The conflict in Syria is entering its fourth year. Every day the crisis is prolonged, the pain endured by innocent families grows – leaving deep scars that are likely to disfigure the Middle East and beyond for years to come.
A region that has suffered more than its share of conflict and displacement is once again wracked by violence, economic hardship and a vast weight of human suffering. Most affected of all are Syria’s children: more than 5 million young lives are at risk of becoming a “lost generation”.
This paper focuses on the havoc being wreaked on these children’s hopes of an education – and the likely consequences for the region’s future. It outlines the long-term impact of the collapse in school enrolment inside Syria, the transformation of schools from safe spaces to places of danger, and the heavy burden that more than a million young refugees is placing on school systems in neighbouring countries.
The paper argues that even among the many challenges facing Syria’s children, ensuring their continued access to learning is an essential platform for protection, social stabilization and economic recovery, and one the world cannot ignore. Four key recommendations to be undertaken by regional governments and their international partners to safeguard Syrian children’s fundamental right to quality education are presented.