The United Nations has warned against further attacks on educational institutions and students, lamenting that between 2009 and December, 2018, about 611 teachers were killed in the North-East due to the wave of insurgency in the region.
In a statement marking the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack, yesterday, the UN urged Nigeria to prioritise school safety as well as learners’ protection.
It said while 910 schools were destroyed in the region within the period, 1, 500 schools were forcefully closed, with 4.2 million children at the risk of missing out on an education.
Also, the Education in Emergencies Working Group (EiEWG) Nigeria, a platform of some Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs, UN agencies, academics, and other partners, has said attacks on education is not limited to the damage of education buildings and facilities but include attacks on key education assets – the most precious assets being school children, teachers and non-academic staff without which education cannot happen.
“Beyond physical attacks, when due to fear, a student cannot go to school because it has become a place of danger causing the desire for school to become eroded, then education has been attacked psychologically. When a girl-child is afraid to go to school because the path to school is no longer safe and secure or due to a traumatic experience or knowledge of one, education has been attacked.
“When a vulnerable boy becomes exposed to recruitment into an armed group involved in a conflict or is used as a carrier of improvised explosive devices or to manufacture, transport and plant devices as recorded between 2018 to 2019 when 57 children with 45 being girls were used and killed as human bombs, education has been attacked”, the group was quoted in the statement, yesterday.
The global body also urged states in Nigeria to incorporate building a resilient education system into their Covid-19 response plans in order to be able to withstand future shocks.
“The United Nations in Nigeria today said safeguarding education from attack is urgently needed to restore confidence in schools as places of protection for children and teachers. This is particularly pressing in light of Covid-19, which affected 46 million primary and secondary learners across Nigeria due to pandemic-related school closures.
“The protracted conflict in the north-east has had devastating impacts on education. From 2009 until December, 2018, 611 teachers were killed and 910 schools damaged or destroyed. More than 1,500 schools were forced to close and some 4.2 million children in the North-East are at risk of missing out on an education.
“Hundreds of girls have been abducted, some even from their own schools, which are meant to be safe zones. Notably, many children have been used to act as carriers of person-borne improvised explosive devices. The attacks on schools, communities and education itself are tragic consequences of a protracted conflict that has left a generation of children traumatized”, the statement noted.
Source: The Tide News.