Stolen Futures – Podcast with Save the Children’s Helle Thorning-Schmidt

September 27, 2017

“I feel we are stealing their future twice,” says Helle Thorning-Schmidt, president of Save the Children International. “First they have to flee from their homes and everything they know, then we steal their future by not providing an education to these children.”

She’s talking about refugee children, of whom there are 3.5 million around the world. “More children ... are getting access to primary education, but because so many children are refugees and they’re not getting education, we are actually not increasing the number” of children in schools, she tells me in the podcast.

In other words, we won’t come anywhere near our targets for the fourth Sustainable Development Goal—quality education for all—unless we can address the refugee crisis.

And it’s not enough just to sit them down in the seats. “Far too many children go to school without learning anything,” Thorning-Schmidt says, echoing the oft-repeated CGD premise that “schooling ain’t learning.”

So what should countries be focusing on? “It’s money, it’s quality of the teaching, it’s what goes on in the classroom, but it’s also legislation and red tape in many countries that stops these children from accessing school and learning,” Thorning-Schmidt says. “Often it’s very simple things we have to be doing.” 


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.

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