Conflicts resulting from political wars have made schools to either be unsafe or damaged, teachers absent duty and this negatively has affected the education of most youths especially in the four African Countries.
According to a press release today, the UNICEF that conducted the survey on 128,000 young people in Central African Republic (CAR), Uganda, Chad and Nigeria says conflicts remains destructive to smooth education in those countries.
The survey findings were presented at a special dialogue event in Brussels ahead of the forthcoming African Union–EU Summit. The event was organised by UNICEF and the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
The EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides: “This is a strong message from young Africans that helps explain why keeping schools open and safe even in times of conflict and emergency is absolutely critical to youth and to society as a whole. This is why the EU has become a global leader in supporting education in emergencies. We have continuously been increasing our support in that respect, making the biggest investment we can in our common future. An investment in youth, and an investment in peace.”
The West Nile districts in Uganda are hosting thousands of South Sudanese who escaped from war, but are having their education hindered. Some of the schools do not have adequate teachers and scholastic materials; hence some students and pupils drop out and opt to stay idle in the camps.
A teacher marking books at Rhino camp settlement in Arua district.
The survey indicates that disruption to education as a result of conflict was reported by up to 76 per cent of survey respondents in Nigeria, and as many as 89 per cent in parts of northern Uganda.
Schools that had been forced to shut or been damaged were the factor cited by almost 50 per cent of respondents overall. A lack of teachers and unsafe journeys to school were the other main ways respondents said violence had undermined their opportunities to learn.
The Northern Uganda was faced with Alice Lakwena and Lord’s Resistance Army wars that hampered the education of youths. Many dropped out as the students were potential targets to abductions like the popular abduction of Aboke Girls in the secondary school.
Some of the girls especially have remained traumatized even when the war ended by 2005 and many have remained out of school.
How survey was conducted
The survey was conducted among youth from the UNICEF-supported U-Report initiative, a real-time social messaging tool that enables communication between young people and decision makers on issues that they care about. ‘U-Reporters’ respond to polls, report issues, support child rights and work as positive agents of change on behalf of people in their country. Today there are over 3 million U-reporters in more than 30 countries.
Similar results were registered in CAR, where an estimated 80 per cent of the country is under the control of armed groups.
Refugee pupils return from school in Bidibidi settlement in Yumbe district.
Over half of respondents said that while education was vital in providing them with skills and opportunities, learning also played a vital role in promoting peace.
Youth representatives at the Brussels meeting said the call for more resources to be dedicated to education should be heard loud and clear at the African Union – EU summit, which is being held in Cote D’Ivoire on November 29-30 with the theme of “investing in youth.”
“Young people in Africa represent so much dormant potential,” said Ubanwa Oyudo from Nigeria. “They represent the future, but to secure that future, investment is needed.”
A 19 year-old Judith Sankagui said children in Central African Republic needed support “if they are to contribute, like those in other countries, to the future of this planet.”
The UNICEF Nigeria Representative Mohamed Malick Fall, said: “What this survey shows is that conflict is blighting the lives and hopes of an enormous number of young Africans. At the same time, it demonstrates that for those same youth, the issues of education and peace are tied closely together.”
The survey also underlined the huge importance young Africans attach to the role of technology in their education. 96 per cent of respondents agreed that technology could support their learning prospects.