Like many of their peers around the world, children in the Central African Republic are preparing to go back to school on Monday. An important sign of hope and progress for the country which is working to re-establish its education system after going through a political and humanitarian crisis for almost two years.
At least 2 million children have been affected by the conflict, and hundreds of thousands have lost up to two years of schooling. An assessment carried out in February 2014 revealed that 33% of surveyed schools had been attacked, 65% were closed due to security reasons and about one third of students enrolled for the school year had not returned to school. Schools were considerably damaged, occupied by armed forces or civilians, and used as shelters for displaced people.
The “Back to school, back to peace” campaign promotes the importance of education in restoring hope for the people of CAR, especially children. Continuing education in crises provides children with a safe place to go during conflict, as well as with a sense of routine and normalcy. Furthermore, education is essential to preventing conflict and promoting peace and tolerance.