UNICEF TO REHABILITATE 1, 400 SCHOOLS WITH TEACHERS’ TRAINING IN N’EAST

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By Jutha Gupah, Maiduguri

The UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Justin Forsyth has said that;the UN agency is working with international partners to rehabilitate Boko Haram destroyed schools; and train more teachers to build a “strong and sustained” education system in the Northeast. Since the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009, 1, 400 schools were destroyed with the killing of 2, 295 teachers and displacement of 19, 000 people from various communities of Borno state and the northeast.
Forsyth disclosed this on Friday, while fielding questions from journalists on his three-day working visit to the region at the International Airport, Maiduguri.
He said with the destruction of schools, over 57 per cent of schools in Borno state were closed, despite the commencement of new school year.
“Almost 1, 400 schools have been destroyed with the majority unable to open because of extensive damage or because they are in areas that remain unsafe,” he said.
He added that about three million children are in need of emergency education support. He lamented that children in the insurgency affected region are living through so much horror with over three
years out of school.
Forsyth warned: “In addition to devastating malnutrition, violence and an outbreak of cholera, the attacks on schools is in danger of creating a lost generation of children, threatening their and
country’s future.”
He however noted that children living in camps in Borno state; are benefiting from education for the first time in their lives.
He said in the Muna Garage camp alone, 90 per cent of students were enrolled in school for the first time.
Forsyth further disclosed that in insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, the UN agency and other partners have enrolled about 750, 000 children in school this year. He added that 350 temporary learning spaces were established with the distribution of 94, 000 packs of learning materials that could help children get an education.
During the three-day working visit, Forsyth met with families and children affected by the conflict. They told him of their fear living under Boko Haram and the poor living conditions they live in.
On state of children in camps and host communities, he said: “To date, nearly one million children have been displaced by the crisis and 450, 000 children under the age of five; are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year.
“The use of 100 children as human bombs in this year; has sown a climate of mistrust among communities in the northeast. Cholera outbreak has also affected more than 3, 900 people, including over 2,450 children.

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