More than 2 million children in west and central Africa cannot go back to school due to the security situation in the region.
9,288 schools are closed and 44,000 teachers will not be able to reach their classrooms, says Mr Philippe Adapoe Regional Director of Save the Children for West and Central Africa.
“Violent internal conflicts, insecurity, natural disasters, epidemics such as Ebola, are troubles that we regularly hear about. But do we ask ourselves what the consequences are for children and young people in the areas affected by these multiple crises? He said in a statement.
In Burkina Faso, one of the affected countries, the rapid deterioration of the security situation has led to the closure of more than 2,0242 schools today compared to 1284 in March 2019. Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, DRC, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria are facing similar challenges.
Across the region, and particularly in the central Sahel, education is increasingly becoming a target: schools are being attacked by armed groups, burnt or even occupied for military purposes or by internally displaced peoples. Children and teachers are being attacked on the way to school and at school, he said.
Loosing another generation
Mr Adapoe said systemic solutions are urgently needed to ensure children can continue their learning, even in times of crisis, “to prevent us loosing another generation.”
Save the children recommended that government should ensure education continuity through increased budget allocation to education in emergencies and integration of education in emergencies into sectoral plans.
It also recommended securing schools and teaching spaces through the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration and its guidelines.
Identify alternative sites to be used as shelters in the event of population displacement or natural disasters, to ensure schools are not used to welcome affected people.
The organisation also wants technical and financial partners, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations to support the government to ensure availability of quality education services in areas affected by insecurity and recognize education in emergencies as a priority area for all humanitarian responses.
Increase awareness among communities, religious leaders, non-state actors, about the importance of education continuity and the protection of schools from attacks, the statement added.