UNICEF, 10 countries where if you’re a child it’s almost impossible to go to school — the ranking

There are countries where going to school isn’t a burden but a dream. UNICEF has compiled a ranking of the top 10 countries with the highest proportion of children missing out on primary school.

War is the worst enemy to education. In countries affected by civil conflicts, where adults have decided to play soldiers, children are the main victims. Children are denied the basic right to learn, go to school and play. Liberia, in western Africa, is the country with the highest percentage of children missing out on primary school, with two thirds (62 percent) of children who have never set foot in a classroom.

UNICEF’s ranking

These figures have been published on 1st September by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, which has compiled the first global out-of-school ranking. The African continent, affected by a number of decades-long civil wars, featured prominently in the ranking. Liberia that has faced the Ebola epidemic, after being ravaged by a civil war, is followed by South Sudan and Eritrea, where 59 percent of children don’t go to school. UNICEF has even alerted the international community because most of these children risk to be recruited by South Sudan’s army, where the civil war has been threatening the population for years. Not only are children out of school, they are also trained to become child soldiers.

unicef, chad
“I want to be a teacher”, said Memdiglielembaye Croyance, a returnee from Central African Republic at the Primary School of Djako in Moundou, Chad. She’s one of the 1.3 million children uprooted by conflict in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region © Unicef/UN019752/McMahon

School physically and psychologically protects children from war

“For countries affected by conflict, school equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to rebuild their communities once the crisis is over”, UNICEF’s chief of education Jo Bourne said. In spite of this, education is one of the least funded sectors by humanitarian organisations. “Schools can also protect children from the trauma and physical dangers around them”, Bourne adds.

syria, unicef
On 8 January this primary school in Hujjaira, rural Damascus, Syria, was damaged due to continuous violence in the area. In Syria, one in four schools has been damaged, destroyed or occupied for military purposes in the over five years of civil war © Unicef/UN018882/Abdulaziz

61 million children in the world are out of school­

Other countries in the list include densely-populated Afghanistan, with 46 percent of children out of school, Sudan (45 percent), Niger (38 percent) and Nigeria (34 percent in a population of more than 170 million people). In the ten worst countries for access to primary school there are 18 million children out of the 61 million children that are out of school in the whole world.

DataSessione di votoDelegati democratici (D)Delegati repubblicani (R)
1 febbraioIowa5230
9 febbraioNew Hampshire3223
20, 23, 27 febbraioSud Carolina
1 marzo (Super Tuesday)15 stati, tra cui:
Alabama (60 D, 50 R)
Colorado (79 D, 37 R)
Georgia (116 D, 76 R)
Massachusetts (116 D, 42 R)
Minnesota (93 D, 38 R)
Tennessee (76 D, 58 R)
Texas (252 D, 155 R)
Virginia (110 D, 49 R)
5 marzo -
5 giugno
46 sessioni, tra cui:
Michigan (148 D, 59 R)
Florida (246 D, 99 R
Illinois (182 D, 69 R)
Nord Carolina (121 D, 72 R)
Ohio (159 D, 66 R)
Washington (118 D)
New York (291 D, 95 R)
Maryland (118 D, 38 R)
Pennsylvania (210 D, 71 R)
7 giugno6 stati, tra cui:
California (546 D, 172 R)
New Jersey (142 D, 51 R)
14 giugnoDistrict of Columbia primarie democratiche46-

Syria is not in the top ten, but it deserves to be mentioned with its two million school-aged children (5 to 17 years) who don’t attend lessons and about 600,000 children who live as refugee in nearby camps.

Zayneb is a ten-year-old girl of Mosul origin. In this photo she’s attending a ceremony celebrating the opening of a UNICEF-supported space at a camp for displaced Iraqis in Karbala © Unicef/UN017049/Khuzaie

Education against inequality

Access to education, along with the fight against hunger, is one of the main goals in the list that every country and international organisation in the world compiles every year. Studying and returning to school – even after a long period out of it – is fundamental, not just to rebuild societies affected by war, but also to redress economic and cultural inequalities and be able to rely on people who can build pacific and long-lasting relationships in the near future.

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