Deprived of school future of 24 million children in conflict zones under

“Children living in countries affected by conflict have lost their homes, family members, friends, safety, and routine. Now, unable to learn even the basic reading and writing skills, they are at risk of losing their futures and missing out on the opportunity to contribute to their economies and societies when they reach adulthood,” UNICEF Chief of Education Jo Bourne said. The analysis highlights that nearly one in four of the 109.2 million children of primary and lower secondary school age – typically between six and 15 years – living in conflict areas are missing out on their education. South Sudan, which was thrown into turmoil when conflict erupted between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President Riek Machar two years ago, killing thousands, displacing over 2.4 million people, and impacting the food security of 4.6 million, is home to the highest proportion of out-of-school children. Over half (51 per cent) of primary and lower secondary age children have no access to an education. Niger is a close second with 47 per cent unable to attend school, followed by Sudan with 41 per cent and Afghanistan with 40 per cent. In countries affected by conflict, collecting data on children is extremely difficult and therefore these figures may themselves not adequately capture the breadth and depth of the challenge, UNICEF stressed. The agency fears that unless the provision of education in emergencies is prioritized, a generation of children living in conflict will grow up without the skills they need to contribute to their countries and economies, exacerbating the already desperate situation for millions of children and their families. Education continues to be one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals. In Uganda, where UNICEF is providing services to South Sudanese refugees, education faces an 89 per cent funding gap. “School equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to rebuild their communities once the conflict is over, and in the short-term it provides them with the stability and structure required to cope with the trauma they have experienced,” Ms. Bourne said. “Schools can also protect children from the trauma and physical dangers around them. When children are not in school, they are at an increased danger of abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups.” During episodes of instability and violence, schools become more than a place of learning. UNICEF is working to create safe environments where children can learn and play to restore normalcy to their lives. Despite these efforts, security restrictions and funding shortfalls are affecting education and the distribution of learning materials in conflict situations. read more

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Pupils increasingly sceptical of importance of university poll finds

Figures published by Ucas in July showed that young people in England are more likely to apply to go to university than ever.More than a third (38.1%) of 18-year-olds across the country have applied this year, up 0.2 percentage points on last year. More than three in four (77%) of those surveyed this year said they were likely to go into higher education.Poorer pupils – those eligible for free school meals – are less likely to say they are planning to go to university than their richer classmates (67% compared with 79%), the Sutton Trust said.Girls are more likely to say they expect to study for a degree than boys (81% compared with 73%), the poll found. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Of the young people who said they they are unlikely to go into higher education, the most common reason was that they do not like the idea or do not enjoy learning and studying (58%), followed by finance (44%).More than a third (35%) said they feel they are not clever enough, while the same proportion said it was not needed for their job plans.Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “It’s no surprise that there has been a fall in the proportion of young people who think it’s important to go into higher education.”Young people face a dilemma. If they go on to university they incur debts of over £50,000 and will be paying back their loans well into middle age. And in a number of cases they end up with degrees that don’t get them into graduate jobs.”On the other hand, degree-level apprenticeships are almost non-existent with less than 10,000 available each year compared with over 300,000 university places. There is effectively no viable alternative to university.” Young people are increasingly less likely to believe that getting a degree is important, according to a poll.It indicates that the proportion of secondary school pupils who think they need to go to university to do well in life has fallen steadily in the last six years.Despite this, the vast majority say they are likely to go into higher education when they are old enough.The findings, published by the Sutton Trust, come as sixth-formers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive their A-level results and learn if they have gained a university place.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The poll, which questioned around 2,300 children aged 11-16 in England and Wales, found that three-quarters (75%) think it is important to go to university, down from 78% last year and a high of 86% in 2013. The Ipsos Mori poll questioned 2,381 schoolchildren aged 11-16 in schools in England and Wales between February 5 and May 25.A Department for Education spokesman said “university isn’t for everyone” and the Government does not want one route to a career “to be considered better than any other”.”That is why we are transforming technical education in this country to put it on a par with our amazing academic system,” he said. read more

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