In an unsurprising turn of events, Liberia led UNICEF’s list of countries with children missing out on primary school education around the world. The blow dealt to the country by the Ebola health crisis is one that they are still recovering from.
A renewed plan to privatize the education sector and the last visit by the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama show the beginning of a tide turning that the country hopes to drag the educational sector out of the depths that it has sunk to. Currently, UNICEF says that the country has nearly two-thirds of primary-aged children unable to access school.
Nine of the countries making up UNICEF’s list of ten were unfortunately from the African continent. In the top 10 countries with the highest rates of children missing out on primary education, nearly 2 in every 5 children – 18 million – are out of school.
Afghanistan with a 46 percent mark is the one country not in Africa that features on the list. UNICEFs list highlights the extent of an education crisis affecting countries already blighted by conflict, prolonged periods of drought, flash floods, earthquakes and high rates of extreme poverty.
The organization states that education continues to be one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals. According to them;
“In 2015, humanitarian agencies received only 31 percent of their education funding needs, down from 66 percent a decade ago. Despite a 126 percent increase in education requirements since 2005, funding increased by just 4 percent. Moreover, education systems equipped to cope with protracted crises cannot be built on the foundations of short-term – and unpredictable – appeals.”
UNICEFs list of top ten countries with children missing out on primary school education;
- Liberia 62%
- South Sudan 59%
- Eritrea 59%
- Afghanistan 46%
- Sudan 45%
- Djibouti 43%
- Equatorial Guinea 42%
- Niger 38%
- Mali 36%
- Nigeria 34%
The World Humanitarian Summit, held in May 2016, saw a new global funding platform, Education Cannot Wait, launched to bridge the gap between humanitarian interventions during crises and long-term development afterward, through predictable funding. Hopefully, these international efforts combined with those of local government efforts will make a difference in the long run.