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‘The Safe Schools Declaration – Implementation and Challenges’

Education has come under violent attack frequently over the last two years, even as the Covid-19 pandemic closed schools and universities around the world. Attacks on education and military use increased globally during this period, as compared to the previous two years. In 2020 and 2021, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) identified over 5,000 reported attacks on education and cases of military use of schools and universities. Over 9,000 students and educators were abducted, arbitrarily arrested, injured, or killed in these events. This was before the Ukraine war which has significantly intensified this. It is therefore essential to mark 9th September.

How can we help to protect schools, students and teachers from such attacks? The Irish Forum for Global Education (IFGE) marked September 9th this year  by holding an online event to explore how the Safe Schools Declaration, which Ireland has signed up to, offers a response to these attacks and a way to create a safer environment for education. This is one of the particular areas we are working to raise awareness on this year.

The Safe Schools Declaration was opened for countries to endorse in Oslo in 2015 and to date it has been signed by 114 countries. It outlines a set of commitments to strengthen the protection of education from attack and restrict use of schools and universities for military purposes. It seeks to ensure the continuity of safe education during armed conflict. By endorsing the Declaration, States also commit to restoring access to safe education and to developing education systems that are conflict-sensitive and promote respect between social or ethnic groups.

Speakers at this event were Amy Folan (Concern/IFGE Steering Committee) Fariah Jama (Concern Somalia) and Comfort Umahi (Plan International Nigeria)

You can view the recording of the event here: