10 countries with the highest rates of children missing out on primary school
Children in conflicts, Education in emergencies
African countries hit by conflict feature prominently in the first global out-of-school ranking by UNICEF - with 62% of Liberian children never stepping inside a classroom.
Liberia has the highest proportion of children missing out on primary school education, the United Nations said today, with nearly two-thirds of its children never stepping inside a classroom.
African countries hit by conflict featured prominently in the first global out-of-school ranking by the UN children’s agency UNICEF – with South Sudan coming joint second with Eritrea on the list. In both countries, 59% of children are out of school.
Last month UNICEF said a spike in the forced recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan could be imminent amid fears the East Africa nation was on the brink of renewed civil war.
Although school is vital for children living in crises, education is one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals, UNICEF said in a statement.
“For countries affected by conflict, school equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to rebuild their communities once the crisis is over,” UNICEF’s chief of education Jo Bourne said.
“Schools can also protect children from the trauma and physical dangers around them.”
“When children are not in school, they are at an increased danger of abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups.”
Classroom routines can help children psychologically after witnessing atrocities, as well as safeguarding them from abuse, experts say.
The Education Cannot Wait fund was launched in May at the World Humanitarian Summit to increase funding for children missing out on school due to war and natural disasters.
The West African country of Liberia, which emerged from two civil wars in 2003, temporarily shut its schools to stop the spread of the Ebola epidemic, which ended in June.
The 18 million children in the 10 worst countries for access to primary school account for almost one-third of the world’s 61 million primary school-aged children who are out of school, UNICEF said.
Here are the 10 countries in the world with the highest proportion of children missing out on primary school:
- Liberia – 62%
- South Sudan – 59%
- Eritrea – 59%
- Afghanistan – 46%
- Sudan – 45%
- Djibouti – 43%
- Equatorial Guinea – 42%
- Niger – 38%
- Mali – 36%
- Nigeria – 34%