Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Wars robbing youth of school

BBC :: Tuesday 12 September 2006

Children at a school in Ivory Coast

Only a small number of children in conflict zones enjoy an education

At least 43 million children around the world are unable to go to primary school because of armed conflicts, according to a new report. Save the Children organisation has launched a global campaign aimed at pressuring world leaders into helping deprived youths into formal education.

The charity wants to get three million children into education by 2010.

Universal primary education by 2015 was one of the Millennium Development Goals signed in 2000 by world leaders.

How children are affected around the world

According to Save the Children, any efforts to increase opportunities for children’s education will end in failure if the millions living in conflict zones are not given the same opportunities as those in more peaceful areas.

States affected by conflict will by their nature have more to achieve to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Save the Children says.

While the proportion of women and children among civilians injured or killed in war remains high – at approximately 80%, according to Unicef – the amount of educations aid that reaches those caught up in conflict remains low, Save the Children says.

Without extra aid, dedication and political will, the charity says, few of the millions of children currently out of school will ever receive an education.

Failing states

The countries with the worst education records also have unhappy histories of conflict in recent years.

In Somalia, which remains without a functioning central government, more than 89% of children are not in school.

A boy kicks a ball in DR Congo

Children in DR Congo have endured war but hope for better times

That figure is far worse than even other poorly-performing states, but the numbers remain unacceptable to the charity.

In DR Congo, which recently held democratic elections in the hope of sealing an end to a long-running conflict, just 35% of children attend school.

In Chad, one of the poorest countries in the world, 41.7% of children are out of school, according to figures collated by the charity.

And In Nepal, where a Maoist insurgency has dominated rural life for a decade, almost 27% of children are not being educated.

In Angola, Save the Children estimates that as much as $180m (£97m) is needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015.

Rights and wrongs

Rewrite the Future, due to be launched in 40 countries simultaneously, demands that national governments focus on providing facilities for children’s’ education.

It will also call on major international aid donors and humanitarian agencies to prioritise education provision in times of conflict and conflict resolution.

Key demands of the campaign include:

  • An emphasis on training teachers and improving standards, as well as ensuring that children and teachers are protected from armed violence
  • Increasing the numbers of children, especially girls, in education
  • Teach human rights and promote justice in the school curriculum
  • Ensure that a percentage of funds raised by the UN during emergencies is ring-fenced for education


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This entry was posted on 12 September, 2006 by in Africa, Arts, Asia, Development, Education, Empire, War and Terror, International Relations, Politics and Psychology, UN, Youth.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"