An urgent appeal to help children whose schools are closed by conflict in Cameroon, Afghan girls take exams and how books in the childhood home can affect your brain in old age.
Actions needed to help 700,000 children in Cameroon
Urgent international funding is needed to help more than 700,000 children whose schools have been closed by conflict in Cameroon.
Two-thirds of schools have been closed in the North West and South West regions, according to United Nations humanitarian agency UNOCHA.
Attacks on education include the murder of four children and a teacher last week in Ekondo Titi. In other incidents, eight students and five school principals were kidnapped and a girl’s fingers were cut off as she tried to go to school.
âPutting a satchel on your back shouldn’t make you a target. Yet children here risk their lives every day by showing up to school. Cameroon’s education mega-emergency needs international attention, not deadly silence from the outside world, âsaid Jan Egeland, general secretary of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
He was speaking during a visit to Cameroon with Yasmine Sherif, director of the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund. She said: âChildren and young people must flee their homes and schools, are threatened with violence and kidnapping, and are forced into early marriage and recruited into armed groups. We call for urgent donor support to respond to this forgotten crisis. ”
ECW is contributing $ 25 million over three years to education programs and calls on other donors to close the gap estimated at $ 50 million.
Somalia to send 25,000 more students to primary school
More than 600 primary schools will receive funding to enroll 25,000 out-of-school children in Somalia. It will help them expand access to quality education in underserved areas, especially for girls, vulnerable children and people with disabilities.
A similar campaign last year saw 37,000 children attend school for the first time. Investing in education is critical in Somalia, where only 27% of primary-age children and 25% of primary-age girls attend school.
Grants from the country’s national and state ministries of education are supported by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). They will also help expand the infrastructure of schools and allow them to accommodate additional students in the future.
Alice Albright, CEO of GPE, said: âFamilies, schools and governments are struggling to cope with the impact of the pandemic. This funding will help attract more children to classrooms and support efforts to transform the education system to be more equitable and inclusive. . ”
Afghan girls take exams despite school ban
Hundreds of Afghan girls have taken entrance exams in Kabul – despite the Taliban preventing the girls from returning to secondary education.
About 3,500 students took exams in the Afghan-Turkish school system run by a Turkish foundation, with girls making up nearly 40% of applicants.
“We want all girls to be educated. This is the wish of our president and our government and that of the Afghans,” said Changez Idmir, educational adviser at the Turkish embassy in Kabul.
Afghan-Turkish schools are highly regarded and admission is very competitive. But they had to make changes to their schedule – shutting down music, theater and dance departments at the behest of Taliban officials.
School is key to reducing child recruitment
One in eight children in the world – over 330 million – live in conflict zones where they are at risk of becoming child soldiers. This is three times the rate of 1990, according to a new report.
Save the Children said increasing access to school is vital to tackle forced recruitment by armed groups and government forces.
“It is just horrible that in the shadow of Covid-19 and the UN call for a global ceasefire, more children than ever are caught in the crosshairs of war zones the deadliest … and most likely to be injured, recruited or killed, “said Inger Ashing, Executive Director of Save the Children International.
The charity said the lack of educational opportunities was one of the main causes of child recruitment – a problem made worse by the pandemic that has closed schools.
Children’s books can affect the aging brain
It is well known that early learning is crucial in laying the foundation for a child’s education and giving them the skills to be successful later in life.
Corn a new study reveals that the environment in a child’s home also affects brain function in old age. Researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel found that the more books there were in children’s homes, the slower the decline in cognitive function in the elderly.
Exposure to books – not necessarily reading them – is key, they said. It can increase the cognitive abilities of children who learn to love reading, acquire education and other cognitive skills.
âThe development of cognitive abilities in childhood can produce ‘reserves’ that protect the brain from degeneration in old age,â said Dr. Galit Weinstein, editor of the study.