One in every four children and young adolescents in the Middle East and North Africa region are either out of school or at risk of dropping out, a UN spokesperson said Thursday, citing a new report.
The report, jointly released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics, said that more than 21 million children in the region are at risk of missing out on an education, despite impressive progress in raising school enrollment over the past decade, Stephane Dujarric told a regular briefing held here.
The region has seen a 40 percent reduction in the number of out- of-school children in the past ten years, according to the report. “Progress, however, has recently slowed, due to a combination of poverty, discrimination, poor quality learning and obviously conflict,” Dujarric said.
According to the report, 12.3 million children and young adolescents in the region are out of school. Also, more than 6 million children are at risk of dropping out. A further 3 million children are out of school in Syria and Iraq, where conflict has destroyed large parts of the education system.
The UN agencies urged governments to enhance efforts, “notably to prioritize the education needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged families,” said the report, which stressed new policies are needed to scale up pre-primary education programs, tackle student drop- out and gender discrimination, and help more children in conflict areas get access to learning.
Donors are urged to commit more funds to close funding gaps that keep so many children out of the classroom, according to the report. Enditem