The United Nations has called for directing investment to the education of Iraqi children as a surety for the country’s future economic prosperity. The UNICEF said investing in education protects children from radicalization, child labor and other unfavorable destinies.
“While the price of investing in Iraq’s education sector is high, failing to do so will cost the nation far more in the future,” said the organization. A UNICEF-supported report released Sunday by the Iraqi Ministry of Education said Iraq lost almost US$1 billion in “unrealized wages” from school dropouts from the 2014-2015 school year.
“Lack of investment threatens the future of millions of Iraqi children. 3.5 million school-aged Iraqi children are missing out on education, which means they are at increased risk of early marriage, child labour and recruitment into armed groups,” the report, dated May 21st, said.
“Children in Iraq are suffering from protracted periods of conflict. Without equitable access to quality education, children are at risk: we are talking about losing a generation of children.” said UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere.
The organization pointed to another supplementary report in which it said that one in five poor children who dropped out before completing primary school did so for economic reasons.
“Poverty affects almost 40 per cent of displaced families.Nearly half of internally displaced children in Iraq are out of school. In areas heavily affected by violence, more than 90% of children are not in school,” the report said.
“All of Iraq’s children should have the resources they need to fulfil their educational potential, whether that means new classrooms, accelerated learning programmes, motivated teachers or school materials,” said Cappelaere.
UNICEF said it received only a half of US$32 million it appealed for in 2017 for its programmes to support education in Iraq. Iraq’s war against Islamic State militants has displaced more than four million Iraqis since 2014.
by Mohamed Mostafa