This indicator measures the total reported number of schools partially or totally occupied by armed forces (governmental or non governmental) and used for military purposes, such as using educational facilities as bases or temporary shelters, fighting positions, weapons storage facilities, detention and interrogation centers and military training or drilling soldiers (GCPEA, 2020 Education under attack report). It is the sum of all identified attacks on education qualified in the indicator Have schools and universities been used by military forces to support their military efforts?

Schools and universities should be understood in a broad sense: the term includes primary and secondary schools, colleges, as well as kindergartens, preschools, technical and vocational training schools and non formal education sites. It also includes related infrastructure, such as playgrounds, libraries, school buses, university campus dorms and others.


Schools and universities are protected as civilian objects under International Humanitarian Law. Military use increases the probability of connected attacks, such as sexual violence, child recruitement, etc. A high number of incidents probably implies a high number of schools closed or partially functioning, increasing the number of student absenteeism, out-of-school children and drop-out rates. In the long-term, it may also affect transition rates and gross and net enrolment rates. Besides hindering access to and availability of education, a high number of reported incidents of military use of schools creates a general climate of insecurity and fear which may be reflected in the overall picture of education, for example in the closure of schools for fear of attack and/or prevention of students and teachers from going to school even where no incidents of military use of schools has been reported. 

Available data: 

The United Nations reports on military use of schools as one of six grave violations against children in armed conflict. Find examples in the virtual library of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. Check also the annual reports of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

Human Rights Standards: 

Article 7, (g) (i) & article 8 (2) (b) (ix), Rome Statute;; Articles 48, 51 & 52, Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention, Article 1 (A), Article 2 (1), Article 13 (1,4), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Article 29 (2), 38, Convention on the Rights of the Child; Article 2, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict; Article 22, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; Article 14 (3), European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights; Article 17 European Social Charter (Revised). See also the Safe School Declaration and the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. UN Security Council resolutions: 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1820 (2008), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011), 2068 (2012), 2143 (2014), 2225 (2015), 2427 (2018).

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