Refugee children

Muna Al Fuzai
Muna Al Fuzai

While the world’s children began a new school year, nearly 15 million children remain without access to school and regular education or any possibility to acquire a basic education -these are Syrian child refugees. UN reports for 2015 indicated that the number of refugees totals65 million people, and is expected to increase. Children form the greatest number of refugees. Today, about 50 million children do not have access to regular education due to the ongoing war in Syria and crises plaguing Africa. It is really sad.

Several countries, such as Turkey and Lebanon for example, have received the largest number of refugees in the world. In Turkey, according to estimates, there are 2.5 million Syrian refugees. It’s natural that such a figure would constitute a significant burden on the state’s resources. The refugees may engage in crime because of ignorance of laws, idleness and the need for money. The absence of immediate solutions to crises, especially the conflict in Syria, can prolong the hard times for these people, and children will grow up in difficult humanitarian conditions.

Before the beginning of the war in Syria, the school enrollment ratio there exceeded 90 percent. Education was not spared by the war, with kids fleeing with their parents, while those who remain in Syria cannot continue their education. It is a dangerous situation.

Ignorance is another problem of the asylum crisis, along with the loss of refugees’ homes and alienation. This ignorance doesn’t allow these refugees to assist in the development of their host states. A model effort by Lebanon to educate Syrian refugee kids is unique, but it is not enough, with the increasing numbers of child refugees. It seems this issue is not receiving enough attention and the UN is maybe not doing enough to make the governments aware of the consequences of such a matter on their childhood and future. I am a media person, but read about this issue by coincidence, so I guess not many fully understand the importance of this issue and possible implications.

I only read about this issue when I saw a report about UNESCO signing an agreement in collaboration with the University of Yarmouk in Jordan to finance a program for the education of Syrian refugees worth $500,000, funded by Kuwait. The agreement provides rehabilitation and education of 200 young Syrian refugees to help them obtain diplomas and bachelor’s degrees. It is a small number, but every country should exert similar efforts.

A lack of education creates a generation that cannot integrate into the host community of nations and will constitute a burden, because these children will grow up and live as refugees. This generation will be formed by refugee children who did not acquire an education, who can fall victims to the lure of terrorist organizations and crime. With all the mess of IS in the Middle East, it is not hard to imagine how easy it could be for uneducated kids and youth to be used to create chaos.

It is wrong to deal with the issue of refugees’ education as a temporary situation that is expected to be resolved soon, because many years have passed since the Syrian crisis started, and so far international efforts do not seem firm or able to stop the rivers of blood there. I know some efforts are being made, but we still need more, and on top is awareness of communities that there are a lot of Syrian children out of school. We are about to lose an entire generation. This is a great tragedy and a threat to the world.

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