from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – CENTRAL and West Africa are home to almost a quarter of out-of-school children worldwide.
In the regions, 57 million children, adolescents and youth are barred from attending school.
This represents 24,1 percent of the 236 million out of school worldwide.
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) raised concern in a report published on the eve of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
It will be marked on September 9.
“Every child out of school, every day of learning lost, is one brick fewer to build peace and prosperity in the region,” said Maureen Magee, Regional Director for NRC in Central and West Africa.
The number of school closures has spiked in eight countries of the region, with over 12 400 schools closed by the end of the 2021-22 school year.
In Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger more than half of all children and adolescents do not have access to education.
“Sadly, learning institutions have not been spared from attacks by armed groups. Maintaining access to safe, quality education for all children, including refugees, is crucial,” said Millicent Mutuli, Director of UNHCR Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa.
The humanitarian organisations called on governments, armed forces, other parties to conflicts and the international community to take concerted action to stop attacks and threats against schools, students and teachers, as well as to step up sustainable support for quality learning for children.
– CAJ News