Social Issues

57 million children in Central, West Africa are out of school

Nairobi, Sep 8 (EFE).- Nearly a quarter of all out-of-school children worldwide are in central and west Africa, a new report released on Thursday said.

The report by Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the United Nations has found that 57 million kids in the regions are not in school.

The figure represents 24.1 percent of the 236 million out-of-school kids worldwide.

“Every child out of school, every day of learning lost, is one brick fewer to build peace and prosperity in the region,” regional director NRC Maureen Magee said.

Magee urged the central and west African region leaders to “do their utmost to…protect every child’s right to go to school.”

Magee made the remarks in a joint statement by the NRC, the UN refugee agency, and the UN children’s fund.

The report was released on the eve of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.

According to the report, school closures spiked in eight regional countries, with over 12,400 schools closed by the end of 2021-22.

More than half of all children and adolescents do not have access to education in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger.

Over the last school year, the number of closed schools increased by 66 percent in the central Sahel region alone.

“Schools are either the direct target of attacks by non-state armed groups or deserted by students in fear of attacks,” the report said.

“Violence also forces entire communities to lose their resources and flee, cutting off children and adolescents’ access to education.”

The region faces an unprecedented challenge to ensure there is not a whole generation of lost learners, it said, recommending concrete measures by parties to the conflicts to end the military use of schools.

“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 three humanitarian organizations call 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.

They also urged the stakeholders to step up sustainable support for quality learning for every child in the region. EFE


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