Decline in education for Syrian children "worst and fastest in the region's history": UNICEF

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The decline in education for Syrian children has been the sharpest and most rapid in the history of the region, according to a new paper published Friday.

The paper -"Education Interrupted"- highlights that since 2011 nearly 3 million children from Syria have been forced to quit their education as fighting has destroyed classrooms, left children too terrified to go to school, or seen families flee the country. Progress achieved over decades has been reversed in under three years.

UNICEF's Spokesperson in Geneva Marixie Mercado says the paper is the first attempt to quantify the full extent of the staggering decline in education in a country where primary school attendance rates stood at 97 per cent before the conflict began in 2011.

” The paper –Education interrupted describes this decline as the worst and fastest in region's history erasing decades of progress in the space of a thousand days. Today, over half of Syrian children are no longer in school. Outside the country, just one in three refugee children is enrolled. In Lebanon which is host to the largest number of Syrian refugees, just 20 per cent or fewer are enrolled in school. The numbers of Syrian school children seeking refuge abroad are expected to get higher. “

Marixie Mercado says projections for 2014 see a doubling of the numbers of school-aged Syrian children in Lebanon to 700,000.

The paper was put together by UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’33″

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