by Ahmed Fouda
UNICEF recently released a report stating that some 13 million students in the Arab region are not attending school due to civil wars, internal conflicts and poor economic conditions. This is one of the most serious challenges facing our region.
The report states that attacks waged on schools and the educational infrastructure are one of the main factors which impede students attending schools. The report further asserts that around 9,000 schools in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya have been destroyed and are currently being used as shelters for displaced families.
Peter Salama, UNICEF’s regional manager, said that 700,000 students from the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon’s border cities are currently not attending schools due to the destruction of infrastructure.
This situation makes us here at the Middle East Observer wonder; what will the next generation of Arabs be like, a generation which holds so many of our hopes? Are they to grow up illiterate when we depend on them to lift us from so many of our troubles? How will they handle such tough and high-profile economic issues? How will the Middle East rise from its current depression? Are we raising a generation of strawmen; ones who are with no education to armour them? Will their role be restricted to warding off and scaring crows and wild birds?
I call upon the UN and its agencies, educational institutions worldwide, as well as donor countries to examine the current situation in light of the fact that the world is one village, and what goes around, comes around, and we will all pay for this current tragedy unless these children are rescued from a doomed future.