“Unicef Warns of Lost Generation of War Children Out of School”
The New York Times, September 2, 2015
“War and upheaval across parts of the Middle East and North Africa in recent years have driven more than 13 million children from school — 40 percent of the affected area’s school-age population, the United Nations said Wednesday. … In some countries — particularly Syria, which once had one of the world’s highest literacy rates — many children who ordinarily would be third or fourth graders by now have rarely if ever been inside a classroom. … In Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya alone, it said, nearly 9,000 schools are out of use because they have been ‘damaged, destroyed, are being used to shelter displaced families or have been taken over by parties to the conflict.’ … While death, mayhem, hunger and disease are among the most obvious risks to civilians in these conflict zones, the collapse in primary education is another compelling reason for families with young children to flee. … A parallel trend, [Unicef regional director Dr. Peter Salama] said, is increased recruitment of children into military and paramilitary organizations.”
Quickie analysis: This finding is, unfortunately, not a huge surprise. However, it cannot be stressed too heavily that the ramifications of this “lost generation” will continue to impact the region for decades.