Petition demands David Cameron and other world leaders start tackling the problem at the World Humanitarian Summit in May
A staggering 24 million children around the world don’t attend school because they live in a war zone.
The astonishing fact was revealed by Unicef whose analysis found one in four children living in 22 countries affected by conflict are missing out on their education.
South Sudan is home to the highest proportion of out of school children with over half (51%) of primary and lower secondary age children not accessing an education.
They are at risk of losing their futures and missing out on the opportunity to contribute to their economies and societies
Niger is a close second with 47% unable to attend school, followed by Sudan (41%) and Afghanistan (40%).
“Children living in countries affected by conflict have lost their homes, family members, friends, safety, and routine,” said Unicef chief of education Jo Bourne.
“Now, unable to learn even the basic reading and writing skills, they are at risk of losing their futures and missing out on the opportunity to contribute to their economies and societies when they reach adulthood.”
Education continues to be one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals.
In Uganda, where Unicef is providing services to South Sudanese refugees, education faces an 89% funding gap.
The United Nations programme is calling on the provision of education in emergencies to be prioritised or warns we risk a generation of children living in conflict growing up without the skills they need to contribute to their countries and economies, exacerbating the already desperate situation for millions around the world.
"School equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to rebuild their communities once the conflict is over, and in the short-term it provides them with the stability and structure required to cope with the trauma they have experienced,” Bourne continued.
“Schools can also protect children from the trauma and physical dangers around them. When children are not in school, they are at an increased danger of abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups.”
The first ever World Humanitarian Summit is due to be held in Mayand Unicef has launched a petition demanding David Cameron makes protecting children from violence a priority at the summit.
To sign the petition visit unicef.uk/protect.