UNICEF supports the millions of children who have missed out on education due to conflict, displacement, insecurity, lack of learning spaces and qualified teachers after seven years of crisis in Syria.
The crisis in Syria has taken a devastating toll on education; leaving over 7,000 schools damaged or destroyed and about 2 million children out of school. Many of these children are the most vulnerable, including those recently displaced by insecurity.
- There is increasingly a generation of children that have never enrolled in school and will face difficulties in enrolling and adjusting in formal schooling as they grow older, impacting their longer-term development and opportunities.
- The combination of displacement, lack of learning spaces, economic hardship and protection concerns remain obstacles and barriers for the fulfillment of the right to education for children in Syria.
- Those who are attending school face daily challenges of over-crowded classrooms, the psychological scars of traumatic experiences, possible curricula and language problems; inadequate quality of teaching and a lack of essential learning materials. These factors place children at the increased risk of dropping out. Almost one-third of those enrolled do not make it to the end of primary school.
- Syria continues to be a complex operational context with significant challenges; especially delays in clearances for delivery of supplies and in lack of public transportation for teachers from the locations/shelters they were displaced to the schools where they will be teaching.
- Delivery of services by UNICEF has also been significantly impacted by changing authorities leading to loss of partners and limitations of operational partners capacity on the ground which hinders the response whilst finding new partners to operate.
Given the enormous scale of the education crisis in Syria which is threatening the future of an entire generation of children, UNICEF’s key role is to leverage expertise and resources through a system building approach to improve the capacity and functionality of the national education system to address the challenges of access to and quality of education. This approach presents the only possible solution for adequate scaling up of education access and is the most effective and efficient return of investments for future resilience.
UNICEF’s key programmatic interventions centers on improving access and quality of education through school rehabilitation (in addition to provision of pre-fabricated classrooms), teacher training, provision of accelerated learning programmes such as Curriculum B that enables children who have missed out on years of education to catch up to their peers and re-integrate into the formal education system.
Alternative learning programmes for out of school children such as the Self Learning Programme serves to transition children with no access to formal education back into the education system. The provision of essential learning materials serves to address the critical lack of education supplies and addressing economic barriers of parents for sending their children to school.
UNICEF works to integrate education interventions with protection, skills and capacity development and livelihoods support through a comprehensive school approach focusing on meeting the holistic needs of children both in school and at the community level.