UN: Two Million Yemeni Children Cannot Go to School

Photo: AFP

New York, MINA – The United Nations warns that the education and future of more than two million children in Yemen are at risk because of the ongoing war in the Middle Eastern country.

In a report entitled Education Disrupted: The impact of conflict on children’s education in Yemen, the United Nations agency, UNICEF said on Monday, more than two million children are out of school due to years of conflict and extreme poverty.

“Children remain the main victims of this dire crisis, with 11.3 million in need of some form of humanitarian assistance or protection assistance,” the report said as quoted from Al Jazeera.

“About 8.1 million children need emergency education assistance across Yemen, up from the 1.1 million reported before the war started,” it added.

In 2014, the Houthis took control of most of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. The conflict escalated significantly in March 2015 when a military coalition of regional states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates stepped in to try to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The war in Yemen has caused what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with tens of thousands killed, millions displaced and two-thirds of its 30 million population dependent on aid.

“Conflict has a shocking impact on every aspect of children’s lives, but access to education provides children with a sense of normalcy even in the most desperate contexts and protects them from various forms of exploitation,” said UNICEF representative for Yemen Philippe Duamelle.

“Keeping children in school is very important for their own future and the future of Yemen,” he said.

According to the report, there have been 231 attacks on schools in Yemen since March 2015.

While there are more than 170,000 teachers in Yemen that have not been paid regularly for the past four years.

“This puts nearly four million additional children at risk of losing their education as unpaid teachers stop teaching to find other ways to meet the needs of their families,” the report said.

“They have to find alternative jobs, so the country is losing more and more teachers, so the situation is urgent,” Duamelle said.

The report said many school-age girls were forced into early marriage and both boys and girls were forced into child labor or recruited to fight, more than 3,600 children in Yemen were recruited in the last six years.

“Education is being challenged in various ways in the conflict in Yemen. The conflict limited access to schools because schools were destroyed or occupied by displaced people or armed groups. This makes it very difficult for children to go to school,” Duamelle said.

“Schools not only provide children with essential education and skills, but also provide them with protection from child labour, child marriage and other hazards,” he added. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)