Seven out of 10 primary school students in the Central African Republic have not returned to school since the conflict started in December 2012, according to a recent survey by UNICEF and partners. 
About 65 per cent of schools surveyed had been looted, occupied or damaged by bullets or shells. “A school is meant to be a safe space for teaching and learning, but in some areas there is nothing left,” said UNICEF Representative in Central African Republic Souleymane Diabaté. “Without teachers, desks, textbooks -- how can a child learn?” 
Four out of five people said that fear of violence is the main reason that students are reluctant to return to school. Almost half of the schools remain closed and students have lost an average of six months of schooling.
“Both the access and the quality of primary education in the Central African Republic have severely deteriorated since the beginning of the crisis,” said Diabaté. “And if we do not act now, more children will lose the entire school year and are at risk of dropping out.” 
UNICEF calls on the authorities of Central African Republic to take concrete measures to support the permanent and safe return of all teachers and students to school. 
In response to the crisis, 1,352 primary school teachers have been transported back to their posts with help from UNICEF and NGO partners, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Almost 25,000 children affected by conflict are now in catch-up classes to prepare for this year’s final exams, with an additional 40,000 children scheduled to re-start learning in the upcoming weeks. 
Almost 20,000 students have received school supplies and schools have been received furniture which has already helped to re-open schools. UNICEF plans to support an additional 105,000 children to get back to their classrooms by the end of the year.
UNICEF’s 2013 emergency appeal of $11.5 million, issued before the crisis, has since tripled to US$32 million. UNICEF has only received one third of the funding requested, and US$21 million is urgently needed to provide education and emergency assistance to conflict-affected children and women in Central African Republic.


Notes to editors
The data above is based on a survey conducted in 176 out of 1,933 formal primary schools in 11 out of 17 prefectures in Central African Republic. The survey was carried out in August 2013 by the Education Cluster - led by UNICEF and with participation from: Ministry of Education, Association des Directeurs d’Ecole, COOPI, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Fédération Nationale des Associations de Parents d’Elèves, Finn Church Aid (FCA), OSEEL, World Food Programme (WFP), Syndicat des enseignants, and UNICEF.
The full report is available at:
Rose Foley
Senior Media Manager - News & Emergencies / + 44 (0)20 7375 6077 / Mobile: + 44 (0)7964 296 431 

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