Addis Abeba – A new report by the UN’s global fund for education in emergencies, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), revealed that conflict, climate change, malnutrition and displacement forced 3.6 million children out of school in Ethiopia in what it says is the world’s largest education crisis. The number rose from 3.1 million to 3.6 million in just the last six months alone.
In a statement released on 07 December subsequent to a joint high-level visit to Ethiopia by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and the Norwegian Minister of International Development, ECW said, 3.6 million children are out of school, while over 8,700 schools are partially or severely damaged due to conflict and climate-related crisis.
“The recent conflict in Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions have displaced families from their homes. Ongoing violence in parts of Oromia is causing further civilian displacement,” the statement said, adding that, “the worst drought in over four decades has made matters even worse with 24.1 million people affected, including 12.6 million children”.
The statement further said quoting UNICEF that the number of out-of-school children in Ethiopia “spiked from 3.1 million to 3.6 million in just the last six months” as a result of these emergencies. The number of second-grade Ethiopian students that are able to read dropped from 25% in 2018 to 13% in 2021 the statement added.
Delegation from the ECW and the Norwegian Minister of International Development alongside other partners “met with children and adolescents impacted by the ongoing crises in the Oromia and Somali regions” according to the statement.
ECW said it has invested $55 million in Ethiopia since 2017, with an additional $5 million investment being finalized to further scale up education response to the current crisis. ECW investments have already reached 276,000 crisis-affected girls and boys with safe, quality education it added. AS