Education International
Education International

UNICEF: number of children in Iraq without access to school reaches two million

published 3 November 2015 updated 4 March 2022

The findings of the latest report from the United Nations Children’s Fund are damning, revealing that the number of children in Iraq with no access to school could surpass three million due to unrelenting violence.

To see the long-term effects of the violent conflicts raging in both Iraq and Syria one only needs to look at the devastated state of education. As a result of the destruction of infrastructure to the need to flee to safety, a new report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund, better known as UNICEF, shows that the number of children living in Iraq, including refugee Syrian children, unable to attend school has hit the two million mark. Another 1.2 million are at risk of dropping out due to unsafe conditions.

During the last year alone 67 attacks on schools and education workers have been reported.

Compounding the ever-present threat of violence is the issue of overcrowded classes due to the large number of schools destroyed and those being used as shelters. According to estimates, roughly 5,300 schools have been destroyed, leading to class sizes of 60 students being rotated three times throughout the day.

The conditions have forced many educators to leave the region for Europe in search of a life without war, with UNICEF putting the number at 14,000 teachers who have fled.  In addition, another one million children are displaced, and UNICEF says that up to 70 percent of them have lost a year at school.

The latest figures come even as UNICEF and other international organisations have been able to educate half a million children over the past year.

With two affiliate organisations in Iraq - the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union and Iraqi Teachers’ Union - Education International (EI) is committed to “ The right to education for refugee and stateless children,” which was reaffirmed at its latest World Congress last July in Ottawa, Canada.