Conflict in Syria deprives children of educationListen /
The ongoing conflict in Syria is depriving hundreds of thousands of children of their education, according to the United Nations children's agency (UNICEF).
The agency says that an assessment conducted in December last year shows that Syria's education system is reeling from almost two years of conflict, with severe damage to infrastructure and attendance rates plummeting.
It adds that one fifth of the country's 21,500 schools have sustained direct damage or are being used as shelter for displaced persons.
UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva, Marixie Mercado, says in cities where the conflict has been most intense, some children have already missed out on almost two years of schooling.
"Attendance has dropped to as low as six per cent in Aleppo, 38 per cent in Idlib, and 70 per cent in Deraa. Some students often are just showing up twice a week. In areas hosting high numbers of displaced persons, such as Homs City, classes are overcrowded, sometimes hosting up to 100 students. Over 110 teachers and other staff have been killed in the conflict, and many others are not reporting to work. In Idlib, teacher attendance is 55 per cent. Some schools have been used by armed forces and groups involved in the conflict. (32")
UNICEF says its priorities in education in Syria include providing one million children with school materials and increasing access to education for 150,000 others, particularly among the internally displaced persons.
It also seeks to give 300,000 children psychosocial support as well as provide pre-fabricated classrooms to increase attendance and support the resumption of educational activities.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.