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Attacks on schools disrupted learning for over 1.3m northern children – UNICEF

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The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has revealed that recent attacks on schools, particularly in the North East and North West regions in 2021, have led to learning disruptions for over 1.3 million children, necessitating precautionary school closures.

This is as the UN Agency highlighted the urgency of addressing school safety comprehensively.

In a statement to mark the International Day of Education on Wednesday, Cristian Munduate, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said: “A recent evaluation indicates that, on average, only 43 per cent of the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools are being met in about 6,000 assessed schools.

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“This finding particularly highlights challenges in ensuring the safety of school infrastructure and in mitigating risks such as violence, conflict, and natural hazards.

“Nigeria had shown a commitment to creating safe school environments by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration and developing the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools.

“Their educational journey is often disrupted by attacks on communities and schools, including the abduction of students. These challenges are particularly acute for adolescent girls, potentially stalling the progress made in girls’ education in Nigeria.

“To complement these efforts, UNICEF emphasises the importance of alternative learning platforms, such as the Nigerian Learning Passport. This digital platform, with over 750,000 users, offers curriculum-aligned materials and is crucial for ensuring continuity of education, especially during school closures.

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“UNICEF remains committed to working with the Nigerian government, donors, and all partners to ensure that every child has access to a safe, inclusive, and quality education.”

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