Press Release

UNICEF: Schooling Desperately Needed for Syrian Children Affected by Crisis

Nearly two million Syrian children have dropped out of school since the last school year—representing some 40 percent of all students registered in grades one through nine.


NEW YORK (September 6, 2013) - Nearly two million Syrian children have dropped out of school since the last school year—representing some 40 percent of all students registered in grades one through nine.

"For a country that was close to achieving universal primary education before the conflict started, the numbers are staggering," said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Displacement, violence, fear and instability are robbing hundreds of thousands of children of the joy of learning. Parents tell us they are desperate for their children to continue their education."

Children are facing challenges going to school for a whole host of reasons, including intensifying violence inside Syria, language challenges, access to education, insecurity, and poverty. As schools are set to re-open in Syria and neighboring countries over the coming weeks, the task of bringing children back to school is monumental.

The Lebanese government estimates that there will be close to 550,000 school-aged Syrian children in the country by the end of this year, in addition to the 300,000 Lebanese children in the public school system. In 2013, just 15 percent of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon were studying in formal or non-formal classrooms.

In Iraq, nine out of 10 refugee children living in host communities are out of school. The past three weeks have seen more than 50,000 new refugees to the Kurdistan Region, around half of whom are children who will need support to keep learning.

And in Jordan, about three-quarters of Syrian school-aged children are out of school. Of the 30,000 school-aged children who live in the Za’atari Refugee Camp on the Syrian border, 12,000 are registered for school.

In the face of all these challenges and amid increasing needs, UNICEF is doubling its efforts to provide a continued education in a safe environment. In Syria, this includes a home-based self-learning program for conflict zones. In Lebanon, schools have been set up in buses that reach both Lebanese and Syrian refugee children.

In Jordan, community leaders are helping to promote a return to learning, additional classrooms are being set up to increase learning space, more teachers are being recruited, and school supplies and furniture are being distributed.

In Iraq, temporary tent classrooms are being erected as quickly as possible to accommodate the most recent wave of refugees.

UNICEF needs far more financial support and funding to provide Syrian children with access to education. Of UNICEF’s $470 million appeal for its relief efforts, education remains the least funded, with just $51 million received out of $161 million requested.


How to Help

For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF's relief efforts, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:

Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS

Text: SYRIA to 864233 to donate $10.
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038

As with any emergency, in the event that donations exceed anticipated needs, the U.S. Fund will redirect excess funds to children in greatest need.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146,