing refugees and undocumented children in Iran with the school registration requirements as Iranians.




[1] Registration is the initial process that must take place (at Kefalat Centres) before actual enrollment in school can commence. Please note that not all children who register finally enroll in/attend school.