When students and teachers become targets

More than 22,000 students and teachers have been injured or killed in attacks on education over the past five years.

According to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) and the report Education under Attack 2020, there are widespread attacks on education worldwide.

The Giving Hope For Them (GHFT

) works in some of the hardest hit countries. Our colleagues see every day how attacks on education not only harm individual students and teachers, but also how they affect communities for years afterwards.

“Attacks on schools and students are attacks on the future of a country. Not only do they destroy children’s opportunities to learn and develop, but they can also cause psychosocial problems,” says Annelies Ollieuz, Global Education Lead at GHFT.

With buildings and teaching materials destroyed, and students and teachers living in fear, schools and universities in conflict zones are often forced to close. Some students never resume their education, impeding their long-term development.

How you can help:

With your support, we can renovate damaged schools and build new ones. At the same time, we work to create safe spaces for learning, prevent attacks on schools and keep schools from being used for military purposes.

Here are ten things you should know about attacks on education:

#1: Bombing, killing and rape 

The Education under Attack report tracks seven types of attacks on education:

  • attacks on schools
  • attacks on students, teachers and other education personnel
  • military use of schools and universities
  • child recruitment at, or on the way to or from, school
  • sexual violence at, or on the way to or from, school or university
  • attacks on higher education
  • targeted attacks on girls and women

2: More than 11,000 attacks

More than 11,000 separate attacks on education facilities, students and educators took place between 2015 and 2019.

3: Attacks in 93 countries

The number of countries experiencing attacks on education has increased to 93 over the last five years. See the map of the most affected countries.

4: New countries  

Attacks on education have emerged in new countries, including Guinea and Nicaragua. In Burkina Faso and Niger, which were only minimally affected until recently, attacks have risen sharply, contributing to the closure of more than 2,000 schools.

5: The hardest hit countries

Numbers of attacks on education remained alarmingly high in Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), with each experiencing over 1,500 documented attacks on schools over the five-year period. Meanwhile, Afghanistan, Palestine and Syria each experienced over 500 attacks.

6: Students and teachers suffer direct attacks

Students and educators were most frequently harmed by direct attacks in Afghanistan, Cameroon and Palestine. In Cameroon, over 1,000 school and university students and staff were threatened, abducted, injured or killed by armed groups or state armed forces.

7: Higher education under attack

Attacks on higher education were reported in 73 countries in total, and in 36 of the 37 countries profiled in the report. Over 9,100 higher education students and staff were injured, killed, abducted, or arrested between 2015 and 2019.

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