6 million Yemeni children are feared to be deprived of education

“The conflict has a staggering impact on every aspect of children’s lives, yet access to education provides a sense of normalcy for children in even the most desperate contexts and protects them from multiple forms of exploitation. Keeping children in school is critical for their own future and the future of Yemen.”

  • PPI Web Desk

Sana, Yemen:  During the last six years, Yemeni children became the greatest casualties of Yemen’s devastating and ongoing conflict, which deprives them of their rights of education and leaves thousands starving, as reported by UNICEF today. A new report revealed that more than 2 million school-age girls and boys are out of school due to poverty, conflicts and lack of opportunities. The number of children out of school doubled since the beginning of conflict in 2015.

The report, ‘Education Disrupted: Impact of the conflict on children’s education in Yemen’, emphasizes the many risks and challenges children have because they are not able to attend school. The severe consequences on the children’s present and future are dire. The report highlights the importance of urgent actions needed to protect them.

UNICEF Representative to Yemen, Philippe Duamelle said “Access to quality education is a basic right for every child, including for girls, displaced children and those with disabilities.” He continues to say, “The conflict has a staggering impact on every aspect of children’s lives, yet access to education provides a sense of normalcy for children in even the most desperate contexts and protects them from multiple forms of exploitation. Keeping children in school is critical for their own future and the future of Yemen.”

The number of girls being forced into early marriage is increasing, leaving them trapped in a cycle of poverty and unfulfilled potential. Boys and girls alike are vulnerable to forced child labor or being recruited to become child soldiers. Over 3,600 children in Yemen were recruited and forced to fight in the past six years.

To make matters worse, a total of 170,000 teachers, have not received payment for over four years due to the conflict and geopolitical divides. About four million additional children are put at risk of disrupted education or dropping out school as unpaid teachers quit teaching to find other ways of providing for their families.

Unfortunately, children without education and degree will remain trapped in the endless, self-perpetuating cycle of poverty. Once out-of-school, without any support, these children will have no chance to ever return to school and continue education. Their future is doomed.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic added to the devastating situation in Yemen, where prolonged conflicts left a long-lasting effect on the learning as well as the mental and physical well-being of children and adolescents.

In the report, UNICEF urges all stakeholders in Yemen to work together to achieve lasting and inclusive peace and to uphold children’s right to education. Attacks on schools have to stop immediately. Since March 2015 a total of 231 schools have been destroyed during such attacks. The Yemen stakeholders must ensure that teachers get a regular income so that children can pursue their studies and grow. The agency also called on international donors to support education programs with long-term funding.

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