FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Education is a Neglected Casualty of Wars and Displacements

One of the neglected consequences of the recent wars and civilian conflicts in many parts of the world is their effect on people’s education, particularly children’s education. Because of the close connection between education and health, these events have had a severe effect on people’s health –particularly on children- and on the countries’ development.

In many of the countries in conflict there are attacks on students, teachers, schools and universities, while the military uses schools routinely for their activities. Girls and women are targets of attacks because of their gender. The recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria have had devastating effects not only because of the huge number of deaths but also for their impact on education.

Education can increase children’s nutritional levels and their health status, particularly among the poor. In India, the mortality rate among children of educated women is almost half that of children of women without formal education. In the Philippines, primary education among mothers has reduced the risks of child mortality by half, and secondary education reduces that risk by a factor of three.

Children with primary education –particularly in developing countries- can help their families make nutritional decisions that will affect the health of the whole family. The level of education in relation to health is particularly important among women. It has been found that better education, particularly among mothers, is widely associated with better children’s health. In addition, education for women is closely associated with later marriage and smaller family size.

Deteriorating conditions in Syria have led hundreds of thousands of people to leave their country and seek refuge in other places. Before the conflict, 97 percent of school-aged children in Syria attended school, and Syrian literacy rates surpassed 90 percent for men and women, above the regional average. Today, inside Syria, over 2 million children do not attend school, while more than half a million Syrian refugee children are not in school in neighboring countries.

Lebanon’s health, social and education services have borne the brunt of the huge number of incoming Syrian refugees. Lebanon has not received the proper international governmental assistance to confront this crisis. However, several NGOs have been providing succor to the Syrian refugees.

Both the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people have shown considerable understanding and willingness to help their Syrian neighbors. However, the problems created by the influx of refugees have reached such enormous dimensions that they have strained the relations between both the Syrian and Lebanese people and their governments.

Although the aid the NGOs offer to Syrian refugees is invaluable, the need is overwhelming. “During times of conflict and insecurity, maintaining access to education is of vital importance for children’s protection and development,” states Save the Children.

In the Americas, the seemingly unending waves of refugee families coming into the U.S. have jeopardized their children’s education. In many cases, immigration authorities in the U.S. mistreat those seeking asylum. Children’s education and their quality of life have suffered as a result.

The policy of separating children from their parents has had dreadful consequences, and many children suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. In many cases, the result of this separation is that children end up being cared by other children. “The care of children by children constitutes a betrayal of adult responsibility,” said Gilbert Kliman, A San Francisco psychoanalyst, who has evaluated dozens of children and parents seeking asylum.

Recent statistics indicate that by the end of 2019, around 539,000 Central Americans will be displaced, the bulk of whom will request asylum in the U.S. In 2018 alone, 49,000 children and adolescents dropped out of school in El Salvador. It is estimated that in Guatemala and Honduras, more than 2 million children may not be attending school.

In the Northern Triangle –i.e., in those three countries– individuals are escaping from a dramatic escalation in organized crime and poverty. Although in most cases whole families flee together, at times children make this dangerous trip north alone, thus becoming some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees.

Neglecting to deal with the effects of war on education will only aggravate these problems, and with its consequence on children’s health and well being. As Nelson Mandela eloquently stated, “It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.”

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
Patrick Bond
As Brazil’s ex-President Lula is Set Free and BRICS Leaders Summit, What Lessons From the Workers Party for Fighting Global Neoliberalism?
Alexandra Early
Labor Opponents of Single Payer Don’t  Speak For Low Wage Union Members
Pete Dolack
Resisting Misleading Narratives About Pacifica Radio
Edward Hunt
It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Why Aren’t Americans Rising up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?
Nicolas Lalaguna
Voting on the Future of Life on Earth
Jill Richardson
The EPA’s War on Science Continues
Lawrence Davidson
The Problem of Localized Ethics
Richard Hardigan
Europe’s Shameful Treatment of Refugees: Fire in Greek Camp Highlights Appalling Conditions
Judith Deutsch
Permanent War: the Drive to Emasculate
David Swanson
Why War Deaths Increase After Wars
Raouf Halaby
94 Well-Lived Years and the $27 Traffic Fine
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Coups-for-Green-Energy Added to Wars-For-Oil
Andrea Flynn
What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Health Care
Negin Owliaei
Time for a Billionaire Ban
Binoy Kampmark
Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition
Bernard Marszalek
Toward a Counterculture of Rebellion
Brian Horejsi
The Benefits of Environmental Citizenship
Brian Cloughley
All That Gunsmoke
Graham Peebles
Why is there so Much Wrong in Our Society?
Jonah Raskin
Black, Blue, Jazzy and Beat Down to His Bones: Being Bob Kaufman
John Kendall Hawkins
Treason as a Lifestyle: I’ll Drink to That
Manuel García, Jr.
Heartrending Antiwar Songs
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Poetry and Political Struggle: The Dialectics of Rhyme
Ben Terrall
The Rise of Silicon Valley
David Yearsley
Performance Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail