Iraq’s new school year in jeopardy for thousands of displaced children

Children in conflicts, Education in emergencies

Thousands of children in Iraq may not be able to go back to school unless the international community gives urgent support to people who have fled from Islamic State militants.

That was the stark reality outlined by the head of the UNESCO, with the country’s schools due to reopen this month.

Irina Bokova said: “The future of thousands of Iraqi children and adolescents – be they internally displaced or from host communities – is at stake, as they may be deprived of their right to education.

“It is time to stand up and act now: education cannot wait.”

More than half of Iraq’s population is under the age of 20 and there are more than 550,000 internally displaced people of school age.

More than 1000 schools, particularly in Kurdish areas, are being used as shelters for internally displaced families and more than 60 are being used for military purposes. IS controls large parts of Iraq and Syria after a military advance in revent months. 

Many students were unable to take their exams in June and thousands more will not be able to enrol for the new school term.

Ms Bokova said international action and mobilisation was needed now to ease the situation. UNESCO is providIing accelerated learning and catch-up classes for students whose education was interrupted due to the crisis.

She added: “Education must be amongst the priorities. We must think of the future of the young generation in Iraq. Education has the power to protect, to heal and to give hope. It enables young people to shape their future and to cope with adversity. It lays the foundation for lasting stability.”

Helping children affected by conflicts and emergencies is one of A World at School’s First 100 Days targets in the 500-day #EducationCountdown campaign. You can learn more about education in emergencies and find out how to take action here.


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