Skip to main content
A Yemeni boy school writes as he sits outside a school AHMAD AL-BASHA/AFP/Getty Images

Ending the War on Education

Around the world, violence disrupts schooling for some 80 million children, as students and their teachers become targets in conflict zones. With the frequency of attacks increasing, the international community must recommit to a global pledge made nearly two decades ago: education for all, everywhere.

HONOLULU – My three-year-old niece believes strongly in the power of “the good guys.” Whenever I visit, she drags me to the bookshelf in her room and pulls out book after book, each with the same conclusion: in battles big or small, the good guys always win.

I don’t have the heart to tell her that, in the real world, clean fights and gratifying outcomes are the exception. Modern warfare follows no rules, and loyalties are never black and white. For me, nothing illustrates this truth more terribly than the surge in violence directed at schools and educators in conflict areas.

In May of this year, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack will publish its “Education Under Attack” report, which confirms that wars and military engagements are affecting education more severely than any time in recent memory. The numbers are truly shocking. Around the world, some 80 million children are unable to attend school because of violence. In the first half of 2017, there were more than 500 attacks on schools in 20 countries, a significant increase from previous years. According to the United Nations, in 15 of those countries, government soldiers or rebel forces seized schools for military use.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/kouFcx5;

Handpicked to read next

  1. haass103_GettyImages_redeastasiamapdotslines Getty Images

    Asia’s Scary Movie

    Richard N. Haass

    A snapshot of Asia would show a region at peace, with stable societies, growing economies, and robust alliances. But, if we view history as a moving picture, we may well come to look back on this moment as the time in which the most economically successful part of the world began to come apart.

  2. roubini130_GettyImages_iphonehandstealingpiggybank Getty Images

    The Great Crypto Heist

    Nouriel Roubini

    Cryptocurrencies have given rise to an entire new criminal industry, comprising unregulated offshore exchanges, paid propagandists, and an army of scammers looking to fleece retail investors. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence of rampant fraud and abuse, financial regulators and law-enforcement agencies remain asleep at the wheel.

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.