Khartoum, 24 November 2023 (TDI): The ongoing conflict in Sudan is having a devastating impact on the country’s children, with an estimated 19 million out of school. This represents one in three children in Sudan, and the number is only expected to grow.
Of these 19 million children, 6.5 million have lost access to school due to increased violence and insecurity in their region. At least 10,400 schools have been shuttered in conflict-affected areas, leaving many children with no place to learn.
Another 5.5 million children who reside in areas less impacted by war are still waiting for local authorities to confirm whether classrooms can be reopened. These children are living in limbo, unsure of when or if they will be able to return to their studies.
Sudan’s escalating conflict is not only disrupting the country’s education system but also depriving children of essential social and emotional support during a time of immense turmoil.
Mandeep O’Brien, UNICEF Country Representative in Sudan, aptly describes the situation as “on the brink of becoming home to the worst education crisis in the world.
The protracted conflict has left children exposed to the horrors of war, forcibly separating them from their classrooms, teachers, and friends.
This abrupt disruption to their education and support network puts them at risk of falling into a void that could jeopardize the future of an entire generation.
Arif Noor, Save the Children Sudan Country Director, stated that “since the conflict began, Sudan has emerged as the globe’s most extensive internal displacement crisis, with 4.4 million people newly displaced within Sudan, including around 2.5 million children.”
Additionally, “5 million school-age children find themselves trapped in areas of active conflict, placing them in the highest jeopardy of losing crucial access to education and essential protection services.”
The conflict has also led to a decline in spending on social services, with teachers in almost all states missing their salaries since the armed conflict started nearly six months ago. Education supplies are lacking, and facilities have not been maintained.
Despite efforts to keep education systems in Sudan functional, there are significant constraints, and the needs are quickly outpacing the resources.