This report is the first of a three-part series addressing the urgent issue of access to education for Syrian refugee schoolchildren in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. The series will examine the various barriers preventing Syrian children from accessing education and call on host governments, international donors, and implementing partners to mitigate their impact in order to prevent a lost generation of Syrian children.
Sixteen years after the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban, an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school. The aim of getting all girls into school was never fully realised, and the proportion of students who are girls is even falling in some parts of the country. The vast majority of the millions of Afghan children not in school are girls, and only 37 percent of adolescent girls are literate, compared to 66 percent of adolescent boys.
Of the 57 million children worldwide without access to education, over one third lives in settings of conflict and fragility (UNESCO, 2015). The escalating crisis in Syria has contributed significantly to this out-of-school population, with well over half of 1.4 million Syrian refugee children and adolescents not in school (UNICEF, 2016).
This report looks at the challenges facing two countries on the front-line of the global refugee crisis – Lebanon and Turkey. Between them, these countries have some 732,000 children out of school aged 5-17. In both cases the level of need vastly outstrips the resources available. There are not enough teachers, schools or classrooms – and the education infrastructure that does exist is deteriorating. Refugee children face additional challenges in adapting to a new curriculum. Compounding these challenges, refugee poverty, insecurity and vulnerability create barriers of their own.
This report documents how violence, threats and intimidation carried out by parties to the conflict in Afghanisatn directly harmed or impacted health and education personnel, reduced the availability of healthcare,and limited children’s access to essential health and education services. Schools and hospitals were damaged or destroyed by targeted attacks and crossfire, with many remaining closed due to insecurity, threats or military use.
The conflict has had a brutal impact on education in Yemen; 34% of children in the country have not gone to school since the conflict began in March 2015. As of October 2015 1.8 million children were not in school. In some cases parents and children are deterred from going to school because of fear of airstrikes, while in others, schools have been rendered unusable due to the conflict either because they have been damaged or destroyed.
This important new report documents the major obstacles that prevent Syrian refugee children from getting formal education in Turkey, which is hosting more than 2 million refugees from the Syrian conflict that began in 2011. The government adopted an important policy in September 2014 that formally grants Syrian children access to public schools, but key obstacles including a language barrier, social integration issues, economic hardship, and lack of information about the policy, remain one year later.
The Arab Charter on Human Rights was adopted on 22 May 2004 by the Council of the League of Arab States. It reaffirms the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and therefore, the right to education.
The right to education in international human rights law is contained in number of international treaties. The most comprehensive coverage of the right is found within the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) under articles 13 and 14. The primary level of education is an essential and integral phase in the development of a child, without the right to education children are unable to realize other rights.