As of September 2016, the Government of Niger estimated that 302,000 persons, comprised of refugees (30 per cent), IDPs (60 per cent) and returning Niger nationals (10 per cent), was displaced. Insecurity has adversely affected the resilience of the population, turning host families into IDPs, and therefore destroying the socio-economic fabric of the society. In certain areas there are clear signs indicating the degradation of social cohesion.
It is currently estimated that approximately 52 per cent of refugees, returning Niger nationals and IDPs are children. Since February 2015, some 151 primary schools have been forced to close in the Diffa region, resulting in at least 12,000 children being deprived of education. Approximately 9,000 have been relocated to emergency schools or to other existing national schools. To date 77 schools remain closed, leaving more than 3,000 primary school children without access to education. Three Distance Education Centres provide secondary education to about 400 Nigerian refugee students under the Nigerian curriculum. The programme receives the full support of the West African Examination Council and the Ministries of Education of Niger and Nigeria.
In 2016, approximately 17,825 children benefited from continued access to formal education. More than 1,700 refugee children benefitted from French intensive courses during the first half of the year, preparing them for integration into Niger’s national schooling system. Considering the nature of the Boko Haram insurgency and the devastating impact of the current crisis on education, emphasis will be placed on collaborating with education authorities in Niger and in Nigeria, with the aim of ensuring Nigerian refugees are able to continue pursuing their education in 2017.