Funding desperately needed to increase learning opportunities for children
Since last school year, almost two million Syrian children have dropped out of school, nearly 40 per cent of all pupils registered in grades 1 to 9. One million Syrian children are now refugees and helping them back to school is proving challenging.
“For a country that was close to achieving universal primary education before the conflict started, the numbers are staggering” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Displacement, violence, fear and instability are robbing hundreds of thousands of children of the joy of learning. Parents tell us they are desperate for their children to continue their education”.
As schools are set to re-open in Syria and neighboring countries over the coming weeks, the task of bringing children back to learning is monumental.
In Lebanon, the government estimates that there will be close to 550,000 school-aged Syrian children in the country by the end of this year, in addition to the 300,000 Lebanese children in the public school system. In 2013, just 15 per cent of Syrian refugee children were studying in formal or non-formal systems.
In Jordan, around two-thirds of Syrian school-aged children are out of school. Of the 30,000 school-aged children who live in the Za’atari Refugee Camp, 12,000 are registered for school.
In Iraq, nine out of 10 refugee children living in host communities are out of school. The past three weeks have seen more than 50,000 new refugees to the Kurdistan Region, around half of whom are children who will need support to keep learning.
Children are facing challenges going to school for a whole host of reasons – intensifying violence inside Syria; language challenges; access; security; poverty; and tensions.
In the face of all these challenges and amid increasing needs, UNICEF is doubling its efforts to bring children back to continuous learning in safety.
In Syria, this includes a home-based self-learning programme for conflict zones.
In Lebanon, schools have been set up in buses that reach both Lebanese and Syrian refugee children.
In Jordan, imams and community leaders are helping to promote a return to learning, additional classrooms are being set up to increase learning space, more teachers are being recruited and school supplies and furniture are being distributed.
In Iraq, temporary tent classrooms are being erected as quickly as possible to accommodate the most recent wave of refugees.
Far more financial support and funding is needed to provide more Syrian children with access to education. Of UNICEF’s $470 million appeal for the Syria response, education remains the least funded sector, with just $51 million received out of $161 million requested.
The UK public can donate £5 to UNICEF UK’s Syria appeal by texting the word DONATE to 70099. £5 can provide a family with water for a week. To donate online visit www.unicef.org.uk
Notes for editors:
For more information please contact:Rose Foley, UNICEF UK: + 44 (0)20 7375 6077 / M: + 44 (0)7964 296 431/ email@example.com
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation for children, working in over 190 countries to help every child realise their full potential. We work with partners to transform the lives of children everywhere. UNICEF provides health care, water, nutrition, education and protection for children. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged children are our priority. As champion of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we work to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit unicef.org.uk