Briefing note

Unprecedented school closures jeopardise the future of millions in West and Central Africa

Published 21. Mar 2023

On the occasion of the High Level Conference on EiE co-organized by DG ECHO and UNICEF on March 22 with the focus on “Investing in safe and quality education for every child”, NRC, UNHCR and UNICEF wish to alert the international community on the unprecedented number of school closures in West and Central Africa, as of today, almost 14 000 schools are closed, mostly as a result of conflict and insecurity.

In line with the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2601 on the protection of schools in armed conflict, we call on governments, all parties to conflict and the international community to:

  1. Adopt holistic, integrated and multisectoral approaches to the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration, protocols and frameworks.
  2. Immediately negotiate the non-occupation of schools by parties to conflict and re-opening of closed schools.
  3. Develop and implement response plans based on quantitative and qualitative data, prioritizing the most at risk.
  4. Reinforce alternative, innovative, accelerated, and flexible learning solutions for educational continuity.
  5. Expand and improve psychosocial support to children, their teachers, and caregivers.
  6. Increase predictable flexible and long-term financing for education in emergencies.