Education in jeopardy for hundreds of thousands of children in MaliListen /
The conflict in Mali has led to 700,000 children having their education disrupted, with 200,000 of those having no access to schooling whatsoever. This is in addition to one million children who didn't go to school before the crisis began.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says that, since January 2012, at least 115 schools in the north of Mali have been closed, destroyed, looted, and in some cases contaminated with unexploded ordnance. UNICEF representatives on the ground say that teachers are afraid to teach and pupils are afraid to go to school.
Marixie Mercado, UNICEF spokesperson, says that children's education is being seriously jeopardized because of the conflict.
"In the north just one in three schools is functioning. In Kidal, all schools are closed. In Timbuktu, five per cent of schools have reopened. In Gao, 28 per cent of teachers are reporting to work."
Over the past couple of months, UNICEF has trained nearly 1,200 Malian teachers to provide psychosocial support and mine risk education to children. More than 16,000 children affected by the conflict have received educational materials.
Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva