At least 80 million children cannot get educated

At least 80 million children living in areas hit by crisis cannot get educated and are victimised by human trafficking and child labour, expert says

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Students read a book at the Makoko floating school on the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria February 29, 2016.

At least 80 million children living in areas hit by crisis cannot get educated, victimised by child labour, human trafficking and extremism, experts said on Thursday

"The new analysis ... [confirms] 2015 was a disastrous year for children who had their education disrupted by wars and natural disasters," said Susan Nicolai, head of development progress at the London-based think tank Overseas Development Institute.

Humanitarian aid has frequently bypassed child education with aid appeals for education only one-third funded in 2015.  In total, education has received a near 1.4 percent of all humanitarian funds, British charity Theirworld said in a report.

Education during emergencies also protects children from exploitation and poverty, it said. "Out-of-school children are at greater risk of being coerced or exploited by extremists, traffickers and criminals," it added.

"World leaders need to urgently guarantee that there isn't a future humanitarian emergency response where education isn't seen as critical," said Nicolai, Overseas Institute's research that produced the 80 million figure featured in the report.

Theirworld was found by Sarah Brown, wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and organised its global education campaign in 2013.

Despite the number of children hit by crises has been on the rise, humanitarian aid for education has been reduced by 50 percent since 2010, making the annual funding shortfall of $9 billion, the charity said.

The report focuses on funding in 28 countries hit by war, natural disasters, conflicts and health crisis such as the Ebola outbreak.

"In the face of increasing needs and the immense cost of not investing today, it is shocking that less than 2 percent of all humanitarian aid goes to education," said Tom Fletcher, global strategy advisor at Theirworld.

"Humanitarian aid must provide children with a safe school, a future and hope," he added.

UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and others, including the UN children's agency (UNICEF), urge world leaders to establish a multi-million dollar humanitarian fund for education in case of emergency situations that can be used quickly when needed.

World leaders will gather for the first time at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May.

The report's funding data was taken from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Financial Tracking Service, which monitors all humanitarian aid.

TRTWorld and agencies