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Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa Education Update, 2020-2021 School Year (July 2021)

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Situation Report
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A region marked by rising insecurity and large-scale displacement

The West and Central Africa (WCA) region hosts over 11 million persons of concern to UNHCR, including 7 million internally displaced people and 1,4 million refugees, of whom more than 55% are children.

Forced displacement is on the rise as increasing violence, human right violations and armed conflicts compound existing fragility and political instability, the effects of climate change, the lack of human development opportunities and educational attainment, and the disastrous impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on livelihoods and economic prospects.

The recurrence of humanitarian emergencies adds to already precarious contexts and prolonged crisis situations, leaving little hope and opportunities for the youth, who make up 65% of the population in the region.

The security situation across the WCA region has been evolving in an alarming manner and children and adolescents have been severely affected by the crisis.

In particularly vulnerable regions such as the Central Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, the right of children to education is constantly challenged. Armed groups have directly targeted school buildings, teachers and pupils through physical attacks, threats, abductions, and killings.

Fear and school closures have contributed to families’ decisions to flee to safer areas, mostly urban and semi-urban centres where education capacities have become overburdened. Neither school infrastructure nor teacher recruitment has grown in pace with new arrivals of families to displacement hotspots.