Education is under attack around the world according to the ‘Education Under Attack 2022’ report, just launched by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). The countries that experienced the highest number of attacks on schools in the last two years were Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Palestine with over 400 schools subject to attack in each country. In 2020-21 there were more than 5,000 reported attacks on education and military uses of schools and universities causing harm to at least 9,000 students and educators in at least 85 countries, averaging about six attacks per day. Over 630 attacks on students, teachers and others in education roles were reported in 2020 and 2021 and over 2,400 students and staff were reportedly killed, injured, abducted or threatened with many also arrested or detained. ‘Attacks on education and the military use of schools increased from 2019 to 2020 by one-third’, the report says. Attacks are also on the rise in Burkino Faso, Colombia, Ethiopia, Mali, Myanmar and Nigeria and also more apparent in Mozambique and Azerbijan.
Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW) who are partners of GCPEA, has responded to the report. She highlights that in Ukraine 1,800 education institutions have been damaged and over 170 completely destroyed and how globally these attacks put children and adolescents lives at risk, while violating their human rights, including their right to education. In her response to the report she says ‘We must immediately address this crisis by ensuring adherence to the Safe Schools Declaration (1), which draws on International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. We need to end attacks on schools, enforce international law, and support affected countries with the financial resources they need to provide children and youth with physical protection from attacks and safeguard their inherent human right to learn, grow and thrive in safe and protective learning environments.’
IFGE again urges governments to respond to this global threat, by stepping up funding for organisations working to deliver on the promise for universal and equitable education by 2030. ‘This is our investment in education and the human security and human rights of 222 million children and youth, as well as their teachers, families and communities in the most conflict-ridden countries and contexts in the world today.’(ECW)
(1) Safe Schools Declaration https://ssd.protectingeducation.org