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Education can protect children from conflict- experts

By Carol Natukunda

Added 2nd June 2016 12:42 PM

Three out of ten children in Africa are living in conflict-affected settings and exposed to numerous risks.

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Three out of ten children in Africa are living in conflict-affected settings and exposed to numerous risks.

Ensuring access to education could help to address conflict and instability in Africa, experts have noted.

Speaking on Wednesday ahead of the Pan-African Symposium on Education, Resilience and Social Cohesion, at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, stakeholders regretted that millions of children are exposed to disaster and conflicts.

Three out of ten children in Africa are living in conflict-affected settings and exposed to numerous risks, according to a press statement by the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF).

At least 327 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa live in fragile contexts and the majority of the estimated 29 million children who are out of school are primarily found in fragile settings and are particularly at risk or threatened by conflict, the UN Agency revealed further.

UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala stated: “The capacity of education to support children develop and thrive is well documented. However, we now also know that education can prevent and reduce the impacts of conflict.”

She further stressed that if the right policies and interventions are in place, coupled with financial investment, education can a driving force in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Ethiopian Minister of Education, Ato Shiferaw Shigute agreed.

“Education can play both a protective and preventative role. In doing this, education’s power is transformative and serves as a peace dividend, reducing inequities and grievances between groups and strengthening social cohesion,” she said.

Dr. Martial de Paul Ikounga, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology called for the need to reorient Africa’s education and training systems to meet the competence needs on the market.

Oley Dibba-Wadda, the Executive Secretary of the Development of Education in Africa, reiterated that  education was a tool against all kinds of violence strongly appeals to African governments to develop a strategies on tolerance and for the young generation.”

The three-day the Pan-African Symposium seeks to share evidence and best practices from UNICEF’s Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme and the Inter-Country Quality Node on Peace Education, established by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). In doing so, the Symposium will assess how inclusive, equitable and innovative education policy and programmes can contribute to sustainable peace and development across the continent.

The African Union Commission, under the Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want”, envisions that by 2020 “all guns will be silent and a culture of peace and tolerance would be nurtured in Africa´s children and youth through peace.” 

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