Conflict forces more than 2,000 schools to close in eastern DR Congo: UN
A brutal conflict has disrupted the education of about 750,000 children in the two most conflict-affected provinces in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
At least 2,100 schools in North Kivu and Ituri provinces have been forced to shut because of the deteriorating security situation between January 2022 and March 2023, according to the UN agency.
“School-aged children are paying an unacceptable price for the growing conflict and insecurity in eastern DRC,” said UNICEF representative Grant Leaity.
“Hundreds of thousands of children who should be safely learning in the classroom have instead been displaced by violence and are living in desperate conditions and in vast and overcrowded camps.”
UNICEF said the scale of the crisis has kept the majority of children living in the displacement camps out of school.
The most affected are the nearly 240,000 children who live in the vast camps around Goma, North Kivu’s provincial capital, it said.
Nearly 1,700 schools have been forced to close due to persistent insecurity in areas controlled by armed groups while about 300 schools cannot operate because they are providing shelter to people displaced by conflict, according to the agency.
Some 119 schools have been attacked, occupied or temporarily used by armed groups.
Eastern Congo remains volatile with 5.7 million people internally displaced amid food insecurity, according to the UN.
An offensive between government forces and the M23 rebel group in North Kivu province has displaced hundreds of thousands of people since March.
In neighboring Ituri province, civilians suffer regular attacks orchestrated by rebels from Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) and other militias.
There are few facilities for displaced children to sit their final exams in June and obtain formal qualifications, UNICEF said.