Thousands of children face education emergency in Iraq’s Kurdish region

Thousands of children face education emergency in Iraq’s Kurdish region
The Kurdish regional government says schools will open as planned next Wednesday but, on top of the huge challenge of educating those who have been displaced, there are major concerns about where those now living in schools will be moved.

‘It is a major disaster for children,’ said Brenda Haiplik, an education expert from the UN children’s agency, UNICEF. ‘Education is life-saving. After a child has been to hell and back, education gives him or her an opportunity to go forward. Without that, the future is dim.’

The United Nations says up to 1.8 million Iraqis have been displaced since January, with around 850,000 seeking refuge in autonomous, three-province Kurdistan.

Swathes of Iraq have been seized by militants since the beginning of the year, especially in a major jihadist-led offensive launched in June, causing widespread displacement of people desperate to escape the unrest.

With unsanitary camps scattered across the north overflowing with Iraqis who fled their homes,
thousands of families have sought refuge in schools. In Dohuk, the worst-affected Kurdish province, more than 600 schools are now home to displaced families.

‘We are facing an education emergency’ that affects the displaced, the more than 200,000 Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan region and local children alike, Haiplik told AFP.


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