1m others afraid to return to school, says world body
Not less than 20 attacks have been carried out in schools in Nigeria, with 1,436 children abducted and 16 children dead, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) disclosed yesterday. The Country Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, who disclosed this said more than 200 children are still missing, making more than one million out of 37 million children afraid to return to school owing to attacks on schools by suspected Boko Haram and bandits in the Northeast and Northwest geo-political zones of the country. Hawkins said the children are being left behind afraid to return to school due to high rate insecurity in the country.
He said learners are being cut off from their education and other vital benefits schools provide, as families and communities remain fearful of sending children back to their classrooms due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions in Nigeria over the last several months and the current climate of insecurity.
His words: “A child’s first day of school should be an exciting event for parents and children – a landmark moment in their young lives, signalling new learning and new friends that will impact their futures. This moment is being stolen from around a million Nigerian children this year, as insecurity threatens their safety and education.
“It is unacceptable that communities should be worried to send their children to school over fears they will be abducted from what should be a safe space. It is unacceptable that children need to fear returning to their friends and classrooms – and that parents are afraid that if they send their children to school, they may never return. This insecurity must end so that children can return to their normal lives and benefit from all the important things being in school brings to them.” Hawkins said there have been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria, with 1,436 children abducted and 16 children dead. More than 200 children are still missing. Hawkins said studies have shown that positive school experiences are a predictor of children’s future social, emotional and educational outcomes.