COP28: Climate crisis disrupts education for 40 million children annually

The report underscores the urgent need for increased resources and support to address the education challenges posed by climate change.

Share the post
Photo via Pixabay

The advocacy group Education Cannot Wait shed light on the disruptive impact of climate-related issues on the education of 40 million children each year. It also called for urgent donor intervention when it released the report “The Climate Crisis is an Education Crisis” at the COP28 Climate Talks in Dubai.

The report paints a vivid and alarming picture of how climate change is not just reshaping our physical world but also dramatically impacting the landscape of global education.

In an urgent call to action, the organization implored donors to step up and mobilize resources to confront this overlooked and growing crisis. 

Impact on children’s education

The report reveals a staggering impact of the climate crisis on children’s education worldwide. It states that each year, the education of 40 million children is disrupted due to climate-related issues. This number is particularly concerning as it represents a significant portion of the global child population.

The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts, and climate crises have had a devastating impact on African children, severely limiting their educational opportunities and skill acquisition for future employment.

Weather-related hazards and education

One of the key aspects of the report is its focus on weather-related hazards such as storms and floods, which are direct consequences of climate change. These natural disasters not only pose immediate threats to children’s safety but also have long-term effects on their educational opportunities. The destruction of schools and the disruption of regular schooling are just some of the challenges faced in such scenarios.

Alarmingly, in Sub-Saharan Africa, 89 percent of 10-year-olds are unable to comprehend simple written text, which hinders their ability to pursue higher education or develop essential skills for competitive job markets. This educational deficiency threatens the potential lifetime earnings of these children, especially concerning given that 77 percent of Africa’s population is under 35 years old.

Vulnerable populations

The report underscores that 222 million vulnerable girls and boys globally are impacted by a combination of factors, including conflict and climate-induced disasters. This figure highlights the severity of the situation, particularly for those in the most vulnerable regions of the world. The intersection of conflict and climate change exacerbates the challenges faced by these populations, making access to education even more difficult.

In Tanzania, despite high primary school enrollment, the quality of education and access to basic services remain subpar. Additionally, the early marriage of girls, with one-third married before 18, further denies them educational opportunities. Save the Children is committed to empowering youth by creating platforms for engagement with policymakers and advocating for holistic development in education, health, and skills, aiming to unlock the potential of every young mind.

Education Cannot Wait’s appeal

Education Cannot Wait’s appeal at the COP28 emphasizes the urgency of addressing this crisis. By calling for increased funding and resources, the organization aims to scale up life-saving access to education for those affected by climate change. This call to action is a critical step in ensuring that the right to education is upheld, even in the face of a growing climate crisis.

Earlier this year, France committed €40 million (USD 43.2 million) to the ECW fund. This contribution was announced during the Global Citizen Festival in New York by French Minister of State for Development and International Partnerships, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou. The pledge aligns with France’s commitment to the Paris Pact for People and the Planet and is part of a broader call for USD 1.5 billion in funding to assist 20 million children in crisis situations globally.

Ireland also announced an additional €1 million (USD 1.08 million) to ECW, aimed at addressing the needs of the 224 million children worldwide deprived of quality education due to conflicts, displacement, and other crises. This funding will enhance ECW’s capacity to provide resources like school infrastructure, learning materials, teacher training, and mental health services.

The United Kingdom, as ECW’s second-largest donor, has contributed over USD 250 million and stressed the importance of education in crisis zones and the impact of climate change on learning. Additionally, in Colombia, efforts are being made to provide education to those affected by conflict and exclusion, with the support of ECW and contributions from organizations like the LEGO Foundation.

Despite these efforts, a significant funding gap remains in education for emergencies. The funding requirement soared from USD 1.1 billion in 2019 to nearly USD 3 billion by the end of 2022, with only 30 percent of these needs met last year. This shortfall highlights the urgency of addressing the educational deprivation of millions of children worldwide​​.

The report “The Climate Crisis is an Education Crisis” sheds light on an essential aspect of the climate change dialogue. The disruption of education for millions of children worldwide is a significant consequence of climate change, one that requires immediate and sustained attention. It is a call to action for governments, organizations, and individuals to recognize the profound impact of climate change on education and to work collaboratively towards sustainable solutions.

banner place

What to read next...

Sign Up for Weekly Top 12 News

Expert picks in the intl ed world, in your inbox.

Get the Top 12 trending international education news stories from around the world, sourced from authoritative media outlets and publications worldwide. 

This expertly curated newsletter aims to support the global knowledge base of international education stakeholders – higher education institutions, recruitment partners, government officials, service providers, and students. 

The newsletter is delivered to subscribers’ inbox every Wednesday evening at 10:30 PM PT / 1:39 AM ET. 

We respect and protect your privacy. If you do not wish to receive future issues of the MSM Reporter, you may unsubscribe at any time.
Read our privacy policy