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Unicef: 75m children in desperate need of education support

BBC – Staff Writer

“Some 75 million school-age children in crisis areas around the world are in desperate need of educational support, according to a new report by Unicef. One in four children aged 3-18 – 462 million – live in countries affected by humanitarian crises, the report says. In Syria, five years of civil war have left 6,000 schools out of use, while in Eastern Ukraine the conflict damaged or destroyed one in five schools. Refugees are five times more likely to be out of school, the report says. During times of conflict, girls are two-and-a-half times more likely to be out of school than their male peers, it adds. The report comes ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May.
A new emergency education fund, called Education Cannot Wait, will be launched at the summit.”(more)

One in four children in conflict zones “risk losing their future” – UNICEF

Reuters – Alex Whiting

“Nearly one in four children growing up in conflict zones are missing out on education, with South Sudan, Niger, Sudan and Afghanistan the worst-affected countries, the U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) said on Tuesday. An estimated 24 million children of school-going age are out of school in 22 countries affected by conflict, according to the agency’s research. South Sudan has the largest proportion of children out of school, 51 percent, followed by 47 percent in Niger, 41 percent in Sudan and 40 percent in Afghanistan. “When children are not in school, they are at an increased danger of abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups,” said UNICEF’s head of education, Jo Bourne. “School equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to rebuild their communities once the conflict is over, and in the short-term it provides them with the stability and structure required to cope with the trauma they have experienced,” said Bourne. If children grow up without an education, their future prospects are bleak, UNICEF said.”(more)

A revolution in early childhood development

UNICEF – Anthony Lake

“I used to think that early childhood development was all about education. That if we taught a child her colours and shapes, her letters and numbers, it would stimulate her mind and encourage healthy brain growth. And that is very true. But we now know that it takes more than education for a child’s brain to develop – a lot more. And what we are learning should ignite a revolution in how we think about and act on early childhood development. We already knew how critical the first years of a child’s life are to the healthy development of her brain. During those early years, almost 1000 brain cells connect every second – a pace never matched again…So, how do we unlock the life-changing benefits of early brain development and function? We invest early, to give every child a fair chance in life from the start. We invest equitably, because the children with the least, benefit the most. We invest smartly – not only in education, but also in health, nutrition and protection…The leaders of the world have just adopted the Sustainable Development Goals – and for the first time, ECD [Early Childhood Development] is explicitly recognised in the global development agenda. “(more)