NEWS

Last Year, We Promised All Syrian Children An Education - So Where Is It?

$1.4bn was pledged to get Syrian children into school. $1bn is still missing.

04/02/2017 13:02 | Updated 14 February 2017

Exactly one year ago today, more than 40 countries pledged $1.4bn to ensure every Syrian child refugee would be in school by the end of the 2016/17 academic year.

There are 1.6m Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, but only 53% are in education. An investigation by TheirWorld charity found of the multi-million dollar pledge, only $400m has been delivered.

At the 2016 conference, which was held in London, the UK government pledged to double its contribution to £240m over four years for Syrian refugee education. 

Former prime minister Gordon Brown, who is the United Nations special envoy for global education, condemned the broken promises of world leaders:

“A year after the Supporting Syria And The Region conference - hosted by the UK government in London - promised education for every refugee child, nearly one million are still being denied. Money paid out is one billion dollars short of what was pledged.

“We have to ask what kind of world it is when we do least for those children who are most vulnerable and most in need…the girls and boys out of sight, out of mind, out of school and out of hope.”

Last year, TheirWorld charity launched a campaign to remind world leaders of their promise to Syrian children. But despite the “Your Promise” campaign, around 800,000 Syrian children are still not in school. 

A DFID spokesman told HuffPost UK:The fact is, tens of thousands of Syrians’ lives are better as a result of the outcomes of the Syria Conference including more than 75,000 children who enrolled in schools in Lebanon and Jordan last year.

“We are under no illusions that delivering on our goals against the backdrop of the world’s biggest crisis will be incredibly challenging, but UK Aid is having a real, tangible impact on the ground.

“We are leading the way both in delivering on our own promises and in holding other donors to theirs, so every child affected by this conflict gets the chance of an education.”

Ben Hewitt, director of campaigns at TheirWorld, said the conference’s co-hosts - Britain, Norway, Kuwait and Germany - had a responsibility to ensure they and other countries honoured the financial commitments made.

“They should now put a motion to the UN demanding people pay up for education,” he continued. “They could also put forward a resolution to European Union colleagues or raise the matter at the World Bank. This would show real leadership.”

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