Don’t let children lose their futures

Millions of children inside Syria and across the region are witnessing their past and their futures disappear amidst the rubble… We must rescue them from the brink, for their sake and for the sake of Syria in future generations.Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director

Every child tries to imagine the future — but in Syria, children’s dreams are being shattered. Syria once prided itself on the quality of its schools, but now millions of children, both within Syria and in refugee camps in neighbouring countries, are unable to attend school. And the longer children are out of the education system, the less likely they are to return. That’s why we’re encouraging children’s engagement in their own literacy and providing opportunities for formal learning.

The loss of school is devastating: it provides so much more than an education. Schools offer routine, discipline and socialisation; in short, they offer vital normality.  The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child also emphasises the relationship between learning, tolerance and peace; children who don’t receive a decent education are less equipped to rebuild Syria for the future.

The current education crisis

  • Almost 1 in 5 Syrian schools have been destroyed; some are deliberately targeted
  • Some schools have been taken over by the military, or house displaced people
  • More than 110 teachers and other school staff have been killed
  • Around 3 million Syrian children have been forced to drop out of school (that’s around 60% of pupils in grades 1-9)
  • Some children have missed out on over 2 years of school, and are forgetting how to read
  • In worst-hit areas, children’s attendance has dropped to as low as 6%
  • Classes have up to 100 students
  • Children not attending school are more at risk of being recruited into or abducted by armed groups, trafficked or subject to sexual abuse
  • A million of Syria’s children are living as refugees outside of the country, which could eventually lead to a ‘brain drain’ of talent.

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