UNICEF reports that, as Burkina Faso commences its new academic year, over a million children and 31,000 educators find themselves unable to resume their classroom activities. This unfortunate situation arises from the ongoing violence and insecurity plaguing the West African nation.
On the first day of school, UNICEF reported that 6,100 schools, or at least 25% of all institutions, remained closed.
The military junta, which assumed control through a coup last year, has faced challenges in enhancing the country’s security situation. Data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a crisis-monitoring group based in the United States, indicates that nationwide violence has continued to escalate following the coup.
Burkina Faso has grappled with the formidable task of containing Islamist insurgents with ties to both al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Their actions have resulted in the tragic loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of over two million people within the country, with a striking majority of those affected being innocent children.
According to UNICEF, a shocking 3.8 million children in Burkina Faso have not been able to return to school, especially those living in areas affected by conflict. UNICEF is working closely with local authorities and partners to provide educational opportunities for these children, including radio-based programs.