August 01, 2018

15 of the most dangerous countries to go to school

NIGERIA: Some of the Chibok girls who were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 and later rescued. This year 111 girls were kidnapped from a school in February, although almost all were returned soon after. The Boko Haram conflict has destroyed schools across the northeast of the country. Last year UNICEF said more than 2295 teachers had been killed and 19,000 displaced while nearly 14000 schools had been destroyed.

Many children around the world who are just trying to get an education run the risk of being attacked, abducted or having their schools used for military purposes.

Schools are supposed to be safe places where children can learn and be with their friends.

But hundreds of attacks on schools and use of classrooms for military reasons show a “blatant disregard” for international law and children’s lives, a UN report said recently.

The Safe Schools Declaration is commitment to protect education and stop military use of schools. Theirworld and others have been campaigning for countries to sign up to it. 

So far 79 have done so. But only two of the world’s most powerful countries - the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - have done so. France and the United Kingdom have shown the way and we’re calling on China, Russia and the United States to follow their lead

Here's a look at some of the most dangerous places for children to go to school.

SOUTH SUDAN: In the throes of a tragedy for children that affects more than half the child population – victims of malnutrition, disease, forced recruitment, violence and the loss of schooling. In 2017, Attacks on 26 schools were verified and 22 schools were used for military purposes.

Photo credit: United Nations

MYANMAR: Many schools have been attacked. In the wake of the violence that saw hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flee Rakhine state last year, 300 schools were gradually reopened but 105,000 students failed to resume their education.

Photo credit: UNHCR

MALI: Armed jihadists have burned classrooms and threatened to attack other schools in Mali out of hostility to Western-style education.

Photo credit: Watchlist

AFGHANISTAN: Hundreds of schools are being destroyed by the Taliban and Islamic State. More than 3000 children were killed or maimed in 2017.

Photo credit: United Nations

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Armed groups have been using schools, meaning children are forced out of the classroom. The UN verified 28 attacks against schools last year.

Photo credit: Watchlist

COLOMBIA: Violence and abuses associated with Colombia’s internal armed conflict have displaced millions of people. Schools have been targeted and teachers have received death threats. At least 44,000 children have been forced out of education this year after attacks on schools and teachers.

Photo credit: UNICEF / LeMoyne

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has forced 150,000 out of school as violence between militia fighters and security forces continues. From a total of 1000 reported attacks, 396 attacks on schools were verified in 2017.

Photo credit: World Bank / Dominic Chavez

STATE OF PALESTINE: Missile strikes and attacks on schools have killed many children in Gaza and left thousands out of school.

Photo credit: World Bank

IRAQ: Students listen to their teacher during a class at the Ammar Ibn Yasser School in Mosul, Iraq. Most windows in the school remain broken and other parts of the structure are still being repaired. There were more than 150 attacks on schools and hospitals last year and 22 schools were occupied by the military.

Photo credit: UNICEF / Yar

PAKISTAN: Hundreds of schools and universities have been attacked in recent years. The Education Under Attack 2018 report - which covers the period 2013 to 2017 and was released last week - said about a third were on girls' schools.

Photo credit: UNHCR / Duniya Aslam Khan

SUDAN: Has experienced grave violations against children in recent years including the recruitment of child soldiers and attacks on schools.

Photo credit: United Nations

SYRIA: The conflict in Syria has had a profound impact on children’s lives and an estimated two million children are currently out of school. There were 67 attacks on schools in 2017 and schools were frequently used for military purposes.

Photo credit: Theirworld / Rosie-Lyse Thompson

UKRAINE: First grade students participate in a drill to practice their response during a shelling in a part of the school building with strong walls in Toretsk. More than 60 schools were damaged or had to close in 2017 because of the fighting, say humanitarian groups.

Photo credit: UNICEF / Zmey

YEMEN: Children return from school in the Basateen district in Aden, an area host to refugee and displaced communities and which has been particularly impacted by conflict. Last year 1316 children were killed or maimed, with 51% of casualties caused by air strikes. 842 children were recruited by armed groups and there were 20 attacks on schools.

Photo credit: UNHCR / Shabia Mantoo
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