Funding shortfalls threaten education for millions of children: UNICEF

Funding shortfalls are threatening education for millions of children who are caught up in conflict or disaster.

That's according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which is urging world leaders gathering for the G20 Summit in Germany on Friday, to do more to fund emergency education programmes.

More details from Matt Wells.

UNICEF said that of the US$932 million needed this year to fund emergency education, only US$115 million had been received so far in voluntary contributions.

Around 9.2 million children whose lives have been disrupted by war or disaster, are relying on the funding to keep learning, said UNICEF.

Muzoon Almellehan, the agency's youngest and most recently-appointed Goodwill Ambassador, is representing UNICEF at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, and said that without education, children simply don't have the skills needed to contribute to peace and development at home.

A Syrian refugee who fled in 2013, Ms Almellehan said that in a war zone, "not going to school leaves children vulnerable to early marriage, child labour and recruitment by armed forces."

She said education could be life-saving for those like her, forced to flee.

The funding gaps for education vary from country to country, said UNICEF.

While programmes in Iraq are under-funded by 36 per cent, in Yemen and Central African Republic, the figure is more than 70 per cent.

Missing out on school has been cited as a major factor leading families and children to flee.

A survey of refugee and migrant children in Italy showed that 38 per cent said they had headed to Europe primarily to gain access to learning opportunities.

Source: United Nations Radio