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3 in 10 students in earthquake-hit region of Turkiye can't return to school, charity warns

September 12, 2023 at 11:43 am

Pre-school teacher Deniz Esin, entertains children at tent city set up at Samandag district of Hatay, Turkiye on April 04, 2023 [Serkan Avci/Anadolu Agency]

Nearly three in every ten earthquake-affected households assessed across Turkiye reported having no access to education seven months after February’s disaster as classrooms opened for the new school year, Save the Children has revealed in a statement released yesterday.

As the first academic school year kicks off following the devastating earthquake on 6 February, UN data shows that access to education remains a major obstacle with children in 27 per cent of affected households missing out on education. 

For Turkish citizens, 21 per cent said that none of their children are attending school and 20 per cent cited financial constraints as the biggest reason.

Even for families whose children are in school, one-third said that tight finances were their biggest challenge after the earthquake. The earthquake disrupted the education of nearly four million children in Turkiye – about one in six – including 350,000 refugee and migrant children. 

In Turkiye, 1,842 educational facilities were totally destroyed and 637 were damaged. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed over 56,000 people in Turkiye and Syria and is likely to be one of the deadliest of the decade. About 138,000 people were also injured – many of whom were children.

Summer school programmes were launched in some areas to help children catch up on crucial learning they missed during the initial months after the earthquakes, but gaps remain.

READ: World Bank provides further $18bn to Turkiye, after return to high interest rates