Syria: three thousand empty chairs at school

scuola-Idlib-300x225The emergency of non-education goes beyond the African borders: in the past four years Syria has recorded a sharp decreasing in schooling rates. Since 2011 the prolongation of conflicts and internal tensions has caused a million refugee children and the number is expected to increase. These kids soon drop out of school to go to work or to get married, although the scariest scenario is their enrollment in extremist groups, including Isis.
The situation is sadly dramatic in various areas of the Country: A- Raqqa, Idlib, Aleppo, Deir Ezzour, Hama, Dara’a, rural Damascus as well as all the places deeply affected by massacres and violence, where attendance rate equals the 6% of the population. It happens in fact that in these areas, one out of five schools is used as a shelter for refugees of war.
During four years of unprecedented violence and massacres about three million children have been deprived of their schools; of teachers, who fled because of the occupation; of the opportunity to study and therefore to build a decent future.
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Among the causes of school drop-outs there is poverty, which pushes students to leave school in order to provide for their families’ maintenance. But the barrier is also, and above all, the destruction and misuse of school facilities operated by extremist groups. Many parents complain that they have no choice but to keep the children at home because they fear for their safety, because schools are not safe and could be destroyed at any time.
Worldwide alert
Before the conflict Syria enjoyed the best schooling rate statistics in the Middle East. To date, the situation of education in Syria is even more dramatic than in Sub-Saharan Africa. Such alarming data should worry the entire world and urgently require a collective effort to at least make schools a safe place where children, the men of tomorrow, shall enjoy an appropriate education process.