Conflict in Lake Chad region forces more than one million children from school

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Aisha pretends to draw at the tip of a pencil painted on a wall mural in a camp for internally displaced people in Yola, the capital of Adamawa. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0477/Esiebo

More than one million children have been forced from school due to conflict in northeastern Nigeria and neighbouring countries, the UN children's agency (UNICEF) reports. Insecurity resulting from the activity of the terrorist group Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region has also led to the closure of more than 2,000 schools. Dianne Penn reports. UNICEF says the youngsters who are not getting an education join an estimated 11 million primary school children who were already out of school in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.  The agency says the conflict has dealt a "huge blow" to education and has kept children out of school for more than a year, putting them at risk of dropping out altogether.  Since the start of the insurgency, 600 Nigerian teachers have been killed.  Teachers are also fearful to return to class and are discouraging parents from sending their children to school.  In addition to the school closures, hundreds of schools have been attacked, looted or set on fire.  UNICEF reports that in far northern Cameroon, only one out of 135 schools that closed in 2014 opened this year.  The UN agency and its partners have been setting up temporary learning spaces and renovating and expanding schools.  They have also trained teachers on psychosocial support and provided learning materials for more than 130,000 uprooted children.  UNICEF says it will need nearly US$23 million to continue helping children in the four affected countries during 2016.  Dianne Penn, United Nations.  Duration: 1’14″

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