Report Uncovers Barriers to Keeping Ukrainian Refugee Adolescents in Poland Out of School

February 22, 2024

Triangle report finds that Ukrainian refugees are staying out of school due to the presence of unaddressed barriers to enrolment. 

[WARSAW, FEBRUARY 22, 2024] – Two years on from the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the large majority of young Ukrainian refugees are missing from Polish classrooms, a new report has found. The report entitled “Out of School: Assessment on barriers to school enrolment for Ukrainian refugee adolescents in Poland,” finds that without immediate action by public and private actors, Ukrainian adolescents in Poland will continue to experience heightened protection risks and move further and further away from entering formal in-person education.  

“It’s time to acknowledge the barriers to education and protection these children face from being out of school are resolvable, and take decisive steps to integrate all children in the Polish education system to ensure no child is left behind,” said Sami Halabi, Triangle’s Director of Policy and Team Leader of the report. “This is especially true given the current discussions around funding for Ukraine in Brussels and Washington, alongside other capitals.”  

Commissioned by CARE International, and supported by Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee, the study adopted a mixed methods approach to provide policy makers and practitioners with nationally representative data around education and protection issues relating to out-of-school Ukrainian adolescents aged 10 to 18. The research consisted of responses from government officials at the local and central levels, representatives from international agencies working in Poland, local-level school staff, and over 1,000 Ukrainian refugee women, men, and adolescents currently in Poland.   

Key findings from the report: 

  • As resources dwindle, limited data inhibits informed decision-making and action by educators and authorities. 
  • Language, age, and caregiver mental stability and presence are key barriers to enrolment for Ukrainian adolescents.  
  • Ukrainian adolescents and caregivers prefer online Ukrainian education because they perceive barriers to be prohibitively difficult to overcome. 
  • Insufficient psychosocial and socio-emotional support coupled with isolation are causing deep trauma amongst Ukrainian caregivers and refugee alike. 
  • Ukrainian adolescents are resorting to negative coping mechanisms due to their absence from classroom settings, including aggression, restlessness, loneliness, apathy, substance abuse, anxiety about the future.  


  1. Increased Investment in Education: Increased investment in the education sector to accommodate incoming Ukrainian adolescents. 
  2. Comprehensive Tracking Mechanisms: Implement a collaborative tracking system for out-of-school Ukrainian adolescents. 
  3. Support for Vulnerable Populations: Particular focus should be placed on Unaccompanied and Separated Minors, Children with Disabilities, and the Roma community.  
  4. Amplified Support for NGO Programming: Support and collaboration with NGOs must be bolstered to provide education, social support, and protection to Ukrainian adolescents. 
  5. No Child Left Behind: All actors should work to transition all children in Poland into classroom setting through flexible education pathways.  

Further recommendations also aim to address systemic barriers and foster a supportive environment for Ukrainian refugee adolescents in Poland. 

“In a time of war, having hundreds of thousands of children out of school for extended periods of time possesses a threat to Polish society, which is potentially greater than that of the conflict itself over the medium to long term,” said Halabi. “The sooner that is realized and responded to, the sooner the threat of a lost generation of Ukrainian refugees is abated.”


To read the full report, click here.

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].




ANNEX A: Figures from the Report 




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