Situated in South Asia, the Islamic Republic of Iran shares borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, as well as the Caspian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Between 2006-2011, the country’s population growth averaged 1.3 per cent per annum. As of 2012, approximately 72 per cent and 28 per cent of Iranian people resided in urban and rural locales, respectively. Iran is a moderately youthful country, as roughly one-third (31.5 per cent) of the population is between the ages of 15 to 29 and almost one-fourth (23.4 per cent) is 14 or younger. Regarding Iran’s GDP, the country’s economy, from 2006-2012, vacillated between growth and retraction. At the start of the millennium, GPD per capita was estimated at US$ 1,096; however, in 2011 the same economic indicator was calculated to be US$ 6,869

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Refugee status
  • Poverty
  • Lack of learning materials
  • School fees

Interventions to Barriers

  • School construction
  • Capacity building
  • Provision of learning materials
  • Accelerated-learning programmes

Since the onset of Education for All (EFA) in 2000, the Government of Iran has signalled its support for the attainment of universal primary education in the country. For instance, in 2000, government expenditure on basic and general education was approximately 3.5 per cent of GDP. Yet due to economic constraints over the course of the decade, government spending in the same vein decreased to 2 per cent by 2011. Regardless, enrolment rates at the primary level have managed to reach 98 per cent.

However, Iran hosts a formidable community of refugees – one of the largest in the world – a majority of whom are from neighbouring Afghanistan. In spite of Iran’s, at times, challenging economic outlook, it has promoted access to basic services for refugees, including education. Though refugee students are largely integrated into the education system, many refugee families cannot afford the associated school’s costs owing to the country’s economic environment. At present, refugees still represent the one of the most vulnerable demographics in Iran.

In an attempt to reach marginalised OOSC in the country, EAC and UNHCR have partnered to increase access to quality primary education. Through the Enabling, Encouraging and Excelling project, UNHCR will focus on the country’s refugee communities. Specific project interventions include: constructing new schools; providing accelerated-learning programmes for over-aged refugee children; distributing school uniforms, hygiene kits, ICT equipment and stationary materials; and capacity building for NGOs and MOE officials who work with refugee communities.

Geographic Location: Southeast Asia

Languages: Persian (official), Arabic, Azeri Turkic, Balochi, Gilaki, Kurdish, Luri, Mazandarani and Turkic

source: UNHCR

Year added: 


Educate A Child Partnership

Successfully Completed Project

Educate A Child (EAC) has partnered with UNHCR to bring quality primary education to refugee children in 12 priority countries.
Enabling, Encouraging & Excelling

Enabling, Encouraging & Excelling

As the global refugee protection agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is responsible for ensuring that refugee children have access to quality education in their countries of asylum. There are over 2.7 million refugee children out of school in 12 targeted project countries.


Korea International Cooperation Agency (co-Financing Partner)

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was established as a government-funded agency dedicated to providing grant-aid programmes on the part of the Korean Government in 1991.


EAC partnership with UNHCR will ensure quality education for over 448,000 refugee children. UNHCR and EAC’s shared commitment to children in the most extreme circumstances help to ensure that all children in crisis situations have the opportunity to gain from the benefits of basic education.