Out of School Children of Primary School-Age (%)

Conflict-Affected Countries Countries Not in Conflict

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and UNICEF (2015). Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children. Montreal: UIS. http://dx.doi.org/10.15220/978-92-9189-161-0-en

Armed conflict is one of the most devastating barriers to education.

In some regions, political upheaval and war cause conflict. In other areas, conflict is perpetuated violence linked to organized crime, drugs and gang warfare. About half of the world’s out-of-school children come from conflict-affected regions.

Conflict creates some obvious threats to education including the loss of life and the destruction or repurposing of schools. But conflict also leads to the dispersion of communities, deficits of teachers and heightened security concerns – all of which make education hard to sustain. The cumulative impact is months and years of missed learning.

In addition, the loss of educational opportunities exposes children to dangers including sexual exploitation, physical attack and recruitment into armed groups – dangers that further reduce a child’s chance of getting an education.

Families displaced by war often plunge deeper into poverty, forcing children into the workforce rather than school.
Conflict also impacts physical and emotional health, which limit school attendance and performance and threaten children’s future development.


    Methods for providing learning in difficult and dangerous environments include:

  • Non-formal and second-chance education programmes
  • Increased security measures in and on the way to school
  • Temporary schools
  • Distance learning programmes

Providing learning opportunities in conflict-afflicted regions demands increased international commitment to financing education as part of humanitarian responses. However, less than 2 per cent of humanitarian aid is currently earmarked for education. The global education community has called for an increase to 4 per cent.