DAMASCUS, 15 September 2013 – As the new school year starts in Syria today, many children face extraordinary challenges to continuing their education.
Now in its third year, the conflict has left almost 4,000 schools – or around one in five – damaged, destroyed or sheltering internally displaced families.
Since the last school year, almost two million Syrian children between 6-15 years old have dropped out of school due to displacement and violence.
UNICEF, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and other partners around Syria, is supporting a Back to Learning campaign which aims to reach 1 million conflict-affected primary school-aged children.
“This campaign aims to increase the enrolment of internally displaced children who missed out on education, some for the third year in a row,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “It is vital for children’s well-being, as well as for the future of the society, that they are supported in their return to learning.”
UNICEF is distributing school bags with stationery supplies such as pens and notebooks to one million children in all of Syria’s 14 governorates. Around half of these supplies are already on their way to the most in-need areas such as Raqqa, Deir ez Zour, Homs, Hassakeh and rural Damascus for distribution in schools.
In addition, UNICEF is providing 5,000 teaching-learning kits, 3,000 recreation kits, and 800 Early Childhood Education kits.
Communities are being reached with public messages via media, billboards, posters, and flyers about the start of the school year to encourage children to resume their education. .
This year, UNICEF will be undertaking an innovative programme to reach around 400,000 conflict-affected children unable to attend school. These children will be supported through a home-based self-learning programme.
The programme, designed for lower primary school students (grades 1-4) focuses on Arabic and English languages, Mathematics, and Science. It provides textbooks and training for teachers and parents to support children in self-learning.
Far more financial support and funding are needed to provide more children inside Syria with access to education. Of UNICEF’s $110 million appeal for work inside Syria, just $16 million was received out of the $33 million requested for education.
For more information
David Youngmeyer, UNICEF Syria, Mob: +962 79 63 26 780
Bassel Halabi, UNICEF Syria, Mob: +963 98 8115 163