Educational support needed for 1 in 4 school-age children
About 462 million children are in school age, 3-18 years old around the world. According to "Education Cannot Wait," proposal by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and commissioned by UNICEF and other agencies, more than 75 million of these children are living in countries affected by crisis.
Within them 17 million are refugees, have been internally displaced and are populations of concern. All these children are in desperate need of educational support, however only 2% of global humanitarian aid is destined to education according to an UNICEF's press release.
Many of the crisis that cause children to leave school are armed conflicts lie the one suffered by Syria, where 2 million children inside the country were forced out of school and half of the 1.4 million who fled to neighboring ones suffer the same destiny.
Likewise in Ukraine at least 580,000 children are in urgent need of aid and more than 230,00 have been displaced. Also, 1 in 5 schools in the region have been damaged or destroyed. Land mines and unexploded ordnance poses another threat for nearly 280,000 of them.
But climate change and natural disasters also challenge children's education. Nepal's 2014 earthwake damaged education infrastructure which hasn't been rebuilt yet. In Central America food insecurity caused by El Niño's effects has 2.5 million children in jeopardy which has been shown to be followed by reversals in education.
Josephine Bourne, UNICEF's Global Chief of Education says, “going to school keep children safe from abuses like trafficking and recruitment into armed groups and is a vital investment in children’s futures and in the future of their communities."
"It is time education is prioritized by the international community as an essential part of basic humanitarian response, alongside water, food and shelter,” she affirms.
The Education Cannot Wait Fund is designed to transform the global education sector by providing both humanitarian and development responses. It will be launched in the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (May 23-24).
It will operate through the Aceleration Facility, which will invest in speeding up the education response in crises and the Breakthrough Fund which aims to create a country level engagement and include a rapid response system as well as long lasting support.
The financing will consist in a target of $1.5 billion dollars by 2020 as part of a 5 year target of 3,85 billion. With it, the fund will be able to restore education opportunities to more than 18% of children in need over the next 5 years and reach the 75 million affected by crises in 2030.
According to the report, closing the education gap costs $113 per child, representing $8,5 billion dollars per year.
"Statistics cannot capture the trauma and suffering experienced by children and youth caught up in conflicts or affected by humanitarian emergencies. Nor can they capture the power of the hope that comes with education. This proposal is about restoring hope," says Kevin Watkins, Executive Director of ODI in his foreword for the proposal.
“Every child in humanitarian emergencies deserves a fair chance of a bright future,” said Orlando Bloom, UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador, who paid a visit to Ukraine's children in April 2016.