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Fears Rise of ‘Lost Generation’ as More Syrian Refugee Children Out of School

Syrian Refugee Children
A Syrian child plays with a plastic toy horse at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, May 25, 2017. VOA

More than 40 percent of Syrian refugee children living in neighboring countries are not being educated and the number is rising due to a lack of funding and bullying in schools, children’s rights group KidsRights said on Tuesday.

Despite world leaders agreeing at a 2016 conference to enroll all Syrian refugee children into school by late 2017, KidsRights said 43 percent of Syrian children in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq still don’t have access to an education.

The report said about 777,000 of 1.8 million registered Syrian children in the five countries were not being educated at the end of 2017 – which was nearly 250,000 more out of school than in 2016.

KidsRights said failing to educate Syrian children would lead to a “lost generation” and seriously impact efforts to rebuild the country now entering its eighth year of the war.

syrian refugee children
Syrian children, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, are seen playing at a shelter in the regime-controlled Adra district, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus, March 20, 2018. VOA

“The successful reconstruction of post-conflict Syria by a young generation of Syrians will stand or fall by the level of educational access we can offer them,” Marc Dullaert, the founder and chairman of KidsRights, said in a statement.

Syria’s conflict began in 2011 with a popular uprising and has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced 11 million more.

A generation of young children has grown up without proper education, with 180,000 youths forced into child labor, the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF says.

The report, released at the second Leaders and Laureates for Children Summit on Jordan on Tuesday, said the rising number of children out of school was due to a lack of funding for Syrian refugees and restrictive policies by host countries.

In addition, Syrian school children enrolled in school have encountered issues with harassment and bullying, leading to their removal by their families, the report said.

KidsRights called for international donors and host governments meeting in Brussels in April again this year to urgently fill a $603 million funding gap and make education a priority. VOA

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‘Education Crisis’ for Refugee Children : Over 3.5 Million Refugee Children Currently Missing out on Education

Refugee children will go back and rebuild their countries. So, they are the future. If we do not invest in their future, we do not invest in the world’s future.

refugee children
South Sudanese refugee children look out of a transit tent at the Imvepi refugee settlement camp in Arua District, northern Uganda, August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic - RC1C63EAF400 (VOA)

Geneva, September 13, 2017 : The U.N. refugee agency reports more than 3.5 million refugee children aged five to 17 did not attend school last year to the detriment of their future and the future well-being of society. The UNHCR is calling an education crisis for refugee children.

Children make up half of the 17.2 million refugees around the world and many of them are missing out on a productive future because they do not go to school.

Refugee children
Children of Rohingya refugees attend a temporary school run by a non-governmental organization at a camp for Rohingyas in New Delhi (VOA)

The UNHCR warns neglecting the education of millions of refugee children will undermine the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals — principally those targeting health, prosperity, equality and peace.

The refugee agency reports 91 percent of the world’s children attend primary school, compared to 61 percent for refugee children. It says that number drops to below 50 percent for refugee children in poor countries.

The agency finds those numbers drop precipitously as refugee children age, especially in the poorer countries. It says far fewer adolescents attend secondary school and enrollment in university is stuck at one percent.

Long-term consequences

UNHCR spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told VOA denying refugee children access to an education is short-sighted.

“There is a clear need for more solidarity and for making sure that people who take refugees in low income countries also have access to education. This is crucial,” she said. “We know that these refugee children will one day go back to their home places and rebuild their countries. So, they are the future. If we do not invest in their future, we do not invest in the world’s future.”

Refugee children
Syrian refugee girls in a 4th grade classroom in the U.N.-run Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan. Guterres appealed to Arab states to overcome their divisions on Syria and help end the country’s six-year-old civil war. The U.N. chief is to attend an Arab Summit in Jordan on Wednesday.(AP Photo / Raad Adayleh) (VOA)

The UNHCR urges governments to include refugee children in their national education systems.

It also calls for more efforts to ensure refugee children are taught by properly trained and qualified teachers. (VOA)