Education Under Fire: How conflict in the Middle East is depriving children of their schooling


Date of publication:  03 Sep 2015 Publisher:  UNICEF Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

The UNICEF released a report on the extent of the unschooled children in the Middle East region as an outcome of the ongoing conflicts which prevent more than 13 million children from going to school. 

The report, “Education Under Fire,” looks at the impact of violence on schoolchildren and education systems in nine countries: Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, State of Palestine that have been directly or indirectly affected by conflicts.

Factors which prevent children from going to school, according to the findings include: 

  • In Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya alone, nearly 9,000 schools are out of use because they have been damaged, destroyed, or are either being used to shelter displaced civilians or have been taken over by parties to the conflict
  • the fear that drives thousands of teachers to abandon their posts, or keeps parents from sending their children to school because of what might happen to them along the way – or at school itself.
  • In Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, more than 700,000 Syrian refugee children are unable to attend school because the overburdened national education infrastructure cannot cope with the extra student load.

The report also highlights a range of initiatives – including the use of self-learning and expanded learning spaces – that help children learn even in the most desperate of circumstances, subject to limitations of funding.  

For instance, the No Lost Generation Initiative, launched by UNICEF and other partners in 2013 to gather international backing for the education and protection needs of children affected by the Syria crisis requires a greater amount of support..

In addition, the reports calls on the international community, host governments, policy makers, the private sector and other partners to:

  • Reduce the number of children out of school through the expansion of informal education services especially for vulnerable children
  • Provide more support to national education systems in conflict-hit countries and host communities to expand learning spaces, recruit and train teachers and provide learning materials
  • In countries affected by the Syria crisis, advocate for the recognition and certification of non-formal Education services.


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