Report Reveals Education Crisis for Children in Conflict Countries

Posted on | maart 17, 2011 | No Comments

Congolese children during a lesson at the Mugosi Primary School close to the Kahe refugee camp. The school, which is still under construction, is mainly visited by children from the camp and nearby villages, the Democratic Republic of Congo

According to UNESCO’s 2011 Global Monitoring Report (GMR), armed conflict in some 35 countries, is robbing some 28 million children of their right to an education by exposing them to widespread rape and other sexual violence, targeted attacks on schools and other human rights abuses.

The report, The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education, which was released earlier this month, cautions globally we are not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal’s (MDG) six Education for All goals which more than 160 countries signed to in 2000. While there has been undoubted progress in many areas, unfortunately it looks clear that the majority of the goals will be will fail to be achieved by a considerable margin. The areas and regions that are missing the Education MGDs by considerable amounts are those which are those under, or recovering, from armed conflict.

The report outlines a a comprehensive “agenda for change, which includes;

tougher action against human rights violations, an overhaul of global aid priorities, strengthened rights for displaced people and more attention to the ways education failures.

According to the report of the some 28 million primary school aged children, 42% of children across the globe, are missing out on an education. the majority of these children are in poor, conflict-affected, who are also twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday. Those children who survive conflict are continually impacted, as only 69% of primary school age refugee children in UNHCR camps were attending primary school in 2008. Of those children who do make it into the classroom, many are now the targets of war, as schools, schoolchildren and teachers have become strategic targets of war. For example in Afghanistan in 2009, there were 613 recorded attacks on schools, a substantial increase from 347 in 2008.

Palestinian girl checking a torn up book in front of her school's damaged hall way in east Gaza school

However it is not just facilities that are strategic targets of conflict, but children themselves have become the pawns of war, as they are the targets of rape and many are forcibly recruited for the use of child soldiers. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one-third of rapes committed in during the longstanding conflict have involve children, with a shocking 13% of the brutal rapes committed on children under the age of 10 years-old.

The cost that children across the globe are paying is clearly high, but what is even more shocking is how our global humanitarian efforts are failing children and how little funding it would cost to see the children of conflict received their right to an education, and a better future. According to the report, “it would take just six days of military spending by aid donors to close the US$16 billion Education for All external financing gap”. While “twenty-one developing countries are currently spending more on arms than on primary schools – if they were to divert just 10% of military spending to education, they could put an additional 9.5 million children into school”.

AUTHOR: Cassandra Clifford
URL: and
E-MAIL: Cassandra [at]


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